Ky. Bill Insures Freedom Of Speech On Campus
Public postsecondary institutions in Kentucky would be required to adopt freedom of speech policies for students and faculty under legislation passed by the General Assembly.
The measure was sent on to the governor for his signature. Senator Will Schroder of Wilder says it provides free expression in most open areas on campus.
“The Supreme Court has said that open areas to the public should be open for free speech to everyone, so students should be allowed, as long as they’re not interfering with classes or the learning environment. They’re going to be allowed to say political things or religious things in other open areas as well,” said Schroder
Schroder says the measure doesn’t permit a specific free speech zone on campus. Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas voted no, saying university officials should be able to put in place restrictions to reduce the likelihood of “hate speech.”
“Universities should always want to make their place of education safe and beneficial for the welfare of their students and hate speech is not protected speech. It has no place on a university campus,” said Thomas.
The University of Kentucky’s existing policy allows for open area free speech with some limitations.
Murray State University has a ‘free speech zone’ on its main campus. Communications Director Shawn Touney said it would be speculative at this point to forecast any changes.
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