At least 13 states have now proposed or implemented legislation designed to protect free speech on college campuses.
While Utah, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, and Arizona have already passed bills that would crack down on disruptive university demonstrators and so-called “free speech zones,” legislators from California, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin are attempting to push similar bills through their own state chambers.
While not precisely identical, most of the bills seek to address similar problems across college campuses, such as the increasingly common “free speech zones” and the rise in campus disruptions, as seen most recently at place like the University of California, Berkeley and Evergreen State College.
Accordingly, a legislative push out of California, a heavily Democratic state, is looking to penalize demonstrators who prevent controversial figures from expressing their views on campus after Berkeley experienced some of the most violent and destructive protests in recent memory.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Republican legislators in the state have responded to the incident by backing a measure that would restrict the university’s ability to regulate student speech on campus.
The recent spike in free-speech legislation comes after the Goldwater Institute and Stanley Kurtz produced model legislation to help state lawmakers craft their own bills around the country.
“We’ve had campus demonstrations since the 1960’s that were not properly respectful of freedom of speech, so you could say that there’s nothing new here, but I do think that there is good evidence for believing that respect for free-speech has declined in the last few years even beyond what it has been,” Kurtz told Campus Reform when introducing the model legislation in February. “We know this from various surveys and of course the rise of things like ‘microaggressions,’ ‘safe-spaces,’ and ‘trigger-warnings.’ They all indicate to me a generation that has been educated by left-leaning professors who weren’t fans of free speech themselves.”
Full article: MAP: Growing number of states consider free-speech bills
I swear, I think I just had a mini stroke reading this article. And in case you are wondering, I did, in fact, just yell “WHY?!” and scared the crap out of my dog.
Why is this necessary? I understand what’s going on and why they are doing this. My point is they shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t be wasting time and money on a bill about something that is already in the Constitution. We shouldn’t be wasting time and money to tell colleges and universities that they should be teaching their students how to think and not what to think.
What the hell is this happening to my country?! How did our youth get to the point where they can’t even tolerate the idea that someone thinks differently then them?! I went to college! We had demonstrations and protests! We all still hung out with each other anyway, didn’t burn the school down, and when someone was speaking on campus – which honestly didn’t happen a lot because we were small unknown university in the middle of Jersey City, NJ – that we didn’t agree with, we just didn’t attend! Or you were like me and you did attend because you were curious about what they were saying.
I had a political talk show on the college’s radio station. There were three speakers on that show: me and two young men. One of them was a liberal and one of them was a conservative and I was there as a libertarian. We managed to have conversations twice a week without killing each other, even though the studio was so small we were literally sitting on each other. We had students stop us in the hallway to ask questions or give their opinion on a topic, but it was always civil. Hell, we had students come up during the show, and they were civil enough that we’d squeeze them into that tiny room and let them say their piece.
That show only ended in 2002 when I moved to NC and finished off my last six credits at another school (me and the conservative host graduated together; the liberal had a year to go, but he wouldn’t have kept the show going without us because as it was he didn’t always show up). It just hasn’t been that long! I can’t imagine what that show would have been like today. I can only assume there would have only been two hosts, me and the conservative. And we probably would have had to hire bodyguards for ourselves (we were always together, so we probably would have shared. LOL!). In all fairness, they may have shut the show down. The general manager of the station was more on the liberal side, and he was a classic hippie. He didn’t hang around the station for our show then. But how would it have been today? Those students who came up to visit and share their thoughts probably would have stood in our studio and screamed at us today, or brought weapons.
This shouldn’t be! College is supposed to be a place where you are free to be you. You are learning how to think. Or should be learning how to think… not what to think.
This is very distressing. And I honestly fear for the future of our education system as well as our nation.