Epoch Times: As part of an ongoing nationwide backlash against politically correct restrictions on free speech in higher education institutions, a new “campus intellectual diversity” law in South Dakota that takes effect July 1 will require the state’s universities to respect free speech rights, promote intellectual diversity, and submit annual reports detailing their efforts.
According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), 17 states have enacted campus free speech protections. Critics say some of the protections lack adequate enforcement mechanisms.
The most recent bill to be signed, as opposed to implemented, is Texas Senate Bill 18, which Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed into law earlier this month. Although the bill “falls short by failing to provide any mechanism for individuals or the state attorney general’s office to enforce the rights provided in the bill if a school is not in compliance,” FIRE said it was “cautiously optimistic that institutions will comply.”
Supporters are optimistic that the new South Dakota law will help to foster true intellectual diversity, as opposed to what they decry as the left-wing multiculturalist version of diversity that treats all cultures as equal and pressures students to conform.
The new law, known as HB 1087, prevents colleges from creating so-called free speech zones that limit free speech to a specific area on campus and requires the South Dakota Board of Regents, which administers the state’s six public universities, to file with the governor and state lawmakers a report each year identifying “events or occurrences” that hinder intellectual diversity.