Michigan Colleges Face Limits on Free Speech and Expression

By Samantha Grant

Michigan Senator Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) has proposed a bill called the Campus Free Speech Act, which would restrict certain kinds of protests on college campuses across the state of Michigan.

Colbeck says the bill will allow campus speakers to speak freely without disruption from students with opposing viewpoints.  Any student who violated the law more than once would face suspension for a year or permanent expulsion from their college.

The idea for the bill was sparked by the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s speech at UC Berkeley due to protests and push back from students.

“Ultimately, there’s people that are just trying to shut down any discussion of issues that they don’t agree with,” said Sen. Colbeck.

Students appear to be split on this bill; some students believe this would be a restriction on their own rights to free speech.

“What this does is criminalize people for expressing their freedom of speech,” graduate student Vikrant Garg said.  “This bill, and the people that make these decisions, including the police – who are used to enforce these policies – operate under a framework in which they can silence us and inflict violence against us with no consequences. They can inflict violence against us for speaking out.”

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