Rep. Bob Goodlatte Tells 160 Colleges to Change their Speech Policies to Comply with the First Amendment

August 21, 2015

By Meghan Keenan at Red Alert Politics

House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) sent a letter to 160 colleges with “restrictive” speech codes, giving them until the end of next week to respond with plans to change their policies.

“We write to ask what steps your institution plans to take to promote free and open expression on it campus(es), including any steps towards bringing your speech policies in accordance with the First Amendment,” the letter reads.

Goodlatte targeted the 160 colleges that received a “red light” rating in the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s recent report entitled, “Spotlight on Speech Codes.”

55 percent of the colleges surveyed by FIRE received a “red light” rating on their speech policies, meaning the institution has “at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

President and CEO of FIRE, Greg Lukianoff, testified at a recent hearing of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, saying speech codes “have repeatedly been struck down by federal and state courts,” but continue to be enforced by the majority of American colleges and universities, even where they have been ruled unconstitutional...