The University of Wisconsin Associated Students of Madison met Wednesday to vote on the “Hate Speech isn’t Free,” but ultimately decided to postpone the vote until their next meeting Feb. 21.
The bill said UW’s response to the circulation of a video of a UW student using racist slurs last spring, which emphasized that hate speech is protected speech “did not go far enough to condemn the racist use of free speech,” according to the bill.
It also calls on UW to remove and address the phrase “Hate speech is free speech,” which was added to fall 2023 SOAR materials and “On Wisconsin.”
“It makes it look like the university condones hate speech and actively wants to allow it on campus,” ASM Diverse Engagement Coordinator and Secretary Jess Harlan said. “It talks about … how people should be expecting to almost hear that kind of speech, and that’s something that everyone has to deal with.”
Through this bill, ASM asks UW to create and implement policies surrounding hate speech, clearly demonstrating that UW does not condone hate speech.
It also urges UW to establish a restorative justice process that involves those affected and that will be used to address future instances of hate speech, according to the bill.
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“There have been many public and private instances of racism, xenophobia, antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of bias that have been directed at UW students by other UW students throughout the Fall 2023 semester and have caused many students significant harm,” the bill said.
ASM unanimously voted in agreement to hold off on voting on this legislation until its next meeting so they can continue working the bill in order to create a more complete proposal.
ASM Vice Chair Dominic Zappia then introduced a new bill, urging ASM to support a current lawsuit against Act 10, a piece of legislation signed into law in 2011 by then Gov. Scott Walker, which limited the power of public unions, according to the bill.
ASM Shared Governance Chair AJ Butler also introduced a new bill, which shows support for the passage of Wisconsin State Legislature Assembly Bill 949, which would restore shared governance powers for student governments and employees in the UW System to pre-Walker levels.
ASM’s next meeting will take place Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Student Activity Center.