Despite the fact CSU already has policies in place to protect
freedom of speech in the classroom, an academic bill of rights to
do just that was recently proposed in the Colorado General
The bill, proposed by Rep. Shawn Mitchell (R), has received
increasing interest across the state. If the bill is passed, it
could force state universities to implement changes in their
grievance procedures for students who feel they are being
politically harassed or discriminated against.
Representatives from the Office of Equal Opportunity as well as
Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services said they have
never received formal complaints from students because of political
“In all honesty, I can’t remember any (complaints) I’ve worked
on in which political affiliation was discussed,” said Roselyn
Cutler, associate director of the Office of Equal Opportunity. “But
expressing an opinion is not necessarily in and of itself a
violation of a student’s rights.”
Cutler said complaints of a political nature are not written in
policy in her office because, with the exception of a sexual
orientation policy, it only deals with federal and state civil
Conflict Resolution and Student Conduct Services is designed to
receive complaints dealing with political affiliation.
The Student Rights and Responsibilities pamphlet distributed by
the Division of Student Affairs states, “Students have the right to
freedom from discrimination or harassment on the basis of race,
ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, creed, political
beliefs, national origin, age or handicap.”
Anne Hudgens, the executive director for Campus Life, feels that
policies are already in place to handle political grievances.
“I don’t know that any additional legislation is needed. I think
the rights are embedded and policy is already in place,” said
Hudgens, who works in CRSCS. “I think it’s important for students
to know that we do have (policies) in place that deal with this and
that we’re here to help. Any student who has any sort of concern is
Bill Chaloupka, chair of the political science department, is
aware that his department is one that might come under some
scrutiny from the proposed bill.
“My sense is, is that this is a department that takes its work
seriously and (the professors) are thoughtful about what they
teach,” Chaloupka said. “We know that this is potentially
controversial, what we do. But we think it’s really important and
sometimes controversy and importance are closely related.”
While some teachers may be intimidated by the proposed bill,
Chaloupka said he feels encouraged because so many students have
been thoughtful and respectful.
“I think (opinions) are going to exist no matter what. No matter
if you’re conservative or liberal, you just shouldn’t take too
personal what people say,” said Evan Gonzalez, a freshman political
science major. Gonzalez, who is enrolled in professor Robert
Lawrence’s class American Government and Politics, said he hasn’t
noticed any political biases from Lawrence and feels comfortable in
The Associated Students of CSU is also aware of the bill in
proposal and is currently discussing it.
“The bill has been shown to the senate, and it’s probably
something that ASCSU will be engaging on through at least the end
of the week,” said Ryan Miccio, director of legislative affairs for
Miccio added that he did not believe the bill would be supported
by ASCSU because the senate believes CSU already has appropriate
policies in place.