LRB-3385/2
MDK:klm&wlj
2017 - 2018 LEGISLATURE
July 14, 2017 - Introduced by Representatives Jarchow, Tittl, Kleefisch and
Tusler, cosponsored by Senators Vukmir, Lasee, Nass, Craig and Stroebel.
Referred to Committee on Colleges and Universities.
AB440,1,3 1An Act to create 36.02 and 38.05 of the statutes; relating to: free speech at the
2University of Wisconsin and technical college systems and granting
3rule-making authority.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill creates statutory requirements and prohibitions regarding free speech
at the University of Wisconsin and technical college systems. The bill declares that
it is not the role of a UW institution or technical college to shield individuals from
speech that is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The bill
imposes requirements throughout both systems, including the following: 1)
students, faculty, and staff have the right to assemble and engage in expressive
activity; 2) the campuses are open to any speaker who is invited by students, faculty,
or staff; 3) the public areas of campuses are traditional public forums; 4)
administrators must remain neutral on public policy controversies; 5)
administrators in their official capacity may not require students, faculty, or staff to
express specified viewpoints as a condition of employment or a course requirement;
and 6) any person lawfully present on campus is allowed to protest or demonstrate.
The bill also requires administrators to make all reasonable efforts and make
available all reasonable resources to ensure the safety of individuals invited to speak
on campuses. If administrators determine that they cannot ensure an individual's
safety, the bill requires that the individual must be allowed to speak in spite of that
determination. The bill prohibits any protest or demonstration that infringes on the
rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity and requires

administrators to sanction individuals who violate that prohibition. The bill also
prohibits a person from making a true threat, as defined in the bill, against a speaker.
The bill requires the UW Board of Regents and Technical College System Board
to promulgate rules establishing a disciplinary process for students, faculty, and
staff who violate the bill or engage in conduct that inhibits free speech. The rules
must include disciplinary sanctions specified in the bill. Finally, the bill provides
that it shall not be construed to prohibit the Board of Regents, a UW institution, the
TCS Board, or a technical college district from regulating speech or activities that are
prohibited by law or that substantially disrupt the functioning of a UW institution
or technical college.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB440,1 1Section 1. 36.02 of the statutes is created to read:
AB440,2,4 236.02 Free speech. (1) Declaration of policy. It is not the role of a university
3or college campus to shield individuals from speech that is protected by the First
4Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
AB440,2,9 5(2) Definition. In this section, “true threat” means a statement by a speaker
6that the speaker would reasonably foresee that a listener would reasonably interpret
7as a serious expression of a purpose to inflict harm, as distinguished from hyperbole,
8jest, innocuous talk, expressions of political views, or other speech that is similarly
9protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
AB440,2,11 10(3) Requirements and prohibitions. All of the following apply throughout the
11system:
AB440,2,1312 (a) Students, faculty, and academic and university staff have the right to
13assemble and engage in expressive activity.
AB440,2,1514 (b) The campuses are open to any speaker who is invited by students, faculty,
15or academic or university staff.
AB440,2,1616 (c) The public areas of campuses are traditional public forums.
AB440,3,3
1(d) University and college campus administrators in their official capacity may
2not require students, faculty, or academic or university staff to express specified
3viewpoints as a condition of employment or a course requirement.
AB440,3,44 (e) Any person lawfully present on campus may protest or demonstrate.
AB440,3,75 (f) University and college campus administrators shall make all reasonable
6efforts and make available all reasonable resources to ensure the safety of
7individuals invited to speak on campuses.
AB440,3,118 (g) University and college campus administrators shall notify an individual
9invited to speak on campus if the administrators determine that they cannot ensure
10the individual's safety and shall allow the individual to speak on campus in spite of
11that determination.
AB440,3,1612 (h) Any protest or demonstration that infringes on the rights of others to engage
13in or listen to expressive activity is prohibited and university and college campus
14administrators shall sanction individuals who violate that prohibition. This
15paragraph does not prohibit faculty and academic staff from maintaining order in a
16classroom.
AB440,3,1817 (i) No person may make a true threat toward any speaker on campus or any
18speaker invited to attend a campus event.
AB440,3,20 19(4) Discipline. (a) The Board of Regents shall promulgate rules that establish
20all of the following:
AB440,3,2221 1. A disciplinary process for students, faculty, and academic and university
22staff who violate sub. (3) or engage in conduct that inhibits free speech.
AB440,3,2523 2. A process allowing any individual to complain to a university or college
24campus that his, her, or any other individual's free speech rights have been or will
25be inhibited.
AB440,4,2
1(b) The rules promulgated under par. (a) 1. shall include the following
2disciplinary sanctions for students:
AB440,4,33 1. A written reprimand.
AB440,4,44 2. Denial of specified university or college campus privileges.
AB440,4,55 3. Payment of restitution.
AB440,4,66 4. Educational or service sanctions, including community service.
AB440,4,77 5. Disciplinary probation.
AB440,4,88 6. Imposition of reasonable terms and conditions on continued student status.
AB440,4,99 7. Removal from a course in progress.
AB440,4,1010 8. Enrollment restrictions on a course or program.
AB440,4,1111 9. Suspension.
AB440,4,1212 10. Expulsion.
AB440,4,1413 (c) The rules promulgated under par. (a) 1. shall include the following
14disciplinary sanctions for faculty or academic or university staff:
AB440,4,1515 1. A written reprimand.
AB440,4,1616 2. Reduction in salary or rank.
AB440,4,1717 3. Suspension.
AB440,4,1818 4. Dismissal.
AB440,4,22 19(5) Construction. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the
20Board of Regents or a university or college campus from regulating speech or
21activities that are prohibited by law or that substantially disrupt the functioning of
22a university or college campus.
AB440,2 23Section 2. 38.05 of the statutes is created to read:
AB440,5,3
138.05 Free speech. (1) Declaration of policy. It is not the role of a technical
2college to shield individuals from speech that is protected by the First Amendment
3of the U.S. Constitution.
AB440,5,5 4(2) Definition. In this section, “true threat” has the meaning given in s. 36.02
5(1m).
AB440,5,7 6(3) Requirements and prohibitions. All of the following apply throughout the
7technical college system:
AB440,5,98 (a) Students, faculty, and staff have the right to assemble and engage in
9expressive activity.
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