The University of Wisconsin approved a controversial policy over the weekend, outlining the campus’s restrictions regarding protesting students and saying those who “disrupt campus speeches” will be disciplined and possibly expelled.
According to the Associated Press, the university’s leadership announced the new measures on Friday, saying they would suspend and expel students who commit multiple violations of the school’s free speech policies.
The new rules state that students who “disrupt” free speech rallies or events will be suspended after their second offense, and expelled if caught protesting three times; urging faculty members and the student body to experience “all sides” of the political debate.
“Perhaps the most important thing we can do as a university is to teach students how to engage and listen to those with whom they differ,” said President Ray Cross. “If we don’t show students how to do this, who will? Without civil discourse and a willingness to listen and engage with different voices, all we are doing is reinforcing our existing values.”
The school’s decision comes after months of student protests at the University of California at Berkeley over conservative and right-wing speeches and rallies; with many protests turning violent. The demonstrations prompted calls from conservatives around the country to gain equal access to University speaking tours as their liberal counterparts.
Liberals on the campus are calling the guidelines “restrictive,” saying the new policy will “suppress free speech.”
“Who’s going to show up to a protest if they think they could be potentially expelled?” asked Democratic State Rep. Chris Taylor, whose district includes the school’s campus.