Enacted Campus Free Speech Statutes – North Carolina

In 2017, North Carolina enacted HB 527, now N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. §§ 116-300 through  116-304.

HB 527 Summary

HB 527 requires public institutions of higher education in The University of North Carolina System (“covered public institutions of higher education”) to adopt a policy on free expression similar to the University of Chicago Free Speech Policy Statement and prohibits those institutions from quarantining student expression into “free speech zones.”

Key Provisions

  • Requires covered public institutions of higher education to adopt a policy on free expression similar to the University of Chicago Free Speech Policy Statement;
  • Prohibits covered public institutions of higher education from quarantining student expression into “free speech zones”;
  • Ensures covered public institutions of higher education are open to speakers invited by students, student groups, or faculty; 
  • Requires covered public institutions of higher education to adopt a range of disciplinary sanctions for students who substantially interfere with the protected free expression rights of others;
  • Provides due process protections in student disciplinary cases involving speech or expressive conduct;
  • Establishes a Committee on Free Expression tasked with providing a report to the legislature and the governor about free speech incidents at covered public institutions of higher education;
  • Mandates covered public institutions of higher education include training about their free expression policies during freshman orientation; and
  • Prohibits covered public institutions of higher education from requiring students, faculty, or administrators to express the institution’s view on social policy.

FIRE Commentary

Campus free speech bill becomes law in North Carolina