A new “Freedom of Expression” policy will be voted on Friday by The University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents, which could potentially expel students who disrupt others’ right to speak freely.
The “Commitment of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression” policy ultimately acknowledges the right to freedom of expression on campus, and other elements of the model-free speech legislation created by the Goldwater Institute.
One component taken from the Goldwater model is the “heckler’s veto,” which would penalize students who attempt to suppress others from self-expression. Additionally, the veto would enforce all UW institutions to address freedom of expression at student orientation.
“[I]t is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they, or others, find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive,” the proposal says. “Although the university greatly values civility, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members within the university community.”
The policy states that when a student is “is alleged to have engaged in violent or other disorderly misconduct that materially and substantially disrupted the free expression of others,” the student must face both a formal investigation and disciplinary hearing.
If a student is found responsible for attempting to prevent others’ right to speak twice, they will face a minimum one-semester suspension, while a third violation may result in expulsion from the university.
However, The Cap Times reported that faculty and staff members’ employment is protected under the university policy and state law.
The policy would prevent those on campus to “obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others, including speakers who are invited to campus, to express views they reject or even loathe.”
Notably, The University of California-Berkeley recently planned to hold a week-long event to celebrate freedom of speech but was shut down early, as Turning Point News previously reported.
At Berkeley today the police were asking for "tickets" when it wasn't a ticketed event. HUNDREDS of people were waiting to get in. The press wasn't showing the lines outside and instead kept asking why no one had shown up when there were about 500 people waiting to get in. The vast majority of the crowd was still waiting outside, being held by police, when I spoke. The entire Berkeley College Republican group was refused entry. The police even had a device that was nuking our drone signal. We were denied any amplified sound whatsoever and police refused to remove screeching protesters who made it impossible to deliver any speeches. But you know what? I'd have come out today if a SINGLE person wanted to hear me and got into the plaza. And I'll keep coming. Thanks to everyone who stood out in the sun. God bless everyone. Despite the machinations of every component of the Berkeley and UC Berkeley administration, we showed up. We will keep showing up. See you back in Berkeley next year!
The new UW policy would prevent speakers and students’ freedom of expression from being suppressed by implementing major punishments.