Lawmakers host discussion on campus free speech at Texas State University

Jan 31, 2018

10:30 a.m. update

Today’s hearing on campus free speech issues in Texas started with a declaration from State Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, the chairwoman of the panel hosting the discussion: “We need to put an end” to the blocking of free speech on campus, she said.

For a full story about Wednesday’s event, with reactions from Texas State students, visit


Political and social views at Texas State University range from well to the right to well to the left, and the school strives to accommodate all, the university’s president said Wednesday.

“My job is to ensure that those voices across the spectrum will be heard,” President Denise Trauth told the American-Statesman as a state legislative hearing on campus free speech issues hosted by the university was about to get underway.

BACKGROUND: Clashes at Texas colleges highlighted free speech issues in 2017 

Trauth said she herself has exercised free speech rights, such as when she sharply criticized a student’s opinion column that railed against whiteness. Letters to the student newspaper criticized her for either being too harsh or not harsh enough.

The hearing is being held by the Senate State Affairs Committee, which has been charged by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick with recommending “policy changes that protect First Amendment rights and enhance the free speech environment on campus.”

Trauth said Texas State establishes reasonable restrictions on the time, place and manner of outdoor speech in accordance with court rulings.

“I think the First Amendment and what the Supreme Court has ruled about the First Amendment is a pretty good guarantee of freedom of expression,” she said.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.