In the pipeline: Campus free speech legislation

University of California, Berkeley's rioters have done their worst to chill free speech in their violence on campus earlier this week.  They may have achieved the opposite of what they aimed for, however.  A new proposal for free speech legislation is out now and likely to gain momentum.

The proposal, put out by Stanley Kurtz and two other scholars at the Goldwater Institute, seeks a federal law to guarantee free speech at public universities.  The proposed law covers all the bases of possibility to ensure that the politically correct crowd can't twist such legislation to their own ends.  It also provides for sanctions with teeth if they do.  It does so within a recognizable constitutional framework to protect to every point of view in the name preserving the free flow of ideas.  According to the Goldwater Institute:

The model legislation presented and explained in this brief does several things: 

  • It creates an official university policy that strongly affirms the importance of free expression, nullifying any existing restrictive speech codes in the process. 

  • It prevents administrators from disinviting speakers, no matter how controversial, whom members of the campus community wish to hear from. 

  • It establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for students and anyone else who interferes with the free-speech rights of others. 

  • It allows persons whose free-speech rights have been improperly infringed by the university to recover court costs and attorney’s fees. 

  • It reaffirms the principle that universities, at the official institutional level, ought to remain neutral on issues of public controversy to encourage the widest possible range of opinion and dialogue within the university itself. 

  • It ensures that students will be informed of the official policy on free expression. 

  • It authorizes a special subcommittee of the university board of trustees to issue a yearly report to the public, the trustees, the governor, and the legislature on the administrative handling of free-speech issues. 

Already it sounds tailor-made for the educational fascists who trashed Berkeley, so it couldn't be more timely.

What's more, it's consistent with the trends that have already been documented in public education.

Glenn Reynolds, in his still-topical best-seller, "The Higher Education Bubble" warned that at some point, the public is going to rebel against public education as political correctness overtakes learning -- and rabid leftwing fanatics feel free to riot with impunity at public universities. 

With Berkeley burning, it's hard to think public support for public universities has strengthened. The rioting, after all, was not done to strengthen public support, it was done to create chaos. With that the case, the proposed law couldn't come at a more likely -- and necessary -- time.

University of California, Berkeley's rioters have done their worst to chill free speech in their violence on campus earlier this week.  They may have achieved the opposite of what they aimed for, however.  A new proposal for free speech legislation is out now and likely to gain momentum.

The proposal, put out by Stanley Kurtz and two other scholars at the Goldwater Institute, seeks a federal law to guarantee free speech at public universities.  The proposed law covers all the bases of possibility to ensure that the politically correct crowd can't twist such legislation to their own ends.  It also provides for sanctions with teeth if they do.  It does so within a recognizable constitutional framework to protect to every point of view in the name preserving the free flow of ideas.  According to the Goldwater Institute:

The model legislation presented and explained in this brief does several things: 

  • It creates an official university policy that strongly affirms the importance of free expression, nullifying any existing restrictive speech codes in the process. 

  • It prevents administrators from disinviting speakers, no matter how controversial, whom members of the campus community wish to hear from. 

  • It establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for students and anyone else who interferes with the free-speech rights of others. 

  • It allows persons whose free-speech rights have been improperly infringed by the university to recover court costs and attorney’s fees. 

  • It reaffirms the principle that universities, at the official institutional level, ought to remain neutral on issues of public controversy to encourage the widest possible range of opinion and dialogue within the university itself. 

  • It ensures that students will be informed of the official policy on free expression. 

  • It authorizes a special subcommittee of the university board of trustees to issue a yearly report to the public, the trustees, the governor, and the legislature on the administrative handling of free-speech issues. 

Already it sounds tailor-made for the educational fascists who trashed Berkeley, so it couldn't be more timely.

What's more, it's consistent with the trends that have already been documented in public education.

Glenn Reynolds, in his still-topical best-seller, "The Higher Education Bubble" warned that at some point, the public is going to rebel against public education as political correctness overtakes learning -- and rabid leftwing fanatics feel free to riot with impunity at public universities. 

With Berkeley burning, it's hard to think public support for public universities has strengthened. The rioting, after all, was not done to strengthen public support, it was done to create chaos. With that the case, the proposed law couldn't come at a more likely -- and necessary -- time.

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