New Bill Would Force U. Nebraska to Guarantee Free Speech on Campus

Bill introduced following harassment of conservative student by university staff

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A bill introduced Wednesday in the Nebraska state legislature would require the University of Nebraska Board of Regents to guarantee free speech on campus and institute regulations to that effect.

The regents would be required to “develop, adopt, and promulgate a policy governing free expression within its campuses,” under the Higher Education Free Speech Accountability Act.

The board would be expected to attest that “it is not the proper role” of administrators to “shield” students from First Amendment-protected speech, and proclaim the NU system defends speech “without limitation” on views “unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”

However, “protest and demonstrations that materially and substantially infringe upon the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity” would be banned, and sanctions applied to students or staff who engage in “unlawful” expressive activity, according to the bill. Disciplinary action for disruptions would have to progressively increase for repeat offenders.

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