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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Freedom Of Speech MIGHT Be Protected In North Carolina After Passage Of This Law.

NC Law Discourages Anti-Speech Behavior by Radical Snowflakes

(SM Chavey, Liberty Headlines) A new North Carolina law will ensure students, professors, and outside speakers have a right to free speech on the University of North Carolina’s 17 campuses, even if others find that speech “unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” Gov. Roy Cooper neither signed nor vetoed the legislation, which enabled it to become law last week.

Protesting students shut down Rep. Tom Tancredo’s speech on immigration at UNC in 2009./PHOTO: UNC
The legislation makes North Carolina the first to enact comprehensive free-speech standards based on model legislation crafted by the Goldwater Institute and Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Kurtz applauded Lt. Gov. Dan Forest as the most vocal advocate for the bill, who worked with state Rep. Chris Millis to spearhead the legislation. Both Forest and Millis are Republicans.
From the legislation language: “The primary function of each constituent institution is the discovery, improvement, transmission, and dissemination of knowledge by means of research, teaching, discussion, and debate. To fulfill this function, the constituent institution must strive to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression.”
  • The University cannot take action on public policy controversies that require students or faculty to “publicly express a given view of social policy.”
  • Students and faculty can discuss anything they want — even “within the limits of narrowly tailored viewpoint” — and to engage in expressive activity, provided it’s lawful and doesn’t disrupt the function of the University.
  • Students and faculty have access to campus for free speech and expression.
  • Any speaker that students, groups, or faculty invite to campus is welcome to campus.
  • Anyone who disrupts the functioning of the university will be punished. Anyone who disrupts the protected free expression and speech (including disruptive protests and demonstrations) will also be punished.
  • Students are entitled to a disciplinary hearing and process if they do break any of these rules.
  • The Board of Governors will establish an 11-member Committee on Free Expression that ensures these rules are followed and reports to the public, the Board of Governors, the Governor, and the General Assembly each year.
  • Information about these policies must be provided at freshman orientation.
Eight years ago, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado was shut down from his speaking event at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by a protest. Police had to use pepper spray and a Taser threat to break up the crowd, which protested the event because of Tancredo’s stance on illegal immigration, according to an Alumni Review article.
Under the new law, that protest would have been forbidden, as would have been several other high-profile incidents seen on college campuses recently:
University of California, Berkeley, 2017Students set fires, smashed windows, and hurled explosives to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos from fulfilling his speaking engagement.
University of Missouri, 2015Student protests and demands which ultimately led to the resignations of both former UM president Tom Wolfe and UM-Columbia Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin.
Pennsylvania State University, 2016Protesters showed up to an event where Ben Shapiro was speaking. They first chanted “black lives matter,” and then “shut it down.” Shapiro incorporated their chants into his presentation by responding to them.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 2015An English professor offered students extra credit to protest Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal.
In 2015, Kurtz wrote “A Plan to Restore Free Speech on Campus,” in which he laid out four steps to restore free speech on campuses. Eventually, that suggestion turned into the Goldwater proposal.
According to Kurtz, North Carolina’s bill achieves most of what the Goldwater proposal was intended to do. The primary provision that wasn’t included would have mandated suspension for students who were found responsible for silencing others twice.
“So we are at the beginning of a new state-legislative era, and that beginning is auspicious. The North Carolina Restore Campus Free Speech Act accomplishes the lion’s share of what the Goldwater model proposed, including important steps forward for discipline for shout-downs,” Kurtz said. “In short, the public has awakened and is actively pushing back against the illiberal assault on speech. That is a silver lining in the current crisis.”