The University of Wisconsin enacted a campus-wide policy on Friday that punishes students for interrupting speeches and presentations, the Associated Press reports.
University leaders announced that students who disrupt events will face suspension or expulsion, the news outlet writes.
Under the newly approved policy, students who disrupt or obstruct the free speech of others on campus twice will be suspended. Those who commit this offense a third time will be removed from the school. After the rule was voted on by University of Wisconsin leaders on Friday, the Board of Regents put it into effect.
The university’s system president Ray Cross told the Associated Press that this policy will encourage students to listen to the perspectives of others.
“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,” Cross said, adding that “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.”
According to the outlet, the policy was passed after several conservatives claimed that their campus appearances took a turn for the worse after students disrupted them. While Republicans praise the measure, others expressed opposition.
According to the news outlet, state public schools superintendent Tony Evers said the policy will “suppress free speech on this campus and all campuses.” Others criticized the policy for not clearly defining what being “disruptive” means.
Savion Castro, a senior at the university, told the Associated Press that this policy violates the First Amendment. “The whole point of protest is to disrupt the status quo and make people uncomfortable,” Castro said.
This policy comes after former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro’s University of Wisconsin-Madison visit went awry in 2016, the news outlet said. Earlier this year President Donald Trump threatened to pull funding from UC Berkeley after the institution canceled Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit due to student backlash.
SOURCE: Associated Press