AUSTIN, Texas -- College campuses are places to challenge thought, and even create new ways of thinking, but some conservative groups have recently complained they're not able to practice free speech.
- Legislation aims to protect free speech
- Woud allow it anywhere outdoors on campus
- Students must not distrupt functionality of campus
It's led state lawmakers, and even the President, to weigh in.
Trump recently signed an executive order protecting conservative ideas on campuses, and state lawmakers have filed several bills on the issue. The legislation aims to allow free speech anywhere outdoor on campus as long as a student isn’t breaking the law or disrupting the functionality of the institution.
Students on the University of Texas at Austin campus call free speech a valued right.
"We should give the opportunity to open the floor to discussion and maybe some arguments." -- UT student.
But Alex Stairs and her friend Maria-Paula Munoz can admit a divisive political climate takes a toll on free-speech.
"Austin is much more liberal and forward looking, or at least we like to think so. I do think it's probably tough for certain people who don't share certain opinions to feel part of the conversation," said Stairs.
Rep. Brisco Cain, R-Deer Park, said his right to free speech was violated on a college campus after he said he was told he was cleared to take a stage at Texas Southern University in 2017.
"Flyers printed, a room reserved, they'd given me a parking pass," said Cain.
Cain was invited by a conservative student group, but when he arrived, a protest broke out and university officials halted the speech saying it was an "unapproved event."
"We've been seeing this really across the country on the college campuses and I think it's a dangerous thing that while we can disagree on the content of people's speeches, not letting them talk does an injury to not only the college campus but to our government, our country," said Cain.
While Stairs said her political values don't align with the Cain’s she believes he had the right to take the stage.
"That just shows closed-mindedness and the lack of interest in understanding where someone else might be coming from," said Stairs.
Click the video link above to watch our interview with Austin-based First Amendment attorney JT Morris.