Press Releases

Roe Statement on Introduction of Free Speech on College Campuses Resolution

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Washington, May 3, 2017 | Lani Short (202-225-6356) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) introduced H.Res. 307, a bipartisan resolution that reinforces Americans’ First Amendment rights on college campuses. This resolution will express a sense of Congress that institutions of higher education should facilitate and recommit themselves to protecting and promoting the free and open exchange of ideas, and that free speech zones and codes are inherently at odds with the First Amendment.

Roe released the following statement:

“With our current political climate, it’s more crucial than ever that colleges and universities protect all First Amendment rights,” said Rep. Roe. “It is my hope through passing this resolution we will send a strong message to college campuses across the country that restrictions on freedom of speech, thought and expression are inherently at odds with the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Protecting the rights granted by the Constitution is of utmost importance to me. As a Vietnam-era veteran, I saw colleges and universities become hotbeds for free speech and debate – some of which I vehemently disagreed with. But I fought to protect and defend the right to free speech, and both sides were able to passionately argue their views. Today, we are seeing more and more frequently a vocal minority of dissenters essentially be allowed to drown out or block alternative viewpoints or thoughts from even being shared. With this bipartisan resolution, we can send a strong message that Congress expects universities to protect and foster the free and open exchange of ideas.”

“Too many colleges and universities are restricting expressive activities on campus with misleadingly labeled "free speech" zones,” said Joe Cohn, Legislative and Policy Director of FIRE. “FIRE is thrilled that Representative Roe sees these policies for what they are—unjustified quarantine zones. Hopefully, this resolution draws the broad bipartisan support it deserves.”

This resolution is cosponsored by Rep. Rick W. Allen, Rep. Todd Rokita, Rep. Glenn Grothman, Rep. Jason Lewis, Rep. Bradley Byrne, and Rep. Jamie Raskin.

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