GOP Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas is coming out in favor of a new state law that would eliminate so-called “free speech zones” on college campuses.
While they may sound good, “free speech zones” are pretty much the height of Orwellian double-speak. By establishing a “zone” where unpopular ideas can be pronounced, the regulations essentially prohibit them everywhere else — the very antithesis of “free speech.”
The new law aims to do away with that, according to the Washington Examiner.
It also aims to make campuses more open to outside speakers whose point of view might not be welcome by many students — and liberal administrators.
“The law requires state schools in Texas to use more content-neutral standards when deciding who can come to campus to speak or which student organizations can use official campus resources,” the Washington Examiner reported.
In a Twitter post, Crenshaw pointed out why the law is needed.
“The First Amendment is under constant attack by those who shut down ideas they can’t contend with,” Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, tweeted Monday.
“The University is a place for students to grapple with new ideas and opinions, not be coddled. Good for Texas!”
The First Amendment is under constant attack by those who shut down ideas they can’t contend with. The University is a place for students to grapple with new ideas and opinions, not be coddled.
Good for Texas! https://t.co/rGyGkC9HAR
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) June 10, 2019
Crenshaw was retweeting a video from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as he signed the bill.
In the video, the Republican governor noted that “some colleges are banning free speech on college campuses. Well, no more, because I’m about to sign a law that protects free speech on college campuses in Texas.”
He then signed the bill with a flourish.
“I shouldn’t have to do it,” Abbott said in the video. “The First Amendment guarantees it. Now it’s law in Texas.”
The bill, SB 18, was partially sponsored by state Rep. Briscoe Cain. In October of 2017, Cain was shouted down by protesters during an appearance at Texas Southern University on behalf of the Federalist Society.
“Cain never got to deliver his speech, which was, initially, the object of student protests, and subsequently, shut down by the president of the university,” reported First Reading, The Austin American-Statesman political column.
“They started saying that he was a racist, that he was a white supremacist, that he was a member of the KKK,” said Daniel Caldwell, the second-year law student who invited Cain told First Reading.
Campus free speech bill SB 18 has just been signed by Gov. @GregAbbott_TX! Thank you to Senator @joanhuffman and Representative @BriscoeCain for their hard work to get this strong and important bill across the finish line! #txlege pic.twitter.com/QcvdD2cffH
— Young Conservatives of Texas (@yct) June 10, 2019
The bill includes sanctions for students or faculty who disrupt speech and ensures that “common outdoor areas” of campuses are considered “traditional public forums.”
Perhaps most importantly, schools cannot charge higher security fees for “controversial” speakers, who almost invariably turn out to be conservative.
Gov. Abbott is right:
This isn’t something that should need a bill to be clear at an institution of higher learning on American soil.
But, in the current political environment, it does.
Kudos to Texas for taking the steps necessary to ensure that “free speech zones” are replaced by actual free speech.
We can only hope more states take its lead and stop coddling their students to protect them from unpopular opinions.
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