Campus Free Speech Act Press Release

Tuesday, August 29, 2017



Representatives Wes Goodman and Andrew Brenner

COLUMBUS—Citizens for Community Values, an Ohio Christian advocacy group that defends free speech and religious freedom, participated in a press conference held by Ohio State Representatives Wesley Goodman & Andrew Brenner today announcing their intention to introduce the Campus Free Speech Act. The proposal will protect the free speech rights of students on public universities throughout Ohio.

According to research conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which maintains an exhaustive list of incidents of free speech violations on campus, “freedom of speech is under continuous threat at many of America’s campuses, pushed aside in favor of politics, comfort, or simply a desire to avoid controversy.”

“Colleges and universities are supposed to be the marketplace for ideas,” said Aaron Baer, President of Citizens for Community Values. “Unfortunately, throughout the country, many students and student organizations are not given the opportunity to participate in open and honest discussion. The Campus Free Speech Act ensures all university speech codes respect the first amendment rights of Ohio students.”

CCV President Aaron Baer

According to FIRE’s ratings, 11 universities in Ohio have speech codes that restrict protected expression or, by virtue of their vague wording, could too easily be used to restrict protected expression. One university has codes that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech.

The Campus Free Speech Act restates and codifies a student’s right to “engage in free expression.” It guarantees to members of the campus community, “clear, content neutral rules for conduct of expression.” The bill requires public universities to adopt and promulgate a policy saying, “it is not the proper role of a state institution of higher education to shield individuals from expression.”

The Campus Free Speech act also codifies current Constitutional free speech law by limiting the university’s authority to segregate expression from certain places and audiences. It specifically states that “Offense or irritation taken to the content of speech shall not be considered an actionable harm under any circumstances.”

For questions or further comments, contact CCV, or 513.733.5775.

Citizens for Community Values works to create an Ohio where God’s blessings of life, family, and religious freedom are treasured, respected, and protected.