A handful of Republicans in the state legislature including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Sen. Chris Kapenga, who traded his budget vote for a special provision to benefit a business he owns, have re-introduced legislation to protect right-wing hate speech on University of Wisconsin campuses.
The latest version of the proposal includes new language that could allow a white nationalist who believes their “expressive rights are violated by a violation of the bill’s requirements to bring an action to enjoin a violation and obtain reasonable attorneys fees and damages.”
The following are the statements of One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Analiese Eicher: “Threatening students with lawsuits and expulsion for protesting white nationalism on campus isn’t protecting free speech, it’s protecting hate speech.
Rep. Katrina Shankland (D-Stevens Point) released the following statement in response:
“As the ranking member of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee, I’m extremely concerned about Republican legislation that would supersede or nullify the Board of Regents’ already problematic campus speech policy and replace it with an even more chilling policy. Under this bill, individuals could bring action and sue for damages if they are protested or potentially interrupted. Anyone could report another person for violating this new policy, and an individual could be suspended or expelled after just a few allegations, an investigation, and a hearing.
“I’m especially concerned about the far-reaching impact this legislation could have on freedom of speech on campus. Language in the bill stating that “institutions must remain neutral on public policy controversies” is overly broad and can be construed as preventing campus leaders from taking positions on human and civil rights, at a time when our world most needs leaders to take a stand..."
Sources: Urban Milwaukee