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Proposed State Bill Would "Protect" Campus Free Speech

Ohio Public Radio

As Kent State University faces a lawsuit from a gun rights group over what the group calls call "punitive" security charges for an on-campus rally, and Ohio State University beefs up security for an appeareance by the former head of a rightwing media outlet, state lawmakers took up a bill that backers say would protect all free speech at public universities. Its Republican sponsors got a boost from the speaker prompting protests at the Columbus campus.  Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler reports.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro was followed by security throughout the Statehouse, where he testified for the bill that bans restricting speakers and groups to small “free speech zones” on campus and sets rules for what the sponsors say would be equal treatment of speakers of all viewpoints.

“It seems like a pretty measured bill in terms of its language. I don’t think it’s designed to let the KKK roam around free on campus, guns a-blazin’.”

Conservative groups say their messages have often been targeted with limits on displays and signs and higher fees. But the ACLU has raised concerns about this bill in the past. The sponsors say they don’t expect the bill to pass in lame duck and they plan to bring it up again next year.  

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