Campus Free Speech Statutes

Enacted Campus Free Speech Statutes – North Dakota

In 2019, North Dakota enacted SB 2320. In 2021, North Dakota enacted HB 1503, which amended the earlier bill and added new protections.

SB 2320 Summary

SB 2320 instructed the state board of education and public institutions of higher education to create and adopt policies protecting the free expression of students, the campus community’s invited speakers, and faculty’s academic freedom.

Key Provisions

  • Requires institutions to protect student expressive rights while enforcing constitutional limits on time, place, and manner;
  • Required institutions to allow the campus community to invite speakers regardless of the anticipated viewpoint or content of their speech; and
  • Required institutions to protect faculty rights to expression and academic freedom by adhering to “guidelines established by the American association of university professors.”

FIRE Commentary on SB 2320

None

HB 1503 Summary

HB 1503 is a comprehensive free speech bill that amended SB 2320. The statute prohibits a wide range of forms of censorship including intrusions on faculty’s academic freedom, overbroad anti-harassment policies, misleadingly labeled “free speech zones,” discrimination against student groups based on viewpoint, and speaker disinvitations.

Key Provisions

  • Protects faculty from being punished for speech in the classroom, unless the speech is both “not reasonably germane to the subject matter of the class as broadly construed and comprises a substantial portion of classroom instruction”;
  • Defines student-on-student harassment in a way that is consistent with the definition provided by the Supreme Court of the United States in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education;
  • Guarantees that open, outdoor areas of campus be free from “free speech zones” by barring them expressly and making technical improvements to the provision in SB 2320;
  • Prohibits public institutions from discriminating against student organizations based on professed viewpoint or requirements that leaders or voting members adhere to the organization’s sincerely held beliefs;
  • Requires that public institutions adopt content-neutral criteria for assessing security fees for speakers invited by students and student groups; and
  • Ensures students, student organizations, and faculty may invite guest speakers of their choice without the institution rescinding that invitation based on anticipated viewpoint or content of their speech.

FIRE Commentary on HB 1503

North Dakota enacts law ensuring colleges and universities fulfill their First Amendment obligations