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  • Writer's pictureArizona Senate Republicans

State Lawmakers Launch Committee to Investigate Free Speech at Arizona's Public Universities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Friday, July 14, 2023

State Lawmakers Launch Committee to Investigate Free Speech

at Arizona's Public Universities


PHOENIX, ARIZONA— Arizona Republican lawmakers are spearheading the launch of a committee concerning freedom of expression at Arizona’s public universities and to examine events surrounding a program titled, "Health, Wealth & Happiness," presented by Arizona State University's T.W. Lewis Center.


The Joint Legislative Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom of Expression at Arizona's Public Universities will convene to hear testimony regarding the program held on February 8, 2023, and the subsequent closing of the T.W. Lewis Center in June. Author and talk show host, Dennis Prager, and former Lewis Center Director, Ann Atkinson, will be among the individuals sharing their testimony. Invitations have also been extended to ASU faculty and administration who opposed the program.


Arizona State Senator Anthony Kern and Arizona State House Representative Quang Nguyen will serve as Co-Chairmen. Both currently lead the Senate and House Judiciary Committees. Joining them will be Senator Frank Carroll, Senator J.D. Mesnard, Representative Austin Smith, Representative Beverly Pingerelli, as well as Democrat legislators.


"Freedom of Speech is a principle our country was founded on and something I will always aim to protect," said Senator Kern. "It's incredibly important that our state's universities support their students and guests sharing their opinions and viewpoints. We want to create an environment for individuals involved in this situation to share their sides of the story to better understand what occurred with this program and the impacts it may have had on future freedom of expression. My hope is that the ASU faculty and administration who opposed the program will accept our invitation to also share their stories.”

“Arizona’s public universities must be unfettered bastions of free speech and expression," said Representative Nguyen. "I’m very concerned to see an administrator terminated after coordinating to have conservatives speak on campus. I look forward to hearing from university leadership as to why this happened and what ought to be done to rectify the situation.”


The Joint Legislative Ad Hoc Committee on Freedom of Expression at Arizona's Public Universities will happen Tuesday, July 18 at 9:00 a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 109, 1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix.


Senator Kern will be available for media interviews following the conclusion of the committee.


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For more information, contact:

Kim Quintero

Director of Communications | Arizona State Senate Republican Caucus

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