On Thursday March 21, Iowa legislators passed Senate File 274, effectively ridding state universities of “Free Speech Zones” and prohibiting state universities from discriminating against ideologue based organizations.
SF 274 narrowly passed Iowa’s House of Representatives, a 52-44 vote. According to Campus Reform, the bill “requires public colleges and universities to adopt policies addressing freedom of expression, which among other things, must state that ‘it is the proper role of an institution of higher education to encourage diversity of thoughts, ideas, and opinions.'”
This bill comes just days after President Trump’s executive order mandating free speech on all federally funded colleges or universities. SF 274 agrees with what the President elucidated within his executive order: “the primary function of an institution of higher education is the discovery, improvement, transmission, and dissemination of knowledge by means of research, teaching, discussion, and debate.”
The bill clearly states that it is unacceptable for universities to “shield” students of the institution from any idea deemed unsafe or unwanted. It further clarifies that “students and faculty have the freedom to discuss any problem that presents itself…”
As for “free speech zones,” SF 274 disavows them entirely. It states that any area of the institution, namely outdoor areas, are suitable for the use of any student and are “open on the same terms for any invited speaker.”
The students of Iowa state schools confide in this bill completely. The Chairman of the College Republicans told Campus Reform that “the University should not be able to tell students where they can and cannot engage in speech, as long as the speech is not infringing on the rights of any other student or disrupting academic.”
“the removal of free speech zones will allow for students to freely express themselves without fear of university punishment.”
Turning Point USA, along with every other conservative group on campus, will no longer have to fear their events being shut down on the basis of “unsafe speech.”
SF 274 is currently awaiting approval from Iowa governor Kim Reynolds.