The states are the “laboratories of democracy” (Justice Louis Brandeis) and “education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom” (George Washington Carver). These two quotes will be put to the test with Ohio House Bill 758, the FORUM Act, which aims to protect and promote free speech on state campuses.
DailyWire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro will be one of several experts to testify on behalf of the bill. Shapiro is arguably the left’s favorite target when he goes to college campuses around the nation to speak, drawing protests and “trigger warnings” because of his conservative views. He is often accused by left-leaning campus groups of spreading dangerous ideologies, defending hate speech, and being antisemitic.
Shapiro is Jewish.
— Representative Niraj Antani (@NirajAntani) November 9, 2018
Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Tyson Langhofer is also scheduled to testify.
“The free and open exchange of ideas is essential to democracy, and perhaps no place is it more important than on public university campuses,” Langhofer said. “Public colleges and universities are meant to be marketplaces of ideas—where our future teachers, lawyers, judges, community leaders, and voters can exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms. Unfortunately, public universities are some of the most ideologically intolerant places in the entire country. This bill will help ensure that public universities again become places where intellectual diversity flourishes and all students are able to engage in the exchange of ideas rather than censorship on campus. We commend Ohio lawmakers for considering legislation that protects students’ First Amendment freedoms.”
The FORUM (Forming Open and Robust University Minds) Act is designed to reduce efforts to suppress free speech on state-funded campuses. It will eliminate “free speech zones,” allow students to hold events and activities on campus without interference, and promotes expression on campus regardless of political party or ideological preferences.
Universities have been turned into leftist indoctrination factories. The predominance of left-leaning faculty at most colleges has not only assisted in this systematic indoctrination, but has also emboldened students to utilize intimidation techniques against any high-profile conservative speakers.
Reading through HB 758 reveals some interesting measures that other states should consider. This isn’t really a defense of the 1st Amendment, though the attachment of state funds allows it to be framed within that narrative. But of greater importance is the practice of free speech itself in all of its non-detrimental forms on campuses that desperately need to hear both sides.
While progressives often try to suppress conservative ideas by labeling them as “dangerous” to justify their unhinged actions, most conservatives generally welcome dialogue on campuses from every side of a debate. We recognize that through dialogue we have our greatest opportunity to open minds and change hearts.
Conservatives, by our nature, will not suppress ideas as progressives often do on campuses. We need bills like these to give us a chance of breaking through the indoctrination. The greatest fear of campus progressives is someone like Shapiro spreading the truth.