UW regents approve free speech resolution

University of Wisconsin System leaders have approved a resolution re-affirming their commitment to free speech as a bill that would punish students who disrupt campus speakers works its way through the Legislature.

The Republican bill would require the Board of Regents to suspend or expel students if they receive complaints about the students’ conduct during a speech or presentation. The board also would have to adopt a policy calling for system schools to remain neutral on public controversies. Democrats have decried the bill, saying it would chill free speech.

The resolution states regents and system officials will be committed to freedom of speech as they review policies to ensure every campus offers an environment for civil discussions.

The regents adopted the resolution on a unanimous voice vote Friday.