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Texas bill would prohibit colleges from rejecting speakers just because they're controversial


WestVirginiaRebel

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WestVirginiaRebel
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The Texas Senate passed a bill this week aimed at prohibiting schools from banning speakers on campus due to the controversial nature of their content or reputation, according to The Dallas Morning News.

 

The bill is SB 18, authored by state Sen. Joan Huffman, a Republican from Houston, who believes that as long as speech is protected under the Constitution, it should be allowed on public college and university campuses.

"The bill requires that universities embrace the idea that each and every person at the university has a constitutional right to speak freely," Huffman said. "Just because speech is offensive does not mean that it's not protected."

What does the bill do?

One of the key purposes of the bill is to set specific regulations regarding the grounds on which a university may reject a speaker from appearing on campus. From the bill:

"In determining whether to approve a speaker to speak on campus or in determining the amount of a fee to be charged for use of the institution's facilities for purposes of engaging in expressive activities, an institution of higher education: (1) may consider only content-neutral and viewpoint-neutral criteria related to the needs of the event ... (2) [an institution of higher education] may not consider (A) the anticipated attendance of persons not intending to participate in the event; or (B) any anticipated controversy related to the event."

The bill also includes language protecting student organizations from any punishment or denial of benefits "on the basis of a political, religious, philosophical, ideological, or academic viewpoint expressed by the organization or of any expressive activities of the organization."

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Free speech in Texas.

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