More colleges and universities need to do this.

The FIRE blog reports.

University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents Passes Free Speech Statement

This morning, the University of Wisconsin System’s (UW’s) Board of Regents passed a policy statement affirming the system’s commitment to free speech.

The UW statement is substantially similar to the “Chicago Statement,” the free speech policy statement produced by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago earlier this year, according to UW-Madison political science professor Donald Downs.

Downs, along with a small group of professors and regents, helped craft the version of the statement presented to the board.

“What we have is very similar to the Chicago standard, which is the gold standard,” Downs said.

FIRE has publicly endorsed the Chicago Statement as a model statement for free expression on American college campuses.

The UW vote comes on the heels of high-profile debates about the place of free speech in the controversies over racism on our nation’s college campuses, including a controversial statement on the issue by UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. But Downs tells FIRE a draft of the resolution has been in the making since last spring, after nearly two years of informal meetings with professors and members of the Board of Regents.

“Now was an opportune time” to present their proposal to the regents, Downs said. But “it was not done to respond to UW-Madison events,” he said. “This took months, working behind the scenes.”