This is why Rep Clark’s freedom of speech bill is needed. Regents CEO claiming University Free Speech protections despite censorship

State Representative Michael Clark is receiving some press recently as a result of his bill to protect Free Speech on University Campuses, a measure that’s being opposed by the South Dakota Board of Regents:

“This bill protects free speech on college campuses, it removes the idea of the free speech zones and informs staff and teachers and the students of their right and responsibilities regarding free speech,” the bill’s primary sponsor, state Rep. Michael Clark, said in a phone interview with The College Fix.

Clark said he filed House Bill 1073 this month after seeing free speech come under attack at campuses in other states across the country. While noting that South Dakota hasn’t had such problems, he said it’s important to take action to ensure speakers can come to campus and speak without violence or the threat of violence.

“I’m trying to stop this before it actually becomes a huge problem,” Clark said.


The bill does allow universities to “maintain and enforce reasonable time, place and manner restrictions,” but notes that such measures must “employ clear, published, content, and viewpoint-neutral criteria, and provide for ample alternative means of expression.”


However, the head of the South Dakota Board of Regents, which oversees six public universities, said in a statement provided to The College Fix that the bill addresses issues that have arisen in other states and is not needed in the state.

“There is no problem in South Dakota that this bill will solve. The Board of Regents already established system-wide policies that safeguard First Amendment rights of students, employees, and private visitors,” said Mike Rush, executive director and CEO of the Board of Regents.

Read that here.

You might be reading this, wondering “Why is this needed?”  Or sticking your head in the sand just like the CEO of the board of regents, claiming “The Board of Regents already established system-wide policies that safeguard First Amendment rights.”

If that’s the case, then why are there stories like this:

A professor at the University of South Dakota is refusing calls to cancel the screening of a controversial documentary that depicts brutality against Muslim women.

The “Honor Diaries” is scheduled to be screened at the university’s annual women and gender conference on April 10. But another screening of the film that was supposed to take place Sunday didn’t happen for reasons unknown, and there is pressure from some staff and faculty members to cancel next month’s showing.

Miglena Sternadori, a professor of media and journalism and the women and gender studies coordinator, is refusing to bow to that pressure, saying the film depicts issues that are relevant to the women and gender conference.

“It’s just the wrong thing to do to censor a movie,” she said.

Read that here.

Or this….

The Foundation for Individual Right in Education, or FIRE, has taken note of USD’s policies, and has given the university a “red” designation.

This means that USD has at least one policy that “clearly and substantially restricts free speech.” According to FIRE, there are two policies that warrant a “red” label at USD.

The first resides in the Student Handbook under Guidelines for the Awareness and Prevention of Acts of Cultural Insensitivity and Bullying at USD. Specifically, section five states: “Using university property (i.e. the USD internet server) to bully other students (cyber bullying) or express feelings of hatred via Facebook, Twitter, email or other forms of social media is not allowed.”


The second red light policy lies in USD’s Free Speech Policy, which outlines areas where free speech is allowed. The policy states that the Muenster University Center, Muenster University Center Courtyard and the I.D. Weeks Library Courtyard are the only areas where free speech is allowed.

Much like hate speech codes, free speech zones have come under legal scrutiny. The University of Cincinnati’s speech zones were recently ruled unconstitutional in federal court.

Beyond the legal issues, there’s a principle at stake: the principle of free thought and free inquiry.

Read that here.

When the Argus Leader writes about censorship at USD, and the University of South Dakota’s own student newspaper cites areas of concern where there are issues with the freedom of speech, it might be time to critically evaluate who to believe in this debate over whether the measure should be passed.

Do you take the word of the people on campus who are citing real and existing instances of censorship and the infringement upon free speech at one of our Universities?

Or the University system’s CEO who doesn’t want the measure passed, and would be responsible to report to the legislature on how they implement it?

I know who I believe.

64 thoughts on “This is why Rep Clark’s freedom of speech bill is needed. Regents CEO claiming University Free Speech protections despite censorship”

  1. We need this bill! God bless Representative Clark. Somebody is standing up to the PC bullies on campus!! Please vote for this bill.

  2. Apparently, each of the public universities in South Dakota spent $5 million in taxpayer money a year on “diversity offices” and affirmative actions programs for racial quotas. Legislators should investigate how these tax dollars are being used. We need a full audit.

    1. Well that don’t sound right… like 15% of the budget is spent on diversity offices? I’d like to see your figures on that. Meanwhile, best I could find is that race is “considered” in applications at only 1 university: USD. I’d love to hear how many qualified students weren’t granted admission to USD based on racial quotas. My guess is zero.

  3. Great to see Kristi Noem supporting free speech on campus and intellectual diversity. Jackley awol.

  4. But wouldn’t this bill eventually force the B School, at the U, to teach socialism, fascism, and communism, too, as alternative economic systems…. and viable at that?


  5. Wait until Mickelson rolls out his bill abolishing tenure for liberal professors on campus. Then the left will go insane.

    1. But will he ever support a bill to allow average citizens to set in and/or on the Bar?

  6. Just wait, the liberal ACLU will come against the free speech in this bill because they are a liberal hack group that will do anything to protect liberal professors

  7. The liberals who run the campuses can’t be trusted to protect the free speech of all students. That’s why we need this law. this can’t be left to the libs on campus

  8. The diversity police on South Dakota campuses just change the rules around all the time to meet their own needs and attack conservative voices. That’s why need a law. Thank you to all the patriots pushing this law

  9. if the legislature wants to investigate, start with the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, Equity & Access at SDSU. It is a massive money pit and all it does is demand that leftists be hired at SDSU. Follow the trail, legislators, and start here. they dump tons of money into the LGBTQIA Resource Center at SDSU too. It’s shameful that the tax money of hard working South Dakotans funds this crap

    1. They dump tons of money into the rodeo team, too. Shouldn’t we be investigating horses? I sure as heck don’t want my tax dollars being spent on riding around on wild bulls.

    2. As a tax paying citizen – i’m fine with this. Your opinions and decisions aren’t the only ones that matter.

      Unless you’re a snowflake and believe they do.

    3. Please do. This is a huge waste of resources and detracts from the universities stated goals.

  10. Just curious how many people posting on this thread actually went to a four year college in South Dakota – and if so – which one and in which decade?

    1. SDSU ’90 – BS in Visual Art (decidedly difficult to not get a BA). I don’t really see how it’s relevant though. Enlighten us?

      1. It’s easier to speak to an issue when you have first hand or relevant experience- I graduated from USD in the last 5 years. If you haven’t been in the environment in the last 5-10 years, you’re basing your opinion of second hand information and you likely don’t have an accurate depiction of whats going on.

        It’s easy for a politician to run and fire up the base to garner votes for the upcoming primary- but whats the actual issue? The College Republicans have a much greater impact than the College Democrats. To my knowledge no speaker in the time I was there or shortly after was ever rejected due to content.

        Again, not necessary.This is someone looking for a solution when there isn’t a problem. In fact this would give groups like the Westboro Baptist Church a platform to show up and picket soldiers funerals and such, and spew hateful rhetoric.

          1. Are they also posting on here or contributing to the political dialog as free thinking adults? Sounds good!

  11. let’s open up the books at the universities and see where all the “diversity” money is going and whether or not there are actually any conservative professors. I never met one in 5 years at SDSU. They were all liberal

  12. You think this is a law to stop liberalism on campus. It’s a disguise!! Whether Clark knows it or not this law is part of an underground movement to give legal status and total campus access to White Supremacy hate groups. They’ll have full access to preach bigotry against Catholics, Jews and Black people. Is that what South Dakota grandchildren need at college? Really?

  13. $250 million goes to South Dakota colleges to piss away on diversity offices and affirmative action and policing speech. Time to fight back!

  14. MC: good thought, though I believe the bill is the wrong solution. All laws guaranteeing free expression, I think, actually do the opposite: they serve to create a complex body of local laws that ultimately dilute, not enhance, the absolute mandate of the 1st amendment.

    We don’t need more laws: the 1st Amendment is absolute and unequivocal. What is lacking is the means for the average citizen, or college kid, to raise the issue.

    I think a better solution is to pass legislation requiring the Attorney General to investigate all complaints relative to free speech by any and all governmental bodies in SD. Increase the A.G’s budget, a lot, so it’s not a matter of money. Don’t be stingy, don’t allow an AG to not follow the law. Require him to report to the legislature every year with the details of the State’s aggressive efforts.

    Without a mechanism to put teeth in to enforcement, I think the bill is destined to become simple feel-good legislation that doesn’t create change. We’re Republican, let’s leave the warm fuzzies to the left, we need to make things happen.

  15. The South Dakota university system needs to abolish liberal arts and just focus on STEM and vocational training. No philosophy, no psychology, no sociology, no English, no foreign languages, no theatre. None of that liberal trash. Cannot get a bachelors in 4 years? Maybe you cannot because of all this liberal crap that they have to feed you in order to pay the crazy high salaries of A&S faculty. Conservative speech is fine, but liberals can move out of this state.

    1. Wow! Technocrats, huh? You just want us to all be mere cogs in the economy from day one, huh? That sounds rather socialistic if you ask me…. What about private liberal arts colleges, which are often run by Christian entities, do they need to go too?…… And why then diminish the Church’s ability to promote its message?

    2. Somebody needs to learn what liberal arts actually means.

      Meanwhile, no English or philosophy? Right! Who need communication or an understanding of humanity. Lol. Get stuffed.

    3. Wow! That must be sarcasm since it would not only be incredibly damaging to image of our state but show just how much we value education. Going to a public college or university is a time to expand and push the limits of well rounded learning. Enrollment will tank along with economic opportunities along with recruitment of businesses and employees. While going to Northern years ago while taking Macro-Economics I was fortunate to have a professor who was passionate about Economics which could be for many a subject that could put many to sleep. He clearly expressed his Libertarian views and I had no objection but it gave me an opportunity to learn from his perspective.

      While taking political Science classes at Northern we were taught identify Conservative and Liberal publications and resources and make sure we read and attempt to understand different viewpoints to gain a better understanding than just be stuck in bubbles.

      The campus newspaper editor at the time was extremely liberal being too hard left for me but I looked at it as part of the educational experience. I may not agree with what she had written but try to understand more about the subject and how it could be approached.

      It can be a time regardless of the political spectrum to push the ideas and possible solutions while learning knowing that when we leave that environment it will be difficult to continue on that level since we will have jobs and other responsibilities along with risks that will consume our lives.

  16. I am confused. I am seeking understanding and this should not be taken as a statement for or against this bill.

    The US Constitution guarantees free speech rights and that is the ultimate law of the land. How does a state law enhance free speech rights beyond what is provided by the Constitution, especially in context of the 10th Amendment (one of my favorite as it was Scalia’s) which grants to the states powers not specifically reserved to the federal government (of which free speech protection appears to be a federal matter).

    10th Amendment: Rights of the States under Constitution–The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

    1. If the Regents have designated areas where free speech may be exercised, isn’t the State, through the Regents, overstepping its bounds? Isn’t a state law needed to get the Regents (State) in line with the Constitution?

      I think the simple solution is to set up 529’s when your kids are born so they don’t have to attend public universities.

      1. First question: I don’t know if they have made such designated areas and if it violates the Constitution. That is why I asked.

        Second question: I don’t know why you need a state law to for that. That is why I asked.

        Statement at the end: I agree.

    2. Troy, according to MC the issue is the use of free speech zones. The 1A allows for reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. Free speech zones are used by institutions to restrict the “place” of expressive activity. So the bill would limit the way that those public institutions can restrict expression.

      One can debate whether such regulation is necessary. But those who are posting about liberal professors or money spent on diversity don’t understand what the bill is doing. Those are good subjects of debate, but it has nothing to do with the merits of this bill.

  17. Maybe I’m a little slower than usual these past few days but Rep Clark’s Bill looks like creating a solution to a problem that does not exist.

    1. Isn’t designating areas where free speech, guaranteed by the Constitution, a problem that needs to be addressed?

  18. Giving the Attorney General more power to investigate campus liberals is a fine idea. Is Ravensburg for this bill? Would like to know before voting

  19. Free speech should be promoted in all classrooms but from what I have encountered personally is that in certain situations a teachers liberal leanings squash any Conservative student rebuttal. Those teachers should be fired. Someone isn’t doing their job.

  20. I don’t think it has anything to do with being conservative or liberal, it has to do with control. Students need to be able to express themselves without worrying about being punished.

    1. So you and everyone else arguing for the freedom of speech, should also be arguing for the freedom of expression of such freedoms listed in the 1st amendment?

      I just want to establish a starting point for the conversation – or if you will taking you step by step – so you don’t get off topic or on the wrong track.

  21. So Ms. Volesky have you ever heard even once of a Liberal student having their rebuttal being squashed?

  22. Many times Mr. Hoffman, liberals and conservatives. Don’t get me started. Republicans do it to each other also. They need to practice what they preach. Rep Noem is all for freedom of speech???? Really???? Than why was Lora Hubbel shut down at the SD Pray Coalition? Why didn’t she stand up for Lora’s right to give her testimony. Who was behind that?

  23. Ms. Volesky the conversation was all about students and campuses and classes. You turned it into a hate speech against Congresswoman Noem. Sadly for you.

    1. Won’t answer the question will you? Does anybody know why Lora was denied her right to speak? Thanks.

  24. I just wanted to remind everybody that Lora’s right to speak was taken away from her. Ya got to keep those politicians honest. I thought this thread was also on free speech Charlie. How did I turn it into a hate speech against Noem. All I did was state the facts. I think you are having a little problem with the truth Charlie.

    1. Sorry Charlie, quit bossing me around lol. Pat can reprimand me, not you. It’s his blog, not yours.

  25. Tara,

    No person can take away another’s right. Otherwise it would be a privilege and not a right. I don’t know the specifics to which you refer but if I am the head of a group having a private meeting, I get to decide who can be there and if they get to speak. Lora has no right to attend or speak at a private meeting. It appears Lora was not extended the privilege of speaking at this SD Pray Coalition (whatever that is).

    Further expressing rights can have consequences (usually when they impinge on other rights). If you yell “Fire” in a theatre when there is no fire, you can be prosecuted for endangerment and held accountable for any harm done to others. If you defame or slander another person, you can be held both criminally and civilly responsible. If you come to a meeting you aren’t invited to and demand to speak, you can be arrested for trespassing and denied the opportunity to speak.

    1. Troy, she was invited, and she is also a member of the SD Pray Coalition. I am just very curious as to why they won’t allow an formative candidate for governor to speak. Are they a non-profit and who do they get their money from?

  26. Ms. Volesky please read the previous post a few dozen times and understand that most of us respect respect.

  27. Tara,

    Invited doesn’t give her any privilege besides coming to the meeting. The fact they are a non-profit or where they get their financial support doesn’t create an obligation for them to all Lora to speak.

    Why they wouldn’t ALLOW her to speak? I have no idea. Ask them instead of conflating the right to speak and privilege to speak.

      1. Doesn’t one need to be a viable candidate first? Lora is not viable…she has no positive message, I have listened to all 5 candidates and/or read all I could (I have not heard Mr. Lafleur yet but don’t give him much chance either); her message is divisive not uniting or giving us a positive vision.

        You can argue about the other 3 –1 they are all viable in different ways and they all have messages of making SD a better place.

  28. No problem Charlie….you are a good Man. I remember your Father beating my good friend for State Senate James Rothstien from Mobridge. You Dad was quite a talent.

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