Free Speech, Intellectual Diversity on Campus
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota university leaders tell state lawmakers they're working to implement a new law aimed at ensuring free speech and intellectual diversity on campus.
A legislative committee summoned regents and university presidents to a meeting Wednesday to detail their efforts to comply with the law. Its passage last spring came after controversy over a "Hawaiian Day" party theme at the University of South Dakota revived conservative lawmakers' complaints about political correctness on campus.
The university presidents said they're holding training sessions for students and faculty on protected speech. They say they're also working to gauge students' experiences on campus.
The Board of Regents is required to give a written report on its implementation of the law by Dec. 1.
VERMILLION, S.D. (AP) — The University of South Dakota has launched an investigation into the Student Bar Association's decision to change the name of its winter social event from "Hawaiian Day" to "Beach Day."
The group said earlier it was changing the name because it was advised by law school administrators that it violated the school's policy of inclusiveness. A law school student had raised concerns that handing out leis at the party could be culturally insensitive.
USD President Sheila Gestring said in a statement this weekend that the investigation will focus on the actions of the interim administration of the law school. Gestring says the investigation will determine whether those actions violated the Board of Regents' policies on freedom of expression.
She says administrative censorship of student speech and expression is a serious matter and not something USD condones.
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