WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS FORWARD BILL THAT WOULD EXPEL STUDENTS FOR DISRUPTING SPEECHES

Republican lawmakers would require University of Wisconsin System institutions to discipline and potentially expel students who disrupt speeches on campus, and mandate that UW stay neutral on political controversies.

Prompted, its sponsors say, by battles over free speech at UW-Madison and universities across the country, the bill makes Wisconsin the latest state in which lawmakers have sought to ensure controversial ideas are presented on college campuses by limiting the sometimes disruptive tactics of their opponents.

“We are making a pretty clear statement here that free expression should not be inhibited and will not be inhibited,” said Rep. Jesse Kremer, R-Kewaskum, the bill’s lead author.

The liberal advocacy group One Wisconsin Now blasted the proposal as an attempt “to create mandatory safe spaces where conservatives, Republicans, racists and sexists can be exempt from criticism by their peers on campuses across Wisconsin.”

And UW officials responded that universities already have policies in place to protect free expression and punish students who violate those rules.

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