Georgia law prohibits ‘free speech zones’ in public colleges


Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on Tuesday signed a bill that eliminates existing “free speech zones” on college campuses and designates all public forums as unrestricted outdoor spaces for institutions that are part of the University and technical system of Georgia.

“Free speech is one of the fundamental freedoms of this great nation,” Kemp said in a press release from his office. “Here in Georgia, we will protect those rights and what befits any place of higher learning – the ability to learn different ideas.”

The bill is known as the Building Open and Strong Academic Minds Act. Georgia is the 22nd state to ban free-speech zones, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

The FORUM law was not without opposition; some supporters have argued that this would allow extremists to come onto campus. A group of lawmakers have described it as one of the few “ugly” bills to pass in the 2022 legislative session. The FORUM Act comes from model legislation put forward by the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization nonprofit conservative that frequently shapes state policy across the United States when members introduce bills drafted or heavily influenced by ALEC.

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