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Ky. Bill Insures Freedom Of Speech On Campus

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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.

© 2019 WEKU

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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