We take the weight and complexity of the challenges created by balancing free speech and safety seriously; sometimes that balance can feel unattainable. But free speech can be protected while also protecting individual Jewish students, faculty, and staff and student groups from impermissible harassment and discrimination. 

The ACLU of Indiana supported an amendment to HB 1002 which significantly improved the bill by eliminating the addition of a definition of antisemitism in Indiana code that included multiple examples of protected political speech and targeted critics of the state of Israel. The examples would likely have been most commonly used to silence supporters of Palestine.  

In its current form, the ACLU of Indiana supports the first section of the bill, prohibiting religious discrimination, but opposes the second section which defines one expression of antisemitism, as defined by the bill, as a form of discrimination. 

The First Amendment does not protect behavior on campus that crosses the line into targeted harassment or threats, or that creates a pervasively hostile environment for vulnerable students. But merely offensive or bigoted speech does not rise to that level, and determining when conduct crosses that line is a legal question that requires examination on a case-by-case basis. 

Authors

Rep. Chris Jeter

Status

Passed House

Session

2024

Bill number

Position

Oppose