2017 Senate Bill 350

Require campus free speech and due process protections with sanctions

Introduced in the Senate

May 2, 2017

Introduced by Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-7)

To direct state universities, and require community colleges, to adopt policies that “ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression,” and which include an assertion that it is not the school's proper role “to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment, without exception, even if they find the ideas and opinions expressed unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”<br>Schools would also have to assert that students and faculty are “permitted to assemble and engage in spontaneous expressive activity as long as the activity is not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning” of the institution, and that “protests and demonstrations that infringe upon the rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity are not permitted.” Sanctions would have to include suspensions and expulsion.<br> Additionally, the institutions would have to ensure that in a serious “expressive conduct”-related disciplinary case against a student, the accused would be given due process rights including confronting the accuser, calling witnesses, “active” counsel, and more. The bill defines several classes of behavior including “true threats” and quid pro quo sexual harassment where these protections would not apply.

Referred to the Committee on Appropriations

May 3, 2017

Referred to the Committee on Judiciary