A proposal that would require all law schools to adopt free speech policies is one step closer to approval.
The American Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, which the U.S. Education Department recognizes as the sole and independent accreditor of law schools, unanimously voted Friday to send the proposal to the ABA’s House of Delegates for final approval in February, according to Reuters.
The proposal would require all law schools to approve written policies that protect the rights of faculty, students and staff to express controversial or unpopular ideas as well as forbid any conduct that limits free expression. While many law schools already have free speech policies, the proposed requirement would raise the stakes of enforcement because any school found out of compliance would have to answer to its accreditor.
The advancement of the proposal, which has been in the works since 2021, comes after multiple instances of students shouting down controversial speakers at law schools, including at Stanford University last spring. Debates over free speech on campus have further intensified this fall amid student protests over the Israel-Hamas War.