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Enacted Campus Free Speech Statutes – West Virginia

US Capitol Building

In 2021, West Virginia enacted SB 657.

SB 657 Summary

SB 657 prohibits overbroad anti-harassment policies and policies that quarantine speech to misleadingly labeled “free speech zones.”

Key Provisions

  • Prohibits public institutions from quarantining speech with “free speech zones”;
  • 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;
  • Prohibits viewpoint discrimination in the distribution and awarding of benefits and privileges to student organizations;
  • Requires an institution to “develop materials to educate the campus community on the institution’s free speech policies” and publish those policies; and
  • Creates a cause of action allowing a “person or student organization” to file a lawsuit to enforce their rights under the statute.

FIRE Commentary on SB 657

Flawed bill to protect campus free speech signed into law in West Virginia; FIRE urges fixes