Confronting Campus Free-Speech Legislation

By Monica Owens

As well-funded organizations like the Goldwater Institute continue their coordinated attack on the public good, “campus free-speech” bills are making their way through state legislatures across the country. In response to the threat posed by these bills, the AAUP has put together a toolkit that chapters can use to inform and organize faculty members and students.

The toolkit, available online at https://onefacultyoneresistance.org/featured-campaigns/freespeech/, contains a short primer, talking points, and scripts for contacting legislators about campus free-speech bills. These versatile organizing and legislative advocacy tools can be used in one-on-one conversations with AAUP chapter members; carried along to office visits to new or prospective chapter members; cited in conversations with legislators or in public testimony; incorporated into letters to the editor or into blog or social-media postings; discussed at chapter meetings; or used in campus teach-ins or public forums. (The State of the Profession column in this issue provides additional information about the challenge of resisting campus free-speech legislation.)

In conjunction with the development of these resources, in April the AAUP’s Committee on Government Relations issued Campus Free-Speech Legislation: History, Progress, and Problems, a report that contextualizes the current wave of legislation and suggests ways that faculty can respond. This report, together with the tools available on the One Faculty, One Resistance website, can help create informed, organized, and strong chapters ready to defend AAUP principles and the public good.

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