North Carolina Finalizes A New Campus Free Speech Law

By Samantha Grant

North Carolina has passed The Restore Campus Free Speech Act, a piece of legislation intended to curb censorship on college campuses.  The law passed by a vote of 81 to 30 in the state House and 77 to 34 in the state Senate.

The purpose of the bill is to prevent college administrators from banning certain guests from speaking on college campuses across North Carolina.  The bill will also institute a disciplinary system that will regulate student behavior when/if they interfere with those controversial guests.

In addition, the legislation will establish a committee that submits yearly reports on how free speech issues that occur on campuses are handled.

Stanley Kurtz of the National Review, co-author of the bill proposal, explained how his goal was to have more control over a situation that has overtaken college campuses across the country:

“This provision draws the Board of Governors into more active oversight of campus free speech and serves as a check on administrative abuse on issues like free-speech zones,” Kurtz said.

The bill also reminds universities that they are state institutions, and therefore must remain unbiased when it comes to campus visitors and public controversial issues.

Legislation like the Restore Campus Free Speech Act is being considered by many other states, including Wisconsin and Texas.  Jonathan Butcher of Arizona’s Goldwater Institute, another one of the co-authors of the original bill proposal, appears to be pleased with the direction in which this act is going.

“It is great to see North Carolina legislators come together to ensure that college campuses are places where all people can respectfully express their thoughts and opinions without fear of reprisal. We hope North Carolina is at the forefront of many states that allow campus community members to have a voice — to speak, protest, distribute materials, and demonstrate without limiting others’ right to do the same.”

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