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Texas senate to hold hearing on campus free speech

Panel will explore ‘any restrictions on Freedom of Speech rights that Texas students face’

The Texas state senate will hold a hearing at the end of this month to examine whether or not Texas university students are facing any threats to their freedom of speech.

The senate’s state affairs committee will “evaluate ‘any restrictions on Freedom of Speech rights that Texas students face in expressing their views on campus along with freedoms of the press, religion, and assembly’,” according to The San Antonia Express-News.

The committee will also “recommend policy changes that protect First Amendment rights and enhance the free speech environment on campus.”

The hearing comes after several new bills introduced in the Texas legislature last session related to “protecting expressive activities at public universities and colleges.” The bills died in committee, according to The Express-News. 

Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick requested that the committee address free speech this year.

The University of Texas last year experienced a free speech controversy when the student government voted on whether or not to disban a conservative group on campus for hosting an “affirmative action bake sale.” The measure to disban the group was overwhelmingly voted down.

Last fall, meanwhile, Texas Southern University cancelled a Republican state representative’s speech on its campus, claiming that the group that invited him had not received permission to do so, even as school officials had previously greenlit the speech.

MORE: Protester trashes anti-abortion display at Texas State: ‘Get the f*ck out of here’

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