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Colorado abolishes "free speech zones" on public college campuses

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed bipartisan legislation to help restore free speech at public universities in his state. The Denver Post reports:

Colorado college students won’t be restricted to a “free-speech zone,” which allows them to speak their minds just about anywhere on campus.

Gov. John Hickenlooper Tuesday signed into law the abolition of free-speech zones on public college campuses. The areas have been used to confine public demonstrations to designated areas.

But critics say college and universities have used free-speech zones to actually restrict the free expression of ideas by insulating students from speech they may find offensive or threatening.

Supporters say that Senate Bill 62, which breezed through both the House and Senate, was needed to ensure higher education remains a place to openly discuss ideas and different viewpoints, even if those viewpoints offend them.

“Once we limit free speech to a zone, we indicate to our students that free speech does not exist anywhere beyond that zone,” said state Sen. Tim Neville, a co-sponsor of the bill. “That is not the message we want to send to future generations about our core values.”

Senate Bill 62 attracted bipartisan support. It prohibits the creation of free speech zones, along with any other policy suggesting that free speech is off limits to certain parts of campus.

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