California Assemblywoman Melissa A. Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, announced today that she introduced legislation to ensure the First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech is protected and preserved throughout all of California’s college campuses. From her press release:
“The first amendment is a cornerstone to this country’s founding document. Our Constitution is clear, all persons, despite race, religion, or creed, have the right to freely voice their opinion without fear of retribution,” said Melendez.“Recently, we’ve seen a trend on California’s college campuses of stifling free speech. The fact that college administrators have done nothing to ensure all of their students’ liberties are protected is shameful and un-American.”
Campus Free Speech Act, will:
Create an official, state-wide policy, affirming the importance of freedom of expression on all college campuses; thus, nullifying any existing restrictive speech codes in the process.
Prevents administrators from dis-inviting speakers–no matter how controversial– from whom members of the campus community wish to hear speak.
Establishes a system of disciplinary sanctions for students, and anyone else, who interferes with the free speech right of others.
Reaffirm the principle that universities, at the official institutional level, ought to remain neutral on issues of public controversy to encourage the widest possible range of opinion and dialogue within the university itself.
Ensure students will be informed of the official policy of free expression at their freshman orientation.
Authorize a special subcommittee of the University Board of Trustees to issue a yearly report to the public, the Trustees, the Governor, and the Legislature on the administrative handling of free speech issues on their respective campuses.
“Liberty cannot live without the freedom to speak and nowhere is that more important than on college campuses where we educate the leaders of tomorrow,” said Melendez. “The institutional silencing of individuals because of differing political ideology threatens the very foundation upon which our country was built.”
Assemblywoman Melissa A. Melendez represents the 67th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Murrieta, Menifee, Wildomar and a portion of Hemet. It also includes the Riverside County unincorporated areas of Lake Mathews, Good Hope, Nuevo, and Winchester. Follow her on Twitter: @asmMelendez