Oklahoma has joined a small but growing number of states that have passed legislation guaranteeing free speech on public college campuses.
In March, President Donald Trump signed an executive order threatening the loss of federal funds for research schools that don't comply with First Amendment rights.
"Under the guise of 'speech codes' and 'safe spaces' and 'trigger warnings,' these universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity, and shut down the voices of great young Americans like those here today," Trump said at the signing. "All of that changes starting right now."
Attorney Zack Pruitt of Alliance Defending Freedom says the new law in Oklahoma reinforces that executive order.
"The executive order from President Trump was well-intentioned and can do a lot of good," the ADF legal counsel tells OneNewsNow. "It's still important, though, for states to set the parameters for their own universities just to make sure that individual student rights aren't being violated."
The law also ensures public universities in the Sooner State "continue to be places where intellectual diversity flourishes and both students and faculty are able to engage in the exchange of ideas rather than being censored on campus," Pruitt says in a press release.
The attorney points out, however, that any future administration could easily rescind Trump's executive order. "[That's why] it's important that states change their laws to make sure we protect student rights," he adds.
By signing the legislation (SB 361) at the end of April, Governor Kevin Stitt also abolished unconstitutional "free-speech zones" on Oklahoma's college campuses.