If you follow news in higher education, you know that free speech is under attack on many college campuses from unhinged leftists who routinely shout down anyone they disagree with, usually conservatives.
Trump is now taking steps to stop this madness. He is tying the protection of free speech on campus to federal dollars.
FOX News reports:
Trump signs executive order to promote free speech on college campuses
President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order to promote free speech on college campuses by threatening colleges with the loss of federal research funding if they do not protect those rights.
“We’re here to take historic action to defend American students and American values,” Trump said, surrounded by conservative student activists at the signing ceremony. “They’ve been under siege.”
“Under the guise of speech codes, safe spaces and trigger warnings, these universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity and shut down the voices of great young Americans like those here today,” he said.
A senior administration official said the order directs 12 grant-making agencies to use their authority in coordination with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure institutions that receive federal research or education grants promote free speech and free inquiry. White House officials have said it will apply to more than $35 billion in grants.
Public universities seeking funding would have to certify they comply with the First Amendment, which already applies to them. Private universities, which have more flexibility in limiting speech, would need to commit to their own institutional rules.
Here’s a video from the Associated Press:
Inside Higher Ed has more on this:
The executive order essentially directs federal agencies to ensure colleges are following requirements already in place. And it doesn’t spell out how enforcement of the order would work.
It directs 12 federal grant-making agencies to coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget to certify that colleges receiving federal research funds comply with existing federal law and regulations involving free academic inquiry.
While the administration expects public institutions to uphold the First Amendment, the order says, private colleges are expected to comply with their “stated institutional policies” on freedom of speech. The free-speech directive doesn’t apply to federal student aid programs.
The document also directs the Education Department to publish program-level data in the College Scorecard on measures of student outcomes, including earnings, student debt, default rates and loan repayment rates.
And it requires the department to submit policy recommendations to the White House by January 2020 on risk-sharing proposals for colleges that participate in the federal student loan program.
This has been needed for a long time. It’s excellent that Trump did it.