Texas Lt. Gov directs Senate to study campus free speech
- Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick recently ordered the Texas Senate to study issues surrounding free speech on college campuses before the next legislative session.
- The instruction follows the recent shut-down of a state representative's speaking event at Texas Southern University by student protesters, during which school officials refused to intervene.
Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick recently ordered the Texas Senate to study issues surrounding free speech on college campuses before the next legislative session.
Patrick said in a press release that by having the Senate State Affairs Committee take a closer look at free speech on college campuses, it will assure there are no restrictions on the right of Texas students to express their views on campus.
Additionally, Patrick mandated the Committee to look at similar First Amendment issues on campus, such as freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the right to assembly.
According to The Texas Tribune, Patrick directed the State Affairs Committee to "recommend policy changes that protect First Amendment rights and enhance the free speech environment on campus.”
The recommendations follow State Rep. Briscoe Cain’s attempt to speak at a Federalist Society meeting at Texas Southern University, an event that was cancelled after alleged Black Lives Matter protesters shut the speech down and TSU president dubbed the event “unapproved.”
However, Cain claims that the event was the confirmed by Thurgood Law School Interim Dean James Douglas, who told The Dallas Morning News that the school has “ a process” and “they went through our process."
Cain also claimed that he "was greeted by campus officials, given a guest parking voucher, and brought into a room in which the administration had specifically requested the talk occur.”
In a previous statement to Campus Reform, a spokesperson for Cain said that he intends to ask the Texas House speaker and lieutenant governor “to consider interim studies on the anti-free speech actions of TSU and any other public universities.”
“Institutions of higher education should protect free speech, not shut it down,” Cain told Campus Reform. “I applaud Lt. Governor Dan Patrick for sharing my passion for this issue and look forward to passing meaningful campus speech protections when the legislature returns.”
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