President Donald Trump signed an executive order on 21 March that requires universities to certify that they are following free speech protections laid out in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The order applies to 12 research agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and NASA. It affects only money for research, not financial aid for students. The evidence has shown that some universities are controlling speech or focusing licensed speech on segments of the student population.
I think we can all agree the all students must be able to exchange views and ideas freely, this is what university life is all about. A free market of ideas is the norm. The White House policy will ensure that the students are able to speak freely on any campus that is receiving government funds. So schools who shut down free speech will lose millions.
Many have pointed out that the left has dominated most aspects of the university. The left has a 6 to 1 advantage for teachers and professors, while they enjoy a 12 to 1 advantage for university administrators. However, the Trump White House is targeting the 1 to 1 parity of new students who are now entering universities. Many universities will now give up federal funds if they silence students.
Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in Washington DC, called the order “plainly unnecessary” in a statement. “Public universities are already bound by the First Amendment and work each day to defend and honor it,” he said.
It seems that Mr McPherson does not have a clue of the horrific bigotry and discrimination that some students face on campus who try to give a different point of view – one that differs from the left leaning orthodoxy. Most students who try to employ their First Amendment rights are silenced by the school or forced into small safe spaces.