Background Brief: Free Speech

Policy and Advocacy

A number of high-profile incidents involving controversial speakers on college campuses in recent years has focused the attention of lawmakers on the idea of a crisis of free speech in higher education. The fact that public institutions of higher education are considered government actors held to the strictures of the First Amendment complicates matters, though there are many threads to the conversations around threads to speech on college campuses and not all of them apply to constitutional rights. This brief will review some of those threads and provide examples from some of the most common legislation introduced or considered in the last few years relating to campus speech.