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Assemblymembers Kiley and Quirk Introduce Free Speech on Campus Act

Sacramento, Calif. – Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R – Rocklin) and Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D – Hayward) introduced AB 2374, the Free Speech on Campus Act of 2018.

The bill requires California community colleges and state universities to create and disseminate statements that affirm the importance of free expression, and to provide opportunities for teaching the history and value of the First Amendment.

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The legislation was developed in consultation with Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law. The bill was also informed by conversations with Howard Gillman, Chancellor of UC Irvine. His and Dean Chemerinsky’s recently published book, Free Speech on Campus, argues that universities must provide supportive learning environments that also guarantee robust protections for freedom of expression.

“The Free Speech on Campus Act recognizes that an understanding of fundamental principles of free expression cannot be taken for granted,” Dean Chemerinsky said. “Through educational programming, universities can help foster an appreciation for the history and value of free speech, and why it is essential to democratic government and academic freedom.”

The introduction of the Free Speech on Campus Act follows last year’s unanimous passage of legislation by Assemblyman Kiley and Quirk endorsing two free speech statements: the Statement on Academic Freedom by the Chancellor of UC Irvine and the Chicago Statement on Free Expression.

“The Act builds on my and Assemblyman Quirk’s ongoing efforts to protect and promote campus free speech,” Assemblyman Kiley said.  “We are now calling on California universities to create free speech statements of their own, and to ensure that students understand the vital importance of free speech to academic inquiry and debate.”

“Freedom of speech is essential to freedom of thought; it is essential to democratic government; and it is the indispensable element of every other freedom we enjoy,” Chancellor Gillman said. “It is vital that today’s students understand and appreciate the importance of having a safe and inclusive learning environment where any idea can be expressed, evaluated, contested and engaged.”

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley represents the 6th Assembly District, which includes parts of El Dorado, Placer, and Sacramento counties. Assemblyman Quirk represents the 20th Assembly District, which includes parts of Alameda County.

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