By Tom Lindsay
If some public universities have lost sight of the fact that freedom of speech is essential to both education and American democracy, the American people are fortunate that a growing number of state legislatures have not. Several weeks ago, Louisiana Governor John Edwards signed SB 364, a bill crafted to restore students’ free speech at the state’s public universities. In so doing, the Bayou State became the tenth state to pass legislation that outlaws so-called campus “free-speech zones” (small areas on campus to which students’ First Amendment rights are wrongly relegated). The new law also protects religiously based student organizations through forbidding the state’s public universities from taking action against those student groups that require their “leaders or members of the organization to affirm or adhere to the organization’s sincerely held beliefs.” Add to this encouraging news the fact that the bill passed on a bipartisan basis in the Louisiana Legislature and was then signed by its Democratic governor.
Such harmony was lacking only a year prior, when an earlier version of the bill passed both houses, but was vetoed by Edwards. CONTINUE READING HERE