Senate Approves Free Speech Measure
The Kentucky Senate has voted 27 to 11 in favor of free speech legislation regarding the state’s public colleges and universities. The measure, extensively debated Tuesday afternoon requires policies ensuring the protection of freedom of speech and expression by faculty and students.
Under the bill, Sponsor Will Schroder says schools can’t limit free speech to one selected site. “The problem with this free speech area is it’s not even close to a lot of activity on campus. It really restricts individuals to a certain location,” said Schroder. This legislation would make generally accessible open outdoor areas of campus that are traditional public forum of political expression.”
Schroder says the legislation is partly in response to a student at Northern Kentucky University who told him of the destruction of crosses and a sign as part of a pro-life display. Pike County Senator Ray Jones voted no, expressing worries about policing on campus activities. “You know free speech is important, but there is a public safety concern. This will chill the ability of public universities. I went to a public university here. I went to a public university for law school,” noted Jones.
During questioning by Louisville Senator Gerald Neal, Schroder said name calling as a part of hate speech could still be protected speech.