Colleges Couldn't Bar Controversial Speakers Under Bill Passed by Texas Senate

AUSTIN — The Texas Senate has passed a bill to prohibit schools from rejecting controversial speakers. Senate Bill 18 by Joan Huffman, R-Houston, would bar public colleges and universities from considering "any anticipated controversy ... in determining whether to approve a speaker to speak on campus." It would also require these schools to adopt policies "detailing students' rights and responsibilities regarding expressive activities."Schools would have to allow anyone "to engage in expressive activities" in "common outdoor areas" unless the conduct is unlawful or "materially or substantially" disruptive and could not penalize student organizations for their political, religious, philosophical, ideological, or academic viewpoints "or of any expressive activities of the organization." Students, faculty and staff would be allowed to meet or distribute written material without permission from the university if the bill becomes law.The bill passed unanimously by a 31-0 vote. It now heads to the Texas House for more debate.  Continue reading...

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