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Law schools must adopt free speech policies to maintain ABA accreditation

The American Bar Association (ABA) announced Monday it is adding a free speech requirement to its accreditation process for law schools Monday.

The ABA’s House of Delegates, in a voice vote, approved a new policy meant to combat laws and protests that have disrupted free speech and debate on law school campuses.

“The law school free speech standard spelled out under Resolution 300 establishes Standard 208 for the nation’s 196 law schools now accredited by the Council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar,” the ABA statement reads.

“The new standard requires schools to adopt a policy that would allow faculty, students and staff ‘to communicate ideas that may be controversial or unpopular, including through robust debate, demonstrations or protests,’ and would forbid activities that disrupt or impinge on free speech. But it wouldn’t impose specific policy language,” the statement added.

The policy, the organization says, comes amid laws that are being implemented in places such as Florida that limit discussion of race and other controversial topics in classrooms.

It is also aimed at recent student protests at Stanford and Yale’s law schools that have shut down conservative speakers.

“Law school faculty have long enjoyed protections for academic freedom. But the new standard is the first to address free speech for the entire law school community,” the statement reads.

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