Critics say Missouri free speech bill would limit speech

Counterprotesters gathered in response to a self-described free speech rally being held in Boston. Organizers for the Boston event are trying to distance themselves from the Charlottesville rally, saying they've invited "libertarians, conservatives, traditionalists" and more.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. –  Critics say a Missouri bill aimed at protecting student free speech on college campuses would also limit professors’ speech.

At issue is a bill by Republican Rep. Dean Dohrman to ban what are known as “free speech zones” for student expression. It calls for colleges and universities to adopt free speech policies.

The legislation also warns faculty not to talk about unrelated issues in their classes. The bill says professors couldn’t be punished unless they discuss topics that are “not reasonably germane” for a substantial portion of class.

The Columbia Missourian reports that Dohrman says that could mean professors risk being fired. He says the point is to discourage faculty from discussing issues unrelated to their classes.

But Democratic Rep. Ian Mackey says restricting faculty speech contradicts the bill’s purpose.

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