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Trump Vows Executive Order Requiring Colleges to ‘Support Free Speech’ – Do You Support the Order?

Do you support an order “requiring colleges and universities to support free speech”?

by Countable | 3.4.19

What’s the story?

  • President Donald Trump vowed Saturday that he would sign an executive order requiring colleges and universities to “support free speech.”
  • Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend, Trump said:
“Today, I am proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research funds.”
  • The federal government provides colleges and universities with around $30 billion in research funding.

What are both sides saying?

  • "If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they've got to allow people like Hayden and many other great young people and old people to speak," Trump said. He was referencing conservative activist Hayden Williams, who was allegedly punched in the face at the University of California Berkeley last week.
  • Cambridge civil-rights attorney Harvey Silverglate told the Boston Herald he supports a free speech EO, agreeing that “federal funds should not be funding censorship.”
  • “There is a real tyranny of correctness if you deviate from the real progressive view of things,” Silverglate said of colleges. However, he added that he suspects Trump is “grandstanding” because “other times he has no problem telling people in the federal government to shut up.”
  • Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, said the EO was redundant.
“An executive order is unnecessary as public research universities are already bound by the First Amendment, which they deeply respect and honor. It is core to their academic mission.”
  • Noah Feldman, a law professor at Harvard, made a similar argument in an op-ed in Bloomberg.
“For the president to stop campuses from making their own choices about speakers would infringe on their academic freedom, both with respect to determining the truth according to scholarly standards and creating an atmosphere of civility.”

What do you think?

Do you support an order requiring free speech on college campuses? Take action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / vasiliki)

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