Wisconsin Bill Would Require UW Universities to Protect Free Speech

AP Photo/Valentina Petrova
AP Photo/Valentina Petrova

A bill proposed by Governer Scott Walker would require Wisconsin university officials to defend free speech.

The bill, which is proposed as a companion bill to Gov. Walker’s budget proposal, asks for a budget provision of $10,000 for the University of Wisconsin system in order to revise its  “policies related to academic freedom.”

Describing the use of the additional funding to the university, the bill states, “the board and each institution and college campus has a responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it. It is not the proper role of the board or any institution or college campus to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

The proposed bill is predictably not without its critics in academia. “Just as speakers should have the right to comment on issues they want to, students should have the right to protest what speakers are saying. If the university is being told to censor students, that is troubling,” said Jason Klein, spokesperson for Associated Students of Madison.

UW-Madison Professor of political science and law Howard Schreber mentioned Breitbart Senior editor MILO when discussing the proposed bill: “Milo has been guilty of all sorts of misbehaviors that go well beyond freedom of expression. His own message is profoundly anti-free speech, but that message is just as protected as any other.”

“Universities should not try to limit the range of opinions that are expressed, including opinions critical of other opinions,” Schweber said. “If the university allows groups on campus to invite speakers, it cannot discriminate among those groups or speakers on the basis of an unpopular or offensive message.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.