Campus Free Speech Statutes

Enacted Campus Free Speech Statutes – Georgia

In 2018, Georgia enacted SB 339, Ga. Code Ann. § 20-3-48, § 20-3-48.1, § 20-3-48.2. In 2022, Georgia repealed two of the previous statutes and replaced them with new protections by enacting HB 1.

SB 339 Summary

SB 339 prohibited institutions from quarantining student speech to misleadingly labeled “free speech zones,” and ensures that student organizations may invite speakers to their campuses. In 2022, the provision on “free speech zones” was replaced with improved language.

Key Provisions

  • Prohibited institutions from restricting student speech to “free speech zones”. In 2022, this provision was replaced by HB 1;
  • Requires institutions adopt content-neutral policies for student groups and their invited speakers, including security and rental fees for facility use; and
  • Mandates the Board of Regents establish a range of disciplinary sanctions for anyone who has interfered with another’s free speech rights on campus.

FIRE Commentary

None

HB 1 Summary

HB 1 repealed and replaced two of the statutes enacted as a result of SB 339. The new statutes accurately reflect the standard courts have used to strike down free speech zones under the First Amendment and explicitly forbids public institutions of higher education from implementing them.

The bill also adopted the Supreme Court of the United States’s definition of student-on-student harassment that ensures policies addressing harassment do not restrict constitutionally-protected expression.

Key Provisions

  • Explicitly prohibits institutions from creating “free speech zones” while allowing institutions to impose constitutional limits on time, place, and manner restrictions;
  • Defines student-on-student harassment consistent with the United States Supreme Court standard in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education;
  • Requires public colleges and universities to make public their expressive activity policies “in their handbooks, on their websites, and through their orientation programs” and develop “materials, programs, and procedures” that educate campus administrators and other university officials on their responsibilities with regards to expressive activities on campus.

FIRE Commentary

Georgia improves upon free speech law by enacting FORUM Act