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Oklahoma creates oversight committee to protect campus free speech

The new law will ensure public universities protect free speech and provide training on it

Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt recently signed legislation to establish a committee to oversee campus free speech.

House Bill 3543, signed by the Republican governor (pictured) on April 20, creates the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee and gives it specific duties.

Duties of the committee include “review[ing] the free speech policies of Oklahoma public universities,” review and ensure proper training by universities on free speech protection and reviewing free speech violation complaints.

“The Oklahoma Free Speech Committee shall develop a process of collecting complaints of free speech violations on public university campuses and advise complainants of their rights,” the legislation states. “Universities shall publish contact information on how to report free speech concerns to the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee on its website.”

“We have to really make sure to protect the free speech for those that we disagree with,” state representative and sponsor Chad Caldwell told Fox 25.

The new entity will be part of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, which said it will work to implement the law.

“[W]e will follow the provisions to create a process that ensures our institutions continue to be places where the open exchange of ideas and perspectives is encouraged and protected,” the regents said in a statement last week, prior to the bill’s signing.

The board said the “state system institutions embrace the First Amendment and recognize the importance of free speech,” according to News 9.

MORE: U. of Oklahoma dedicates full week to diversity, equity and inclusion

IMAGE: Kevin Stitt/Twitter

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.