A proposed bill in Ohio’s state legislature would prevent colleges from banning “controversial” speakers from campus and prohibit the creation of free speech zones.
The bill, titled the Forming Open and Robust University Minds (FORUM) Act, was introduced by Sen. Andrew Brenner after he noticed multiple instances of conservative speakers being blocked from campuses across the country. The measure passed the Senate in a unanimous vote, 33-0.
The resolution states “this legislature finds that public universities in this state and elsewhere are failing to provide adequate safeguards for the First Amendment rights of their students leading to a stifling of expression on campus.”
Free speech zones have plagued our nation’s campuses, limiting students’ constitutional right to free expression to a small area at their school, the only place they are allowed to hang posters, chalk, or table.
“I admire Rep. Brenner’s continued fight for institutional reform affecting the ways speakers are (and sometimes aren’t) allowed to speak on Ohio college campuses,” said The Ohio State University Young Americans for Freedom chairman James Smith. “I believe FORUM is a step in the right direction for Ohio educational policy and will, if passed, help to make college campuses more of a marketplace for ideas and less dominated by leftist groupthink.”
This proposed bill is a good move for higher education, and other states should take notice. Ensuring that colleges cannot haphazardly prevent voices from being heard is key to making sure that places of higher education remain a marketplace of ideas.