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The Latest: UW regents OK staff to write free speech policy

October 11, 2019 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on a University of Wisconsin System policy to punish students who disrupt others’ free speech with suspension or expulsion (all times local):

11:25 a.m.

The University of Wisconsin System regents have authorized staff to begin drafting formal language implementing a Republican-backed plan to punish students who disrupt others’ free speech rights.

The regents in 2017 adopted a Republican-backed policy declaring students who twice disrupt others’ free speech would be suspended for at least a semester. The policy hasn’t taken effect because system rules haven’t been updated to include it.

The regents voted during a meeting Friday at UW-Superior to approve a scope statement outlining the changes. The move authorizes system staff to start updating the rules to incorporate the punishments.

The final language will be subject to Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ approval. The governor’s spokeswoman says Evers will not sign off if the rules get to his desk. Evers cast the only dissenting vote against the policy when he was a regent in 2017.

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10:50 a.m.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers plans to kill a contentious plan implementing punishments for disrupting free speech on University of Wisconsin System campuses.

The regents in 2017 adopted a policy declaring students who twice disrupt others’ free speech would be suspended for at least a semester. The policy hasn’t taken effect because system rules haven’t been updated to include it.

The regents on Friday were poised to approve a scope statement outlining the changes. The move authorizes system staff to begin updating the rules to incorporate the policy.

The final language will be subject to Evers’ approval. The governor was a regent in 2017 and cast the only dissenting vote against the discipline policy, saying it would have a chilling effect on free speech through protests. Evers’ spokeswoman, Melissa Baldauff, says the governor will not approve the final rules if they get to his desk.