Key Points
  • Free speech allows individual’s to use their own voice to ensure “We the People” would control their own destiny without government intrusion or interference.
  • Freedom of speech and inquiry are crucial in higher education. Universities exist to educate students and pursue knowledge.
  • Violating the privacy of individuals who choose to donate to nonprofit 501(c)(3)-designated organizations has the potential to chill free speech
  • It is imperative to empower consumers by protecting their right to receive truthful commercial information.

Freedom of speech is paramount for the American system of government and American culture. Born from revolution, American society has been created, evolved and progressed based in part, on the First Amendment. More specifically, free speech allows individual’s to use their own voice to ensure “We the People” would control their own destiny without government intrusion or interference.

Freedom of speech is not an isolated topic. Free speech and First Amendment law bleed into multiple public policy areas such as education, criminal justice, civic participation, health care, commerce and even technology.

The Center to Protect Free Speech focuses on three key areas: Campus speech, donor privacy, and commercial speech.

Campus Speech Freedom of speech and inquiry are crucial in higher education. Universities exist to educate students and pursue knowledge. As a “marketplace of ideas,” the university offers a forum for ideas to compete. This intellectual competition produces a level of academic rigor that is impossible to produce without freedom of speech for both students and professors. The Center will focus on three primary issues in higher education; two relating to professors/faculty and one related specifically to student speech on campus:

Academic Freedom – the right of the professor/faculty to determine the content of their instruction without fear of government intrusion, while at the same time ensure material is germane to the subject of the class.

Freedom to Research—Professors also need protection as they pursue research that may be unpopular or controversial. A common intimidation tactic of political activists is to submit Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests for professors’ private correspondence.

Student Speech – One of the main pillars of a higher education is to expose oneself to the “free market of ideas.” In order to do this, students must be exposed to new ideas and feel free to challenge agreed upon “truths.”

Donor Privacythe first amendment’s preservation of free speech and assembly encourages open public debate, which is essential to the proper function of American democracy; violating the privacy of individuals who choose to donate to nonprofit 501(c)(3)-designated organizations has the potential to chill free speech for fear of retribution and stifle subsequent participation in the political process.

Commercial Speech It is imperative to empower consumers by protecting their right to receive truthful commercial information, and the rights of businesses to engage in the free exchange of such truthful information.

Publications

  • shutterstock_1828287917-2

    Testimony on Donor Disclosure in Pennsylvania

    Jonathon Hauenschild, Director of the Communications & Technology Task Force, as well as a co-author of the amicus brief filed…
  • Screenshot 2021-03-26 115613

    Amicus Brief: AFP v. Baccera

    “Every American should be concerned about this type of detailed donor disclosure,” said ALEC CEO Lisa B. Nelson. She continued,…
+ All Free Speech Publications

Model Policies

  • Act to Adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism Draft

    Be it enacted by this legislative chamber: That this state adopts the non-legally binding Working Definition of Anti-Semitism adopted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) on May 26, 2016, including the contemporary examples of anti-Semitism set forth therein, exclusively as a tool and guide for training, education, recognizing, and…

  • Act to Prohibit Anti-Semitism in State K-20 Educational Institutions Draft

    Policy Be it enacted by the legislature of this state: Section 1. The relevant statute that prohibits discrimination in this state’s K-20 public education system shall include the following: (A) Discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, disability, religion, or marital status against a student…

  • First Amendment Preservation Act Draft

    SECTION 1 DEFINITIONS As used in this Code section, the term: (a) ‘Agency’ means any entity of this state, including any department, agency, division, council, bureau, board, commission, political subdivision, public corporation, primary or secondary educational institutions, university system, or authority. (b) ‘Company’ means any sole…

  • Free Speech in Higher Education Act Final

    WHEREAS, public universities and community colleges have an obligation to uphold students’ First Amendment rights of free speech; WHEREAS, the opportunity for disagreements, differences of opinion, and even heated arguments, unless threatening or otherwise unlawful, are vital to a climate of inquiry; WHEREAS, excessive or unreasonable security fees, student-on-student harassment,…

  • Resolution in Support of Congressional Law to Combat Government Pressuring of Social Media Platforms to Remove Speech Final

    WHEREAS, social media platforms are private businesses and if forced by the United States Government to carry or promote speech those actions by the United States Government should be exposed and investigated for potentially violations of civil and criminal law, WHEREAS, President Joe Biden said to social media platforms that…

  • Resolution in Opposition to Legislation Regulating Online Advocacy Final

    WHEREAS, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition; WHEREAS, the First Amendment’s preservation of free speech, press, assembly, and petition encourages the spread of information and open public debate, which is essential to a well-functioning democracy; WHEREAS,…

+ All Free Speech Model Policies

Task Forces

Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development

Members of the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development Task Force believe that economic freedom is the…

Criminal Justice

Currently, nearly one in every 100 American adults is behind bars and once released from prison…

Energy, Environment and Agriculture

The Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force operates under the principles of free-market environmentalism, that is…

Education and Workforce Development

The mission of the ALEC Education and Workforce Development Task Force is to promote excellence in…

Communications and Technology

With nearly 200 members representing all parts of the country and every segment of industry, the…

Civil Justice

The Civil Justice Task Force and its members are at the forefront of the efforts to…