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 North Carolina 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 public institutions of higher education to adopt a policy on free expression similar to the University of Chicago Free Speech Policy Statement;
  • Prohibits public colleges and universities from quarantining student expression into “free speech zones”;
  • Ensures campuses are open to speakers invited by students, student groups, or faculty; 
  • Requires institutions 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 campuses within the University of North Carolina system;
  • Mandates institutions include training about their free expression policies during freshman orientation; and
  • Prohibits institutions 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