Lt. Governor Dan Forest to Push for Campus Free Speech

Raleigh

Lt. Governor Dan Forest today announced his intention to work with members of the General Assembly to pass the “Restore Campus Free Speech Act”.  Recently, in spectacles that have been broadcast around the nation, speakers at college campuses are being denied their first amendment rights to freedom of speech.  This proposed legislation would ensure the First Amendment right of freedom of speech is upheld on North Carolina public university campuses.

 

There are four main points to this legislation that will protect students, professors and invited speakers across the entire UNC System of schools:

1) A new policy on free expression that would nullify any restrictive speech codes.

2) A discipline policy that would punish students who shout down visiting speakers or deprive others of their right to free expression, a tactic commonly known as the “hecklers’ veto".

3) A provision that allows anyone that has had their free speech rights infringed to sue the university and recover court costs and attorney fees.

4) A requirement that freshman orientation include a session on the promotion of free expression on campus.

 

The bill would not:

·         Restrict academic freedom of the professor to teach or express his own views in class or in writings.

·         Stop the protesting of speakers, only allow for reasonable time, place and manner restrictions.

·         Limit in any way the ability of professors to maintain order or direct discussion in the classroom.

 

The ideas used to formulate the “Restore Campus Free Speech Act” are taken from the best parts of reports and policies from schools such as Yale University and the University of Chicago, which have long standing institutionally backed policies to guarantee freedom of speech in the classroom and on campus.

 

“No student or guest of a university should ever feel threatened to exercise their First Amendment right of free speech, nor should they be prohibited from doing so. I look forward to working with the Legislature and Board of Governors to ensure one of our most basic American freedoms is afforded to every person on our public university campuses.” - Lt. Governor Dan Forest. 

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