The University of Wisconsin-System Board of Regents on Friday approved a resolution reaffirming freedom of speech rights on its campuses throughout the state. The resolution comes after University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank wrote a blog post in November devaluing free speech rights in response to protests on the campus of the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The following statements from policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Donald Kendal, new media specialist, at [email protected] and 312/377-4000.
“The University of Wisconsin Regents should be commended for passing a resolution protecting free speech on their campuses. It is time for citizens, students, and faculty to reverse the negative effects of ‘political correctness’ and its impact on the necessary exchange of ideas.
“The next step should be to reduce funding to any university system that does not follow suit and roll back the tide of unreason created by those who attack free speech. The university is no place for faculty or students who can’t live with the First Amendment.”
“As an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I am very pleased by the Board of Regents’ decision to reaffirm free speech rights on campus. All academic staff and students should be able to exercise their free speech rights without fear of reprisal. Today’s action is meant to be a check and balance to Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s statement last month hinting that free speech rights may be limited on the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin-System.
“If the Board of Regents did not approve this resolution today, we would see the University of Wisconsin-Madison return to chilling speech codes instituted in the 1980s and ’90s by former Chancellor Donna Shalala. Although Ms. Shalala deserves credit for helping rebuild Wisconsin Badgers athletics, her legacy is tainted by her leadership of the anti-free speech movement on U.S. college campuses.”
“The resolution affirming free speech, even if that speech is ‘unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive,’ is a great step in combating the recent trend of college campus protests whose goals were to shut down free speech.
“More institutions of higher learning should follow the University of Wisconsin, Purdue University, the University of Chicago, and others in passing a similar resolution affirming campuses are places where all speech is welcomed and ideas can be debated with civility and respect.”
“It is hard to believe that nearly two decades into the twenty-first century a university feels the need to pass a resolution endorsing something that is already every American’s God-given birthright. Alas, this is the world we live in, and the University of Wisconsin should be applauded for standing up to the dime-store Jacobins on campus and defending the virtue, value, and civilizational necessity of free speech.”
The Heartland Institute is a 31-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.