Free speech bill would help keep campus speech policies updated

Sen. Steve Halloran, District 33, speaks to NTV about free speech and property taxes (NTV).

After University of Nebraska - Lincoln sophomore Kaitlyn Mullen said she felt intimidated and berated not to practice her first amendment rights on campus, it sparked the attention of at least three state senators.

The altercation with her and a faculty member occurred back in August.

That’s when District 33's Senator Steve Halloran said he felt moved to take action to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

He now wants to push a Higher Education Free–Speech Accountability Act Bill.

He said it’s an effort to continue to encourage Nebraska's public universities and colleges to create their own polices on free speech and keep them updated.

Halloran said UNL is doing so already, but this bill will act as an accountability function.

"The bill that I'm proposing would require that the regents put together a committee of nine people. Three regents, three faculty members, three students,” Halloran said. “And then once a year, 30 days prior to a session starting, they would be required to report to the public, to the governor, and to the legislature any incumbencies that happened on campus in regard to free speech and how they managed it," he said.

He said this bill would also allow campus groups, at public schools, to practice their right to bring a guest speaker of their choice to campus whether or not that guest speaker is controversial.

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