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Public university asks students how they’d like to restrict speech on campus

Free speech may soon be a luxury on the University of Kentucky’s campus after the school’s student government surveyed the university community on how much they’d like to restrict the First Amendment through free speech zones

Free speech may soon be a luxury on the University of Kentucky’s campus after the school’s student government surveyed the university community on how much they’d like to restrict the First Amendment through free speech zones. 

In an emailed survey to students, UK’s student government asked students to choose their preferred free speech policy for the university’s public campus.

Students could choose between a “single designated free speech zone in a specific location on campus,” or “multiple designated free speech zones in various locations across campus.” Students could also choose “no preference.”

According to the email obtained by Campus Reform, the survey was distributed in an effort by the student government “to improve our campus and community.” The survey also asked students about other issues such as campus sexual assault and students’ use of cabs.

“The sole purpose and substance of Student Government is to advocate and protect students’ rights as it is listed in the preamble of the student government constitution,” Michael Frazier, a junior philosophy, political science, and economics major at UK told Campus Reform. “The question as presented on the language of the survey strongly suggests a violation to the University of Kentucky’s Student Government’s purpose and Constitution, but more importantly the Constitution of the United States of America as set by common law precedent and example.”

“These careless actions are disrespectful towards its own purpose and an embarrassing abdication of the responsibilities charged to Student Government as they serve at the privilege of the students,” Frazier said.

Frazier said the survey was developed by UK’s student government and was approved by the faculty advisor. Students who took the survey could win lower-level basketball tickets or $250 scholarships.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has given UK a yellow light rating for its free speech. According to FIRE, a yellow light rating means the school has at least one ambiguous speech policy.

Last year, a UK survey distributed from the University Health Services asked straight students if they viewed homosexuality as a sin, and asked LGBT-identifying students if they would be straight if they could.

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