Campus Free Speech Bills

Updated: Mar 15, 2020

Louisiana has just become the tenth state to pass a campus “free speech” bill, law SB364. It joins Virginia, Missouri, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado, Utah, North Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia in banning public colleges and universities from relegating student expression to free speech zones.

The organization, FIRE, broadly approves of the bill but objects to the fact that it “contains two conflicting standards for determining when “time, place, and manner” restrictions are permissible at public colleges and universities in the state.”

See AAUP’s analysis of campus “free-speech” legislation. PEN has also written analyses and responses to this trend in campus free speech legislation.

The AAUP report notes that the Goldwater Institute, a conservative and libertarian think tank, is a main force “driving the current round of free-speech legislation in the United States is the Goldwater Institute.”

In many cases in the legislature and the ballot box over the next three years there will be additional versions of these laws moving forward. The California Campus Free Speech Act, for example, is innovative in applying to both public and private colleges.

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