On Friday, April 3, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a first-of-its-kind bill that effectively designates all outdoor areas on Virginia public campuses as public forums. This has the practical effect of not allowing campus speech to be quarantined into ‘free speech zones.’ I wrote a column announcing the news over at The Huffington Post:
Students in Virginia might be surprised to know that the open areas on campus were not already public forums, but the Virginia state legislature has made it official. The bill, authored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, passed both houses of the Virginia General Assembly unanimously. My organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), urged the passage of the bill, and FIRE’s own Joe Cohn testified on behalf of the legislation in hearings in both legislative houses.
I have written about the problem of “free speech zones” on campus many times before. For a little primer in FSZs, check out this video about how some libertarian students in Ohio stood up to and defeated one such zone: