Lt. Governor Dan Patrick wants the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee to look into whether there is evidence of infringement of free speech rights on state funded college campuses.
The question was partially inspired by student protests which led to Texas Southern University canceling a scheduled speech by Republican State Rep. Briscoe Cain because the event was not sanctioned by the school.
“State lawmakers cannot take away anybody's First Amendment free speech rights obviously, but they can supplement those rights and they can try to clarify those rights,” says Charles "Rocky" Rhodes at South Texas College of Law Houston.
He says that includes both state funded and private schools.
“As long as you comply with the requirements of the First Amendment for both the individuals who are giving the speeches and the protesters have some First Amendment rights as well and as long as you respect those, the state is able to come up with laws to show how we're going to deal with these circumstances in the future,” he says.
“There are some real troubling indications that students today don't want to hear any message they disagree with, but that's the very core of the First Amendment.”
TSU did invite Cain to come back at a later time, but there's no word yet if he has accepted the invitation.