Wednesday, April 12, 2017
A victory for free speech in Colorado
Free-speech activists in the US state of Colorado are celebrating after the state passed a new bill prohibiting public universities from restricting speech on campus. The Colorado Senate Bill 62 was signed into law by Colorado governor John Hickenlooper.
Previously, students at many Colorado colleges were only allowed to engage in debate and political activity on campus within designated ‘free speech zones’.
The bill was greeted with bipartisan support, and has been recognised as a model for defending free speech in public universities. It reinforces the free-speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment of the US Constitution, and emphasises public universities’ obligation to safeguard those rights. This extra measure was aimed at tackling Colorado colleges’ authoritarian policies, which were often implemented in breach of the First Amendment.
According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Colorado has just one public university with a ‘green-light rating’, meaning it doesn’t limit speech on campus.