Enacted Campus Free Speech Statutes – Ohio

In 2020, Ohio enacted SB 40.

SB 40 summary

SB 40 prohibits free speech zones and mandates that harassment policies do not restrict constitutionally-protected expression at public institutions of higher education.

Key provisions

  • Prohibits public institutions of higher education from quarantining student expression into “free speech zones”;
  • Requires institutions define 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;
  • Requires that public institutions adopt content-neutral criteria for assessing security fees for speakers invited by students and student groups; 
  • Requires public institutions to train relevant faculty in the institution’s free expression policies and procedures; and
  • Mandates public institutions provide a public report to Ohio’s governor, speaker of the house of representatives, and president of the senate detailing “any barriers to or incidents of disruption of free expression occurring on campus” and requires a supplementary report if the institution is sued for an alleged violation of expressive rights. 

FIRE commentary

Ohio campus free speech bill deserves a final vote and Gov. DeWine’s signature