Connect with us

As I See It

Free speech bill not about protecting free speech



College is a time when many people shape their world view, when they identify the issues they are passionate about, and speak out about them. In Wisconsin, that could soon get them kicked out of college. Some Republican lawmakers are pushing legislation that would punish those students who protest speakers who are paid to give talks at schools in the UW System. Any hecklers could be suspended from school, or even expelled. The policy would apply to any student at any UW school who engage in “violent, abusive, indecent, profane, boisterous, unreasonably loud, or other disorderly conduct” which interferes with someone’s free speech rights. Such behavior is not further defined. But the wording is so vague that even the author admits the bill probably is not constitutional. Backers say this protects the free speech rights of those hired to speak at a UW school. Clearly, this is designed to crack down on speech these lawmakers don’t like. It comes on the heels of students shouting down a speech by a Breitbart columnist at UW Madison last year. This law is not needed, and certainly doesn’t protect the free speech rights of students who pay to attend UW schools. It is also rather Draconian. Students should feel free to speak their minds. If they go too far and break the law, there are already ways to deal with that. This bill is not needed, and it certainly is not about protecting all free speech. Just the kind they don’t like.

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *