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Arizona Bans Restricting Free Speech on Campus

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Arizona flagby Peter Fricke, Campus Reform

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) recently signed legislation prohibiting public colleges and universities in the state from confining free speech to specific portions of campus.

“Part of the university experience is to be able to express diverse views, openly, without fear of retribution or intimidation—and to be exposed to other views and perspectives, even if they aren’t politically correct or popular,” Ducey wrote in his signing statement, according to The Arizona Republic.

The bill, HB 2615, was introduced in February by State Rep. Anthony Kern (R), who was inspired by his experience attempting to hand out materials with a church group at Glendale Community College. Despite having participated in the annual Independence Day festivities on campus for several years without incident, Kern recalled that one year, “all of a sudden, they came up with this free speech zone which was way away from the people.”

The new law also has a special relevance to an ongoing fight over the legality of free speech zones, though Kern was not aware of that when he introduced the measure.

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