Virginia bill tests First Amendment waters to protect students’ speech

February 3, 2014

by Bob Kellogg

A Virginia lawmaker has proposed legislation to eliminate the onerous "free speech zones" on public college campuses that have frustrated the First Amendment rights of students.

Virginia Delegate Scott Lingamfelter is sponsoring a bill to prohibit the state's public universities from confining student speech to small or remote areas.

Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, says the organization is watching the Virginia bill. He recalls a student at Modesta Junior College in California was told he could pass out copies of the U.S. Constitution – but only in a so-called "free speech zone...