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As I See It

UW policy on free speech restricts free speech rights

Scott Robert Shaw



It seems a solution in search of a problem. The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents is poised tomorrow to adopt new rules restricting free speech rights on UW campuses. The proposed language is overly vague, and unnecessary. According to the plan, students could be suspended or even expelled if they speak out against those on campus with whom they disagree. But the language leaves a lot of wiggle room in terms of what would be prohibited. IF a student boos during the talk of a white nationalist, would they be punished? What if students lead protests that cause the speaker to cancel their campus speech? Would that also be punishable under the policy? Why would a university work to protect the free speech rights of those preaching hate, but not the free speech rights of those who stand up to disagree with them? The outcry against this proposed policy comes from a variety of groups. Both the conservative group, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, and the liberal-leaning One Wisconsin Now are on record in opposition to the plan the regents will consider. In fact, during a public comment period in August, nine people showed up to speak, and 38 written comments were received. All but one, from a Michigan woman who praised the policy for protecting Christians and conservatives, were in opposition to this free-speech crackdown. The Regents should drop this draconian policy that requires students be punished for exercising their rights to free speech.

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.

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