Academic Bill of Rights legislation introduced to Senate

From staff reports

The chairwoman of the state Senate Higher Education Committee introduced a bill yesterday which states that public colleges restrict free speech in an environment where it is important for differing opinions to be heard.

Bill 5832 is complementary to a bill previously introduced to the House by Rep. Matt Manweller (R). Both bills focus on the creation of an academic Bill of Rights for the state’s college campuses.

According to the Senate bill, “the Legislature finds that free speech is one of the most important values protected by the federal and state constitutions.”

“These restrictions must allow members of the institution community to spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble,” according to Bill 5832, “as long as the person’s conduct is not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the orderly operation of the institution.”

Much like its complementary House bill, Bill 5832 also deals with the subject of college professor trigger warnings, which the bill would leave in place along with the subjects of disciplinary harassment, retaliation for expression, whistleblowing and student rights in disciplinary proceedings.

Wilson most recently passed another “Bill of Rights,” Senate Bill 5230 on Feb. 15, her first Senate bill to pass through the chamber and onto the House.

Bill 5230, which had strong bipartisan support, would provide more information and improve information flow to small business owners, specifically what the rights of a small business owner are when being audited by a state agent, according to the Senate Republican Newsletter.

“As a small business owner, I understand the impact decisions made in Olympia can have in Southwest Washington,” Wilson said on her official website. “It is a great honor to serve this district, and I’m proud that my first bill passed in the Senate will make a real difference for small business owners across the country.”

The newly introduced Bill 5832 for an academic Bill of Rights will now head to the Senate Higher Education Committee for debate and possible revision.

Reporting by Tyler Watson