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Morehead State to change free speech policies on campus - The Trail Blazer: News

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Morehead State to change free speech policies on campus

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Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2019 1:00 pm

After the free speech bill signed into law by Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin on March 26, Morehead State began preparations to comply. 

House Bill 254, which made specific “free speech zones” illegal on Kentucky campuses, will require MSU to allow free speech all across campus, rather than just in the free speech zone near the bell tower. Now, all of campus will be a free speech area, and speakers can speak wherever they’d like. 

“I think that [the bill] offers some clarity and points out that our whole campus can be a marketplace for discussion and debate, regardless of topic,” said MSU president Dr. Morgan. “It will assure that the university takes steps to protect the constitutional right of all students and others to discuss issues and have free, respectful exchange of thought, either in- or out- of classes.”

Changes will be coming over the next month, as MSU reviews current university policies and protocol. This will take some time, because some documents must be reviewed by MSU facility as well as Student Government Association members before anything can be set in stone. Once all policies are reviewed, the changes will be communicated to the campus community “electronically,” which House Bill 254 mandated. 

In the past, public speakers who have come to MSU’s campus have drawn in large crowds of students when their speech topics were controversial. Morgan says MSU will remain an open campus for debate. 

"The new statute will allow individuals to continue to come to campus to speak. We will continue to make an appropriate effort to make sure that all speakers are treated the same and have appropriate, reasonable access to our campus,” he said. “We know that some speakers do ignite controversial topics, from a lot of perspective and thought, however, we remain an open campus for debate and discussion of all types – we just want to try to make it respectful debate and discussion.”

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