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Knoxville lawmaker: ISIS should be allowed to recruit at University of Tennessee

Published: Mar. 16, 2016 at 8:47 PM EDT
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Representative Martin Daniel (R-18th District) filed a bill regarding free speech on college campuses across Tennessee. House Bill 2063, entitled “The Tennessee Student Free Speech Protection Act,” would require that universities and colleges adopt policies that allow students to exercise their First Amendment rights on campus.

During a House Education Administration & Planning Subcommittee on Wednesday, Rep. Daniel said, "I'm not seeing a lot of encouragement to express one's self on college campuses in the state of Tennessee. I'm hearing a lot of 'Don't say this because it might offend someone'."

Rep. Daniel cited a rule at MTSU where he says the school requires a 5 day advance permit application to hand out literature of any kind. The representative from Knoxville continued by saying that the University of Tennessee encourages bias reporting. He said, "They have a web page devoted entirely to bias reporting. What is that? Do they have people sitting in a room somewhere taking in bias reporting incidents?"

On the University of Tennessee website it says the school is, "committed to providing students, faculty, staff, and campus visitors an environment that is safe, as well as civil, and one that encourages the exchange of ideas through discourse in every aspect of campus life. All members of the campus community are encouraged to report bias motivated incidents or crime."

In response to Rep. Daniel's presentation, Rep. John DeBerry said, "Should someone be able to stand in the market place or in the town square at University of Tennessee, University of Memphis... and recruit for ISIS?"

Rep. Daniel responded by saying, "Yes. So long as it doesn't disrupt the proceeding on that campus, yes sir. They can recruit people for any other organization or any other cause. I think it's just part of being exposed to differing viewpoints."

The House Education Administration & Planning Subcommittee chairman pulled HB2063 from the committee to give Rep. Daniel more time to work on the piece of legislation. Rep. Daniel originally asked for summer study of the bill.