North Carolina Republican Rep. Greg Murphy introduced the Campus Free Speech Restoration Act of 2021 on Thursday in an effort to make colleges and universities that receive Title IV funding report how they are fostering free expression on campuses.
Murphy, the ranking member of the House’s Higher Education and Workforce Innovation subcommittee, seeks to alter the Higher Education Act of 1965 and force institutions to guarantee people’s First Amendment rights.
In order to obtain federal dollars, schools would have to publicly disclose their free speech policies. There is currently no similar policy in place and institutions continue to receive taxpayer funding without clarifying as such.
“Every individual should be free to profess, and to maintain, the opinion of such individual in matters of religion or philosophy, and that professing or maintaining such opinion should in no way diminish, enlarge, or affect the civil liberties or rights of such individual on the campus of an institution of higher education,” the bill states.
The congressman unveiled the bill at an event Thursday morning hosted by Young America’s Foundation (YAF). Murphy’s bill rebukes the idea of “free speech zones,” which attempt to limit certain speech to small areas and have picked up steam on college campuses.
To accomplish such standards enforcement, the Murphy’s bill would craft a Department of Education role tasked with resolving First Amendment violation complaints. “Postsecondary institutions should be held accountable for any actions that restrict or intimidate the right to speak freely on campus,” a press release notes.
On Monday, Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, who also attended the YAF event, joined Florida Republican Rep. Kat Cammack in launching a congressional Campus Free Speech Caucus.
“Every day,” Jordan said, “students and faculty are forced to self-censor out of fear that they will be ‘canceled’ by the mob. The Campus Free Speech Caucus, led by Rep. Kat Cammack and inspired by YAF, will work with Congress to push back on ‘woke’ cancel culture and defend freedom for Americans everywhere.”
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) June 14, 2021
Murphy and Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks introduced the bill last year to no avail.