Why Are North Dakota’s Campuses Afraid of Free Speech Protections?

MINOT, N.D. — House Bill 1503, introduced by Rep. Ben Koppelman, R-West Fargo, would “prohibit activity fee funding discrimination based on a student organization’s viewpoint and allow speakers on campus regardless of their views.”

Those seem like good things, right? Our campuses should be places where arguments and viewpoints, even those that are unpopular or controversial, should be expressed.

If not there, then where?

The protections aren’t just for students, either. The bill states, “no faculty member will face adverse employment action for classroom speech, unless the speech is not reasonably germane to the subject matter of the class as broadly construed and comprises a substantial portion of classroom instruction.”

So why, then, are North Dakota’s higher education officials adopting an indignant, how-dare-you tone in opposing the legislation?

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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