free speech


Iowa’s universities need to learn important lesson about free speech

BY: - July 21, 2021

In recent years, Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa Legislature often agree on little. But they were nearly unanimous this spring in supporting an important piece of legislation — a bill requiring faculty and administrators at the state universities to go through training about the First Amendment and the rights it contains. Anyone skeptical of […]

Board of Regents moves forward on new free speech policies for Iowa universities

BY: - June 2, 2021

Iowa college students are going to see new training, resources and public commitments to the First Amendment when they return to school in the fall. The Board of Regents met with university provosts and administrators Wednesday to discuss new policies to protect free speech on campus. Beginning in the upcoming academic year, all three Regents […]


Winners in court can still be losers and the cost may be free expression

BY: - March 23, 2021

Many years ago, during a conversation with an old lawyer, he made a comment I still remember: “You can sue the bishop of Boston for bastardy, but that doesn’t mean you are going to collect.” It was Frank Karpan’s way of reminding a young editor that merely filing a lawsuit is not the most important […]


Standing up for free speech (unless it’s about white privilege or implicit bias)

BY: - March 22, 2021

Sales of dandruff shampoo should be spiking in Iowa after all the head-scratching over the latest adventures of the Iowa Legislature. There’s been a lot to puzzle over. Just last week, the Legislature gave final approval to a bill to make it legal for landlords in three Iowa cities to kick poor people out of […]

House passes controversial bill to ban ‘divisive concepts’ from school training, curriculum

BY: - March 16, 2021

The House passed two pieces of legislation Monday on free speech training in Iowa’s schools, including a controversial bill that would forbid certain “divisive concepts” from diversity training and curriculum. The first bill, House File 744, requires the Board of Regents to develop free speech training for faculty members and any individuals with student oversight. […]


GOP defenders of First Amendment stood by while press freedom was on trial

BY: - March 15, 2021

Iowa Republican lawmakers, as you’ve read in this space, have been so terribly concerned about the First Amendment this year that some are willing to destroy Iowa’s state universities and potentially harm business recruitment to make a point about free speech. Senators have passed legislation out of committee to eliminate tenure at state universities, even […]

Iowa Senate passes free-speech bill that restricts ‘divisive concepts’ in school training

BY: - March 8, 2021

The Iowa Senate passed a bill Monday that would require First Amendment training for public colleges. The bill also defines certain “divisive” concepts that may not be taught in schools, centered around the idea that no individual is inherently racist or sexist. Sen. Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, led floor debate on Senate File 478. She said […]

Iowa lawmakers focus on free speech on campuses, social media platforms

BY: - February 26, 2021

The Conservative Political Action Conference began Friday with a session called “Why the Left Hates the Bill of Rights … and We Love It.”  The four-day annual gathering of Republican politicians and activists started Thursday in Orlando, Florida. CPAC’s agenda included five events on free speech, including a Friday speech by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, […]

Free speech at Iowa colleges: Lawmakers review three 2020 incidents

BY: - February 3, 2021

Free speech on college campuses is once again under the microscope of Iowa’s Republican lawmakers.  Administrators from Iowa’s three regent universities met with a committee of lawmakers Tuesday to discuss free speech failings on campus. In each case, a conservative student or group felt their free speech rights were limited by fellow students, professors or […]

he State Capital of Iowa is reflected by the Henry A Wallace Building

Good goal, bad bill: Legislation to protect ‘political ideology’ is deeply flawed

BY: - February 1, 2021

Should the Republican Party of Iowa be prohibited from discrimination against Democrats in its hiring practices? Should the NRA’s local chapter be forced to hire a gun-control advocate who otherwise qualifies for the job? Should presidential candidates running in the Iowa caucuses run afoul of the law if they insist on hiring only staff who […]

Lawmakers consider including ‘political ideology’ under Iowa Civil Rights Act

BY: - January 27, 2021

Iowa Republican lawmakers say they are confronting “cancel culture” with a proposal to make political ideology a protected class under the Iowa Civil Rights Act. “The woke culture philosophy of intolerance and hatred, of demanding all must agree, I think is profoundly dangerous and disturbing in our country,” Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison said. “That is […]


Let’s clear up needless confusion about the First Amendment

BY: - January 23, 2021

Forty-five words that were first written with a quill pen 230 years ago form what may be the most consequential sentence in United States history. But that sentence also is one of the most misunderstood — as recent comments from some of our leaders illustrate. The sentence I refer to is the First Amendment. It […]