Representatives in Wisconsin, Georgia, Utah, and Texas have announced legislation that, if passed, would protect free speech rights at public universities.
Bills are being introduced in state legislatures around the country in an attempt to curb the increasing restrictions being placed on political speech at state-funded campuses.
“College should be a place where all opinions, popular or not, should be able to be freely expressed,” Texas State Representative Briscoe Cain argued. “Students have the right to free speech and HB 2527 will help protect the constitutional rights of students and student organizations.”
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s recent budget proposal includes a $10,000 allocation that would go towards academic freedom initiatives in the University of Wisconsin system.
“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 Wisconsin legislation 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.”
Several other states have proposed legislation that would protect free speech rights at public universities. Those states include North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
Tom Ciccotta is a libertarian who writes about education and social justice for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @tciccotta or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org