Press Room

Tennessee Passes Campus Free Speech Protection Act: What’s Next for Higher Education?

May 30, 2017
Experts Available
Education, Free Speech

Washington, DC (May 30, 2017) — Earlier this month, Tennessee passed the Campus Free Speech Protection Act, which aims to ensure that “public institutions of higher education embrace a commitment to the freedom of speech and expression for all students and faculty.” This law, and similar bills and laws in 10 other states, bars free speech zones on public campuses, bans colleges from disinviting controversial speakers, and prohibits students and faculty from interfering with the free speech rights of others.

A First Amendment expert and Communication Studies scholar who has written a publicly accessible analysis is available to discuss the implications of the new Tennessee law for higher education institutions and the wave of similar legislation recently proposed in the wake of multiple campus controversies related to freedom of speech and expression. To consider:        

  • What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages for faculty and students at institutions where these laws have been proposed or are in effect?
  • What role does politics play in these new laws, considering that some were drafted by conservative think tanks?
  • What are some of the possible long-term impacts on higher education that may arise from these free speech protection laws?


Dustin A. Wood, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication Studies, Vanderbilt University

Wood’s teaching and research focuses on the First Amendment and religious communication.


To schedule an interview with Dr. Wood, please contact Jenna Sauber at or 202-534-1104.

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