Campus Free Speech Statutes

Enacted Campus Free Speech Statutes – Oklahoma

In 2019, Oklahoma enacted SB 361, now Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 2120. In 2022, Oklahoma enacted HB 3543, amending Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 70, § 2120.

SB 361 Summary

SB 361 is a campus free speech bill that prohibits institutions from quarantining student speech to misleadingly labeled“free speech zones,” and adopts the United States Supreme Court definition of harassment.

Key Provisions

  • Defines student-on-student harassment consistent with the United States Supreme Court standard in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education
  • Declares that the outdoor areas of campuses are public forums and prevents institutions from creating “free speech zones”; 
  • Requires institutions to inform students of free speech regulations and expectations during orientation programs; 
  • Mandates colleges and universities publish a report to the governor and legislature describing any barriers to or incidents of disruption of free expression occurring on campus; and
  • Provides a cause of action for students and student organizations if rights provided by the bill are violated by an employee of a public college or university.

FIRE Commentary

Oklahoma is the latest state victory against campus speech codes

HB 3543 Summary

HB 3543 is a campus free speech bill that establishes the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. This committee is charged with monitoring free expression policies at Oklahoma’s public institutions of higher education.

Key Provisions

  • Establishes the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education;
  • Instructs the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee to review the free speech policies of Oklahoma public universities;
  • Requires public colleges and universities to ​​publish contact information on their websites for reporting free speech concerns to the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee and directs the committee itself to “develop a process of collecting complaints of free speech violations on public university campuses and advise complainants of their rights”; and
  • Directs the Oklahoma Free Speech Committee to “either develop a First Amendment training or approve of an outside First Amendment training that shall be required for all college deans, heads of departments, and individuals responsible for establishing university free speech policies or handling free speech complaints.”

FIRE Commentary

Oklahoma forms ‘Free Speech Committee’ to guard against campus censorship