Law protecting free speech on college campuses passed in Oklahoma

The US state of Oklahoma has passed a law protecting students’ rights to free speech.

The law banning so-called ‘free-speech zones’, which restrict free speech to particular areas of college and university campuses, was signed into effect on Monday by Governor Kevin Stitt.

An associate professor at Oklahoma State University (OSU) said the law should serve as a reminder to educational institutions that they cannot restrict free speech to certain areas of campus.


Julie Daniels and Mark Lepak, who authored the Bill, said all outdoor areas on campuses will be considered public forums and open to free speech.

Daniels said she proposed the law because she had met numerous students who had faced threats for expressing socially conservative views.

In 2012 a pro-life society took OSU to court for banning students from distributing abortion factsheets on campus.

Daniels said: “We have more and more people who are offended, and they want anything they find offensive to be stopped.”


Zack Pruitt, a lawyer at religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom, praised the new law.
He said: “Oklahoma’s public universities and colleges are meant to be free and open communities – a place where future teachers, lawyers, doctors, judges, community leaders, and voters can exercise their fundamental, constitutionally protected freedom of speech.

“This new law helps ensure that public universities continue to be places where intellectual diversity flourishes and both students and faculty are able to engage in the exchange of ideas rather than being censored on campus.”

Free speech

Texas lawmakers are also making moves to pass a similar Bill.

It follows President Trump’s recent executive order to withhold Government funding from all colleges and universities that do not uphold free speech.

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