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PEN America Launches Online Campus Free Speech Guide

PEN America, a non-profit free speech organization, has launched an online guide to promote free speech and inclusion on campuses.

Framed in response to recent debates on campus free speech controversies, the guide would help students, faculty, and administrators keep campuses open to different ideas especially the campus protests, hateful expression, discrimination and harassment, academic freedom, diversity, and inclusion.

Developed in coordination with university community members nationwide, the guide contains an updated version of PEN America’s Principles on Campus Free Speech.

“Together these sections contain advice for responding to speech-related controversies as well as guidance for proactive steps to avert such controversies and to nurture free speech and inclusion as essential parts of the campus climate,” PEN America said in a release.

It also includes various other resources including the collection of speech and inclusion policies, statements made by leaders on controversies, case studies among others.

In March, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to enforce free speech on college campuses across the country. The order allows 12 federal agencies to withhold federal research or education grants, excluding federal student aid funding, from colleges that practice censorship.

Since the order was signed, colleges and universities have been under increased pressure to not censure free speech.

In April, the Texas House of Representatives passed the House Bill 2100 to protect free speech at all higher education institutes within the state. Governors in Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Iowa have signed similar bills into laws in their respective states in the past as well.

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