No community in Montana more scrupulously attends to civil liberties than a Montana University System campus. So I was disturbed by comments last week supporting HB 517, proposing a constitutional referendum to let the legislature, not the regents, set the parameters for campus policies affecting constitutional freedoms.

Students told tales of woe ranging from getting poor grades or being ostracized for their views, to having to listen to faculty’s political rants and not being able to find faculty willing to advise their political club. More chillingly, one student claimed his life had been threatened when he was “tabling” for a conservative cause on campus. (A shouting match ensued. Police responded, characterized the incident as disorderly conduct on the part of two students, and issued a warning to both.)