News release from Rep. Martin Daniel, R-Knoxville
Representative Martin Daniel (R-18th District) has filed a bill that would confirm the First Amendment right of students enrolled in Tennessee institutions of higher education.
House Bill 2063, entitled “The Tennessee Student Free Speech Protection Act,” would require that institutions of higher education adopt a policy on speech and expression that would confirm students’ freedom of speech as a fundamental right, guarantee them the broadest latitude to speak about any issue that presents itself, and allow students to openly and vigorously discuss ideas that other members of the institution’s community might oppose. Furthermore, the Act would prohibit higher education institutions from discouraging any type of lawful speech or expressive activity, establishing speech “safe zones,” or shielding individuals from ideas and opinions that they might find disagreeable, unwelcome or offensive.
“In Tennessee, the First Amendment does not stop at the campus gate,” said Representative Daniel. “This Bill would confirm the nearly forgotten concept of free speech. We can’t allow politically correct policies to smother free speech. Courtesy and sensitivity, while encouraged, can never trump basic constitutional rights. Tennessee higher education should prepare our students for the real world, and encouraging expression of all sorts of viewpoints is essential to that objective.”