Promoting free speech on campus

Free speech has been under attack on college campuses for decades. Even some liberals acknowledge the problem.

What can done to combat it?

My friend Stanley Kurtz believes the answer lies in comprehensive state-level legislation designed to secure freedom of speech on the campuses of public state university systems. He explains:

Not only are these systems tremendously important in and of themselves, but a national debate over such legislation is bound to have influence on the policies of private colleges and universities as well.

In addition, it seems to me that if leading public universities respect free speech, they will have a new competitive advantage over their private counterparts. Other things being about equal, most parents and students might well prefer an institution where the right to speak freely is protected. If so, this dynamic might induce private colleges to change their policies.

In 2015, Stanley offered “A Plan to Restore Free Speech on Campus.” He has since joined with Arizona’s Goldwater Institute to turn this plan into model state-level legislation.

Stanley describes the resulting plan as “arguably the most comprehensive attempt ever made to protect campus freedom of speech.” The plan draws on principles and provisions offered by the most respected existing statements on campus free speech: Yale University’s Woodward Report of 1975, the University of Chicago’s Kalven Report of 1967, and the University of Chicago’s Stone Report of 2015.

Stanley will present and explain the new model legislation at the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday, January 31 at noon. He will be joined by Jim Manley and Jonathan Butcher of the Goldwater Institute and Casey Mattox of Alliance Defending Freedom. The Goldwater Institute will also publish a white paper outlining and explaining the legislative proposal.

You can register for the Heritage event, or view it via live streaming, through this link.

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