Education

Professors Association Condemns Free Speech Legislation, Says It’s A ‘Political Agenda’

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Zachery Schmidt Contributor

A professors association is advocating against one of the most vital elements of being a professor: free speech.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) started a campaign working on stopping free speech legislation in America, according to Forbes. As of May, 24 states introduced laws supporting free speech on campus, according to Campus Reform.

AAUP implemented a campaign called “One Faculty, One Resistance” with the idea of preventing states from passing these type of laws.

These actions by the AAUP steers from its normal action. Before this recent campaign, AAUP worked with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) to defend faculty, free speech rights and due process on campus.

The association outlined why campus free speech legislation is bad in a five-point plan.

“We were disappointed to read about the AAUP’s report. We have been having ongoing dialogues with them about it,” Joe Cohn, FIRE’s legislative and public policy director, told The Daily Caller.

Cohn said they painted too broad a brush on the conclusion they reached.

The plan argues campus free speech bills suppress speech because it can allow individuals to “sue a public institution if they feel their free-speech rights have been impinged on campus.”

Legislation like this can cause administrators to silent student protestors’ voices out of fear of lawsuits.

“I think they are wrong about that,” Cohn said. “Access to courts to fix free speech violations is really important. Right now, the access to those courts exists for some students and not for others, which is the real problem.”

Free speech legislation is a “political agenda masquerading behind free speech,” according to the plan. AAUP says campus free speech legislation preserve conservative speech rather than increase campus free speech.

“They are looking at the worst of state bills and reaching the conclusion that it’s dangerous in its entirety,” Cohn said.

The plan says the exchange of ideas doesn’t happen on college campuses is “grossly exaggerated.” AAUP believes what “we are seeing instead are difficult situations in a polarized political environment in which, for the most part, campuses are doing well at protecting the rights of both speakers and protesters.”

A March poll done by the Knight Foundation revealed only 69 percent of conservatives feel free to share their views in public compared to 92 percent of liberals.

FIRE will continue to work with AAUP in the future going forward.

“We will work together on many things because both organizations have strong commitments to the overall concept of free speech and due process,” Cohn said.

AAUP did not respond to The Daily Caller by the time of this publication.