New bill requires universities to provide spaces and protections for free speech

VERMILLION, S.D. (WNAX) – Under a bill passed by this year’s legislature, South Dakota universities will have to provide spaces and protections for free speech.

The bill (HB1087) says the Board of Regents must encourage “the timely and rational discussion of topics in an environment that is intellectually and ideologically diverse.”

University of South Dakota President Sheila Gestring says they will help students understand the law.

Gestring says there are still some prohibitions.

The law also says any outdoor area should be considered a public forum.

Gestring says that reflects their philosophy.

The Regents are also required to submit an annual report from each campus on their actions regarding the law.