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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

HF 2726

as introduced - 90th Legislature (2017 - 2018) Posted on 02/22/2018 05:32pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to higher education; requiring content-neutral campus free speech policies;
proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapters 136F; 137.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [136F.21] CAMPUS FREE SPEECH.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have
the meanings given.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Constitutional time, place, and manner restrictions" means restrictions on the time,
place, and manner of free speech that do not violate the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution or the Minnesota Constitution, article I, section 3, that are reasonable,
content- and viewpoint-neutral, and narrowly tailored to satisfy a significant institutional
interest, and leave open ample alternative channels for the communication of the information
or message to its intended audience.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Faculty" or "faculty member" means any person, whether or not the person is
compensated by a public institution of higher education, and regardless of political affiliation,
who is tasked with providing scholarship, academic research, or teaching. For purposes of
this part, faculty includes tenured and nontenured professors, adjunct professors, visiting
professors, lecturers, graduate student instructors, and those in comparable positions, however
titled. For purposes of this part, faculty does not include persons whose primary
responsibilities are administrative or managerial.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Free speech" means speech, expression, or assemblies protected by the First
Amendment to the United States Constitution or the Minnesota Constitution, article I, section
3, verbal or written, including but not limited to all forms of peaceful assembly, protests,
demonstrations, rallies, vigils, marches, public speaking, distribution of printed materials,
carrying signs, displays, or circulating petitions. Free speech does not include the promotion,
sale, or distribution of any product or service.
new text end

new text begin (e) "Institution" means a state college or university.
new text end

new text begin (f) "Student" means:
new text end

new text begin (1) an individual currently enrolled in a course of study at the institution; and
new text end

new text begin (2) an organization that is comprised entirely of individuals currently enrolled in a course
of study at the institution that is registered with an institution pursuant to institutional rules.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Institutional policy. new text end

new text begin (a) The governing body of every institution shall adopt a
policy that affirms the following principles of free speech, which are the public policy of
this state:
new text end

new text begin (1) students have a fundamental constitutional right to free speech;
new text end

new text begin (2) an institution shall be committed to giving students the broadest-possible latitude to
speak, write, listen, challenge, learn, and discuss any issue, subject to subdivisions 3 and
5;
new text end

new text begin (3) an institution shall be committed to maintaining a campus as a marketplace of ideas
for all students and all faculty in which the free exchange of ideas is not to be suppressed
because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the institution's
community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal,
traditional, radical, or wrongheaded;
new text end

new text begin (4) it is for an institution's individual students and faculty to make judgments about ideas
for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress free speech but
by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose;
new text end

new text begin (5) it is not the proper role of an institution to attempt to shield individuals from free
speech, including ideas and opinions they find offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent,
disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrongheaded;
new text end

new text begin (6) although an institution should greatly value civility and mutual respect, concerns
about civility and mutual respect shall never be used by an institution as a justification for
closing off the discussion of ideas, however offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent,
disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrongheaded those ideas may be
to some students or faculty;
new text end

new text begin (7) although all students and all faculty are free to state their own views about and contest
the views expressed on campus, and to state their own views about and contest speakers
who are invited to express their views on the institution's campus, they may not substantially
obstruct or otherwise substantially interfere with the freedom of others to express views
they reject or even loathe. To this end, an institution has a responsibility to promote a lively
and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation and protect that freedom;
new text end

new text begin (8) an institution shall be committed to providing an atmosphere that is most conducive
to speculation, experimentation, and creation by all students and all faculty, who shall always
remain free to inquire, study, evaluate, and gain new understanding;
new text end

new text begin (9) the primary responsibility of faculty is to engage an honest, courageous, and persistent
effort to search out and communicate the truth that lies in the areas of their competence;
new text end

new text begin (10) although faculty are free in the classroom to discuss subjects within areas of their
competence, faculty shall be cautious in expressing personal views in the classroom and
shall be careful not to introduce controversial matters that have no relationship to the subject
taught, especially matters in which they have no special competence or training and in
which, therefore, faculty's views cannot claim the authority accorded statements they make
about subjects within areas of their competence, provided that no faculty will face adverse
employment action for classroom speech, unless it is not reasonably germane to the subject
matter of the class as broadly construed, and comprises a substantial portion of classroom
instruction;
new text end

new text begin (11) an institution shall maintain the generally accessible, open, outdoor areas of its
campus as traditional public forums for free speech by students;
new text end

new text begin (12) an institution shall not restrict students' free speech only to particular areas of the
campus, sometimes known as "free speech zones";
new text end

new text begin (13) an institution shall not deny student activity fee funding to a student organization
based on the viewpoints that the student organization advocates;
new text end

new text begin (14) an institution shall not establish permitting requirements that prohibit spontaneous
outdoor assemblies or outdoor distribution of literature, although an institution may maintain
a policy that grants members of the college or university community the right to reserve
certain outdoor spaces in advance;
new text end

new text begin (15) an institution shall not charge students security fees based on the content of their
speech, the content of the speech of guest speakers invited by students, or the anticipated
reaction or opposition of listeners to a speech;
new text end

new text begin (16) an institution shall allow all students and all faculty to invite guest speakers to
campus to engage in free speech regardless of the views of guest speakers; and
new text end

new text begin (17) an institution shall not disinvite a speaker invited by a student, student organization,
or faculty member because the speaker's anticipated speech may be considered offensive,
unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or
wrongheaded by students, faculty, administrators, government officials, or members of the
public.
new text end

new text begin (b) The policy adopted pursuant to paragraph (a) shall be made available to students and
faculty annually through one or more of the following methods:
new text end

new text begin (1) published annually in the institution's student handbook and faculty handbook,
whether paper or electronic;
new text end

new text begin (2) made available to students and faculty by way of a prominent notice on the institution's
Web site other than through the electronic publication of the policy in the student handbook
and faculty handbook;
new text end

new text begin (3) sent annually to students and employees to their institutionally provided e-mail
address; or
new text end

new text begin (4) addressed by the institution in orientation programs for new students and new faculty.
new text end

new text begin (c) Nothing in this subdivision grants students the right to disrupt previously scheduled
or reserved activities occurring in a traditional public forum.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Harassment policy. new text end

new text begin (a) With respect to disciplining students for their speech,
expression, or assemblies, an institution shall adopt a policy on "student-on-student
harassment," defining the term consistent with and no more expansively than the language
contained in paragraph (b).
new text end

new text begin (b) As used in this subdivision, "student-on-student harassment" means unwelcome
conduct directed toward a person that is discriminatory on a basis prohibited by federal,
state, or local law and that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively
bars the victim's access to an educational opportunity or benefit.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Costs. new text end

new text begin Nothing in this part requires an institution to fund costs associated with
student speech or expression. An institution shall not impose costs on students or student
organizations on the basis of the anticipated reaction or opposition to a person's speech by
listeners.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Construction. new text end

new text begin Nothing contained in this section prohibits an institution from
imposing measures that do not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution
or the Minnesota Constitution, article I, section 3, such as:
new text end

new text begin (1) constitutional time, place, and manner restrictions;
new text end

new text begin (2) reasonable and viewpoint-neutral restrictions in nonpublic forums;
new text end

new text begin (3) restricting the use of the institution's property to protect the free speech rights of
students and faculty and preserve the use of the property for the advancement of the
institution's mission;
new text end

new text begin (4) prohibiting or limiting speech, expression, or assemblies that are not protected by
the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or the Minnesota Constitution, article
I, section 3; or
new text end

new text begin (5) content restrictions on speech that are reasonably related to a legitimate pedagogical
purpose, such as classroom rules enacted by faculty.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Cause of action. new text end

new text begin A student who has the student's free speech violated by an
institution under the policy adopted under this section may bring an action in a court of
competent jurisdiction to enjoin any violation of this section or to recover reasonable court
costs and attorney fees. In an action brought pursuant to this subdivision, if the court finds
that a violation occurred, the court shall award the aggrieved party injunctive relief for the
violation and shall award reasonable court costs and attorney fees.
new text end

Sec. 2.

new text begin [137.095] CAMPUS FREE SPEECH.
new text end

new text begin The Board of Regents is encouraged to adopt policies consistent with the requirements
of section 136F.21.
new text end