States across the country are acknowledging that there is a problem on their university campuses. And to their credit, they are doing something about it.
Kentucky recently passed legislation that defends the First Amendment rights of students on campus, following states such as Virginia, Tennessee, Idaho, Ohio, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.
Now, Colorado is also standing up for free speech on campus.
With angry mobs shutting down speaking events, students being arrested for handing out copies of the Constitution, and pro-life groups being denied official campus recognition, I will say this: It’s about time.
University officials shouldn’t get to pick and choose which viewpoints to allow on campus. Campus is meant to be a “marketplace of ideas.” But it’s hard to live up to that standard when only certain perspectives are allowed. That doesn’t leave much room for diversity of thought.
Colorado’s law states that universities cannot:
- Limit student speech to tiny “speech zones” on campus;
- Require advance approval for student literature distribution and speech; or
- Put in place overly broad and vague “harassment” policies or other policies that may be used to chill or punish speech that would otherwise be constitutionally protected.
Alliance Defending Freedom sent out letters to Colorado’s public universities to update them on the law and offer assistance in revising their speech policies to comply.
When universities put anti-free-speech policies in place, they are teaching their students that the Constitution doesn’t really matter – that their First Amendment rights can be taken away at the whim of a government official.
Today’s students will become tomorrow’s government officials. And our university officials are not exactly demonstrating a commitment to upholding the Constitution.
Thankfully, state legislators are providing a better example of what it looks like when government officials stand for our constitutional rights rather than trampling them.
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