Free Speech on Campus

The AAUP has developed a toolkit to address legislative interference, typically at the state level, with free speech on campus. Conservative claims that free speech is at risk of disappearing from college campuses have served as a pretext for imposing punitive approaches to regulating and monitoring campus activities, undermining the institutional autonomy of public higher education institutions. Check out the resources below.

"Campus Free-Speech” Legislation: A Primer

Most "campus free-speech" legislation introduced in state legislatures in recent years has been drafted from model bills produced by the Goldwater Institute.

Five Actions to Take on “Campus Free-Speech” Legislation

Consider taking one of the following actions to challenge “campus free-speech” legislation in your state. 

“Campus Free-Speech” Legislation Phone Script

Use the script below when contacting your legislators about “campus free-speech” legislation.

Talking Points on “Campus Free Speech”

The talking points can be used for one-on-one conversations with colleagues, students, and legislators.

Here are some additional resources:

  • A 2018 report by the AAUP's Committee on Government Relations, Campus Free-Speech Legislation: History, Progress, and Problems, examines the context and content of the “campus free-speech” movement, tracks its influence within state legislatures, and draws conclusions concerning the best ways to respond to it. Read the report here.
  • Free speech has become a flashpoint for controversy on campuses across the United States. PEN America's Campus Free Speech Guide for faculty, staff, and students provides practical, principled guidance for how campuses can best remain open to all voices. Check that out here. 
  • The AAUP and AFT released a Campus Free Speech FAQ with guidance to help members navigate campus free speech and academic freedom in poitically charged contexts. Download the FAQ here.
  • Check out our general resources on political interference in higher education.