North Carolina legislators could soon be taking on campus hecklers in the battle over free speech at the state’s public colleges and universities


EMERY P. DALESIO | Associated Press | US News and World Report | April 27, 2016

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Hecklers who shout down speakers on North Carolina’s college campuses could be punished under a proposal being floated before lawmakers that would make this state the newest battleground over free speech at U.S. universities.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest is proposing that the state’s 17-campus public university system create a policy that includes punishments for “those who interrupt the free expression of others.” With their annual legislative session opening this week, North Carolina lawmakers are expected to join a half-dozen states that have taken up free-speech legislation for public campuses.

Freedom of speech has become contentious on campuses nationwide. Some students have complained against free expression they say is stoking racial tensions or glossing over sexual misconduct. Others say that amounts to suppressing speech.

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