“With the degradation of expressive rights on college campuses, it’s obvious the [Higher Education Act of 1965’s] current language may be insufficient to hold schools accountable”
This is needed, and it’s about time that Republicans started demanding it.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
House Ed Committee Wants Stronger Campus Free Speech Protections
In a report released Thursday, Republicans on the House Education and Workforce Committee called for “strong federal protections,” which they say are needed to ensure that all college students can realize their rights to free speech.
“The worst kept secret in American postsecondary education is the long-standing and pervasive degradation of First Amendment rights,” the report says, citing instances of students shouting down speakers and professors who have faced repercussions after criticizing diversity, equity and inclusion policies, among other examples.
The 20-page report criticizes bias-reporting teams, free speech zones, universities’ antiharassment policies and the use of diversity statements in hiring. In recent years, states have passed legislation to protect the First Amendment on college campuses; however, not all of those laws have “effective enforcement mechanisms,” per the report.
“With the degradation of expressive rights on college campuses, it’s obvious the [Higher Education Act of 1965’s] current language may be insufficient to hold schools accountable,” the report says. “More may be required from the federal government to ensure our nation’s colleges and universities are living up to their purpose of promoting a free and open exchange of ideas.”
Several lawmakers have proposed bills that require colleges and universities to meet standards such as adopting free speech statements, requiring institutional neutrality and prohibiting free speech zones—designated areas on college and university campuses where students can protest. Critics have argued that they are restrictive, since they limit where students can protest and exercise their right to free expression.
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