Campus Free Speech Statutes

Enacted Campus Free Speech Statutes – Utah

Utah has passed two bills concerning campus free speech. In 2017, Utah enacted H.B. 54, now Utah Code Ann. § 53B-27-2. In 2021, Utah enacted H.B. 159.

H.B. 54 Summary

H.B. 54 eliminates policies that quarantine speech to misleadingly labeled “free speech zones.”

Key Provisions

  • Prohibits public institutions from quarantining speech with “free speech zones”; and
  • Creates a cause of action allowing the attorney general or an aggrieved party to file a lawsuit to enforce their rights under the statute.

FIRE Commentary

None

H.B. 159 Summary

H.B. 159 prohibits unconstitutionally overbroad anti-harassment policies, requires the publication of an institution’s free speech policies, and creates a cause of action for the attorney general to enforce the statute.

Key Provisions

  • 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;
  • Requires an institution to publish and publicize its free expression policies;
  • Creates a cause of action allowing the attorney general to file a lawsuit to enforce rights under the statute.

FIRE Commentary

Utah enacts law ensuring campus anti-harassment policies respect First Amendment rights