I’m not in favor of laws that require you to obey the law.
But given the fact that the liberal educational-industrial complex is taking taxpayer dollars and squelching free speech, I’m not sure what else is to be done: other than defunding colleges completely.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday requiring U.S. colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding.
The new order directs federal agencies to ensure that any college or university receiving research grants agrees to promote free speech and the exchange of ideas, and to follow federal rules guiding free expression.
“Even as universities have received billions and billions of dollars from taxpayers, many have become increasingly hostile to free speech and to the First Amendment,” Trump said at a White House signing ceremony. “These universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity and shut down the voices of great young Americans.”
The order follows a growing chorus of complaints from conservatives who say their voices have been stifled on campuses across the United States. Joining Trump at the ceremony were students who said they were challenged by their schools while trying to express views against abortion or in support of their faith.
One of those students was Lauren Sagvold, who chairs Whitworth University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom. The group is fighting a decision by Whitworth’s student government to block conservative activist Ben Shapiro from speaking on campus, mirroring an earlier controversy at Gonzaga University.
Trump initially proposed the idea behind the executive order during a March 2 speech to conservative activists, highlighting the case of Hayden Williams, an activist who was punched in the face while recruiting for the group Turning Point USA at the University of California, Berkeley. He invoked the case again Thursday, noting that Williams was hit hard “but he didn’t go down.”
Under the order, colleges would need to agree to protect free speech in order to tap into more than $35 billion a year in research and educational grants.
For public universities, that means vowing to uphold the First Amendment, which they’re already required to do. Private universities, which have more flexibility in limiting speech, will be required to commit to their own institutional rules.
“We will not stand idly by to allow public institutions to violate their students’ constitutional rights,” Trump said. “If a college or university doesn’t allow you to speak, we will not give them money. It’s very simple.”