Owens Champions First Amendment Rights on Campus

WASHINGTON – The Education and the Workforce Committee passed the Respecting the First Amendment on Campus Act, legislation supported by Higher Education and Workforce Development Subcommittee Chair Burgess Owens (UT-04), to ensure that college campuses and universities are fulfilling their First Amendment obligations. This bill makes free speech on campus a condition for receiving Title IV funding under the Higher Education Act (HEA).

“Freedom of speech and freedom of expression are under attack at America’s colleges and universities,” said Rep. Owens. “We cannot look the other way while students are denied their constitutional freedoms and forced to accept shout-downs, cancellations, doxxing, disinvitations, and disciplinary action as the new normal. Protecting First Amendment freedoms on campus is more important than ever, and I’m proud to see the Respecting the First Amendment on Campus Act clear the Education and the Workforce Committee.”

The Respecting the First Amendment on Campus Act:

  • Makes free speech on campus a condition of receiving Title IV funds under the Higher Education Act.
  • Ensures students are educated on their First Amendment rights.
  • Safeguards the freedoms of association and religion on campus.
  • Prohibits institutions from forcing students, faculty, or applicants to take political litmus tests.
  • Requires all institutions to disclose annually First Amendment policies held by the institution.

The full text of the legislation is available here

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