FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/16/2013
REP. MATT KRAUSE SECURES PASSAGE OF AN AMENDMENT TO PROTECT COLLEGE STUDENTS’ RIGHTS
Austin, TX - Yesterday, Rep. Matt Krause led a fight on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives to protect the 1st Amendment rights of speech and association for college students. Rep. Krause successfully passed an amendment to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s sunset bill that included a provision preventing universities from implementing a policy which requires student organizations to accept for membership any student on campus.
"My amendment secured the rights of all student organizations, holding any beliefs and advocating for any position, hobby, or lifestyle, to assemble peaceably on a college campus and not have their ability to do so undermined by overreaching university policy,” said Rep. Matt Krause. “College campuses should be a place where students are free to come together for a specific, stated purpose and advocate for that purpose without interference from students who have subversive or divisive intent.”
The language of the amendment was adapted from a bill that Rep. Krause worked through the Higher Education committee, but did not see the House floor. The committee heard testimony that a Christian fraternity was hassled by two public universities during the last academic year because of their faith-based requirements for membership. While both issues were eventually settled, it is evidence that the growing trend of interfering with students’ 1st Amendment rights is finding its way to Texas.
"There has been a lot of mis- and dis-information about my amendment," continued Rep. Krause. "My amendment treats all student organizations neutrally and ensures that we have strong, vibrant groups on our campus advocating a diversity of ideas and competing in the marketplace of ideas."
Universities would still retain the right to choose which student groups they recognize on campus, but once recognized, the university may not require that organization to accept for membership a student who demonstrates opposition to the organization's stated beliefs and purposes, or whose membership in the organization would affect in a significant way the organization's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints, or whose membership is designed for the subversive intent of undermining the organization's ability to assemble for its stated purposes.
Contact: Elliott Griffin