- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2017

Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos and other controversial figures would be welcomed to speak at colleges in Tennessee if the state legislature approves a bill proposed by Republican lawmakers this week.

State Rep. Martin Daniel and Sen. Joey Hensley introduced the “Tennessee Freedom of Speech on College Campus Bill” on Thursday in an effort to prevent schools from adopting policies that “shield individuals from ideas and opinions considered unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive.”

“Campus free speech is being challenged by restrictive speech codes; speaker bans and disinvites; … safe spaces and trigger warnings; and administrators who feel pressured to placate demonstrators,” Mr. Daniel said at a press conference Thursday where he introduced the bill, The Huffington Post reported.

“We just want to ensure that our public universities give all students the right to free expression,” Mr. Hensley said, according to Breitbart. 

Dubbed the “Milo bill,” the proposal was introduced after Mr. Yiannopoulos’ recent college speaking engagements were plagued by protests — some which descended into riots — and cancellations.

An event at the University of California, Davis, last month was canceled over safety concerns just moments before he was slated to take the stage, and protests held in response to a similar event scheduled for UC Berkeley this month erupted into a fiery rampage.

Organizers of the canceled Berkeley event claimed afterwards their right to free speech “was silenced by criminals and thugs,” and President Trump responded on Twitter by threatening to withhold federal funds from the school.

“We don’t want this happening in Tennessee, what happened in California,” Mr. Hensley said Thursday.

Public universities “have abdicated their responsibility to uphold free speech principles, and these failures make it appropriate for all state institutions of higher education to restate and confirm their commitment in this regard,” his bill reads in part.

“Too many times we’ve seen classrooms where the professor doesn’t want to hear both sides of an issue, we’ve heard stories from many students that, honestly, are on the conservative side that have those issues stifled in the classroom. We just want to ensure our public universities allow all types of speech,” Mr. Hensley said Thursday.

Mr. Yiannopoulos, whom detractors have accused of peppering his talks with hate speech, applauded the lawmakers’ proposal in a prepared statement.

“We are winning the war. And we will continue to win as long as students, and now defenders of free speech within the government, stand up to ivory tower intellectuals and left-wing administrators intent on shutting up any speech they don’t find convenient,” he said.

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