Abbott issues executive order for colleges to revise free speech policies

The order requires schools to discipline “antisemitic” speech.

By Alexandra HartMarch 29, 2024 12:26 pm, ,

Gov. Greg Abbott this week issued an executive order requiring higher education institutions in Texas to punish what he says is a “sharp rise in antisemitic speech and acts on university campuses.”

“Texas supports free speech, especially on university campuses, but that freedom comes with responsibilities for both students and the institutions themselves,” he wrote in Wednesday’s order.

“There have been lots of different incidents where protesters, upset about how Israel has waged war in the manner that it has, have shown up at administrators offices, you know, uninvited,” said Matthew Watkins, managing editor for news and politics at the Texas Tribune. “There is a lot of concern about antisemitism in some of these protests, whether it’s signs or chants that people feel are making Jewish students, professors feel unsafe”

Some free speech groups are concerned about the ramifications. The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression told the Texas Tribune that the order may punish students for “core political speech,” including criticism of Israel’s tactics.

For more stories from this week in Texas politics, listen in the audio player above.