Texas Senate Moves to Protect Free Speech on College Campuses

The Texas Senate recently passed a bill that will eliminate free speech zones on college campuses and takes other measures to ensure that people of all viewpoints can express themselves in public spaces.

From the College Fix:

The bill, SB 18, ensures that “the common outdoor areas of the institution’s campus are deemed traditional public forums” and allows universities to impose time/place/manner restrictions as long as those restrictions follow published and viewpoint-neutral criteria and allow for “ample” alternative expression. The bill also allows members of the university community “to assemble or distribute written material without a permit or other permission” from the school.

In another move intended to combat campus mobs, the bill establishes “disciplinary sanctions for students, student organizations, or faculty who unduly interfere with the expressive activities of others on campus.”

Finally, the bill protects student organizations from denial of general university services based on the organization’s viewpoint. It also prevents universities from charging more in security fees from student organizations due to potentially controversial speakers.

If the measure passes the House of Representatives, Texas will join Kentucky, South Dakota, Tennessee, Colorado, Iowa, and Arkansas, which have passed similar laws since 2017.

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