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Campus Free Speech Bill Passes Wisconsin Assembly

Campus Free Speech Bill Passes Wisconsin Assembly

“Around the country we’ve had situations that have gotten to the point of demonstration shout downs”

This effort was advanced almost entirely by Republicans. Democrats oppose the idea of consequences for those who infringe the free speech rights of others.

The Journal Sentinel reports:

Wisconsin Assembly passes campus free speech bill

Lawmakers late Wednesday voted to crack down on University of Wisconsin System students who disrupt other people’s speeches and events, pitting one set of free speech concerns against another.

Republicans who control the state Legislature are pushing Assembly Bill 299 to protect conservative voices on campus. The Assembly sent the bill to the state Senate on a 61-36 vote Wednesday night, with Republican Rep. Bob Gannon of West Bend joining all Democrats in opposing the bill.

“Today we are ensuring that simply because you are a young adult on a college campus, your constitutional rights do not go away,” lead sponsor Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) said. “Around the country we’ve had situations that have gotten to the point of demonstration shout downs and we do not want to get to that point in Wisconsin.”

Critics argue the bill isn’t needed in Wisconsin and would actually hinder freedom of speech by suspending or expelling students.

“Our colleges and universities should be a place to vigorously debate ideas and ultimately learn from one another. Instead, this campus gag rule creates an atmosphere of fear where free expression and dissent are discouraged,” Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) said.

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Comments

… joining all Democrats in opposing the bill.

Good.

That simplifies things.

I’ve seen people concerned that “interferes” is too broad, and could be used to suppress normal heckling. I don’t see it. Heckling speakers is a long tradition, but only in a way that lets them respond and continue. It seems to me that “interferes” is a perfectly clear word, and provides a bright-line test: if your heckling allows the speaker to be heard then you have not interfered with her speech; if it doesn’t then you have. And that’s exactly as it should be.

Can anyone explain what exactly this law changes? Wasn’t this behavior already prohibited by the student conduct code? And wasn’t it already not being enforced against liberals? What new enforcement mechanism is being created?

I don’t see this law having any teeth.

    plauer in reply to DR. Φ. | June 25, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Mayhaps if some college presidents and deans faced jail time for aiding and abetting the supression of free speach.

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