In response to encroachments to the right of free speech at Universities around the nations – including South Dakota, where at USD they’ve limited free speech to designated Free Speech Zones, State Representative (and occasional Dakotawarcollege contributor) Mike Clark has introduced legislation to make sure our public universities are places which allow the free exchange of ideas:
HB 1073, introduced by Republican State Representative Michael Clark, aims to ensure “a free exchange of ideas” on South Dakota’s campuses by forbidding “free speech zones” and declaring that any outdoor area of a public college or university campus is a “public forum.”
The bill also seeks to prevent the use of a “heckler’s veto” to interfere with the legitimate of free speech on campus, stating that counter-protests are allowed as long as they do not “materially and substantially prohibit the free expression rights of others on campus, or disrupt the functioning of the institution of higher education.”
To ensure that they are complying with both the letter and the spirit of the law, colleges and universities would be required to produce an annual report for lawmakers and make it publicly accessible on their websites.
“College campuses should promote free speech, freedom of the press, free assembly, and open dialogue and debate,” Clark said, noting that “recently violence and the threats of violence have been used to shut down otherwise peaceful events.”
Great Job Representative Clark – Let freedom ring!