Politics / We The People

President Trump Stands Tall – For Free Speech on American Campuses

free speech

President Trump’s gift – is authenticity.  He showed it again last week in an unabashed Executive Order (EO) reaffirming America’s unwavering commitment to free speech on college campuses.  Offending and being offended is part of America’s rich tradition, political uniqueness, and inter-generational quest for truth, a quest preserved by our Constitution’s First Amendment.

President Trump sees all that, and doesn’t mince words saying so.   His proclamation, entitled “Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities,” responds to a disturbing rise of physical violence, intimidation in and out of classrooms, and administrative actions taken against conservative, traditional and religious students, faculty and speakers on college campuses.

The EO states that the Trump Administration “seeks to promote free and open debate on college and university campuses,” explaining “free inquiry is an essential feature of our Nation’s democracy and it promotes learning, scientific discovery, and economic prosperity.” 

The EO continues:  “We encourage institutions to appropriately account for this bedrock principle in their administration of student life and to avoid creating environments that stifle competing perspectives, thereby potentially impeding beneficial research and undermining learning.” 

Notably, the President is drawing an explicit link between freedom to speak freely and higher education’s research and discovery mission.  Truth is only found in religion, science, social science, interpretative reading, creative writing, and theoretical physics to method acting – when all perspectives, possibilities, and potential views on the world are permitted in conversation. 

Short of that, and especially faced with the chilling effect of implicit or threatened violence, the search for truth is stifled.  This is not a new thought, but one that needs refreshing.  Think about all the advances – social, scientific, culturally preservative and restorative – which would not have happened if violence or its threat had been allowed to rule the day. 

Ironically, the American progressive left wants to end history with bricks and bats, shutting down all voices not in accord with their oppressive ideology, when they are the prime beneficiaries of free speech on campuses and across this country.  Lasting change of any kind only occurs by persuading the unpersuaded that they should rethink their views, reorient their actions to align with newly discovered – or rediscovered – truth.  Absent free speech, and respect for it, that does not happen.  Those who oppose free speech on campuses – to include thoughtful reflection on conservative ideas – should actually be for it, not against it.

That is what President Trump’s EO reminds the Nation.  Moreover, “to advance the policy described,” the administration will work “to ensure institutions that receive Federal research or educational grants promote free inquiry, including through compliance with all applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies.”  In short, the President is standing tall for free speech, defending the Constitution to which he swore an oath of fidelity.

Of course, universities and media commentators are distressed.  One would think such an obvious declaration, linking federal tax dollars with upholding US Constitutional rights, would be uncontroversial.  But no, The Academy is aflutter. 

Why?  Administrators, faculty, unions and media protest that campuses already protect free speech, although the factual record suggests otherwise.  They complain the EO is unnecessary.  They ask who will decide whether they are suppressing speech.  They are offended.

The American Council on Education complains the EO “could lead to unwanted federal micromanagement … critical to our nation’s continued vitality and global leadership.”  You mean, the end of the world as we know it? 

The American Association of University Professors argues that it will accomplish little, “but is troubling in that it serves a broader goal of attempting to discredit higher education.”  Wait:  Haven’t emotionally-charged, politically one-sided, outwardly-hostile, in some cases violence-promoting faculty on campuses already done a good job of that?  Isn’t that why this EO – protecting minority conservative students, faculty and speakers – became necessary?  Isn’t that why an authentic voice had to speak? In the end, members of that exclusive club called tenured college faculty are offended.  They are offended that President Trump is shining a light on something most Americans know and resent, that The Academy seeks to promote itself, to promote its left-leaning “progressive” mindset, to silence minority conservative, traditional and religious voices – while collecting tax dollars from the very Americans it despises.  The irony is sharp.  That is why the EO was issued.  Mr. and Ms. Members of the esteemed Academy – we regret that you are offended.  Meet the First Amendment.

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3 years ago

About time. Nice going Mr. President. Keep up the great work!

Gail Coury
3 years ago

Thank God reason may be restored. Free speech goes two ways as these people should know being in college?

3 years ago
Reply to  Gail Coury

They are being brain-washed early on. The conservatives who speak.up are punished by getting ridiculed in class or given lower grades.

3 years ago

How sad that President Trump should have to issue such an order. The left can’t stand freedom of speech. Freedom of speech,
is a threat to the lefts socialist beliefs. They can’t win thru discourse, so they repress others right to speak.

Todd Wingard Taylor
3 years ago

Free speech is guaranteed by our Constitution; even if it runs against the liberal narrative.

3 years ago

Thank God for President Trump! So tired of seeing the bias at all of these colleges. I think it is time for college students parents who are easily swayed by the left to sit down and have a conversation. Don’t these students realize that what they think they are for is to destroy America as we know it? Do they realize all the opportunities & free choices they were able to make will be forever gone? If I still had college age children I would give them a list, though not very big, of the conservative colleges to choose from.

R.S. Helms
3 years ago

It is time that we reformed our public education system and begin to educate the students instead of mostly socialist propaganda and progressive education.

3 years ago
Reply to  R.S. Helms

The last I read, the U.S. was somewhere like #47 out of the too 50 industrialized nations. Everyone needs to get involved in voting. There are thousands of people in government positions all over the country who are actually tearing it down.

Brian Monson
3 years ago

The HARD LEFT is neither progressive nor liberal. The Socialists have misappropriated those terminologies to deceive the American Public to advance their perverted agenda.

3 years ago

Thanks to Mr. Trump we are finding some hope for our nation and education is a huge part of it. His new EO on higher education is crucial to surviving with our children, not opposed to them. But, if we are going to allow the teaching of socialism in grade school it is time to clean house. Most parents don’t even know what may be going on in the school their own children go to! How are we allowing Q’s to teach in kindergarten but yet they are so mentally deficient they don’t know which restroom to use.

3 years ago

When you can’t win the debate on merit, you must silence the competition. This is how you get totalitarian governments like Venezuela. Kudos to the left. They have been very successful using intimidation, threats, false accusations and lies to accomplish this.

Harold D Fleming
3 years ago

To a liberal free speech means saying what they want said. One student was called down many times for speaking from a conservative point, but he had facts at hand and could quote then, the prof finally quit trying to stop he speaking.

3 years ago

I work at one of these universities and so far have not seen a single sign of this Executive Order being announced. But when it’s from the other side, it’s out there immediately. The bias is awful and disheartening. Thank you President Trump for standing with us. You are a true all American Patriot!

Glenn Lego
3 years ago

The colleges protect free speech as long as it’s not CONSERVATIVE free speech!

3 years ago

This is a direct result of the liberal left being the education pool that has brain washed our children since pre-school. Twenty years of drilling and finally at college age, the brainwashed students are collected into a compound that is designed to amplify their liberal mantras before they graduate and infect America from their first job onward. The damage is done, but the Executive Order will insert some visibility to occasional Conservative thought that may change a few from their preprogrammed future as a liberal. The damage is done to the these university drones. We need to go back to pre-school and public schools to flush out the deviant education that is corrupting our children.

Donna Hatten
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob

This is so true. Each state needs to re-evaulate what is being taught and also what has been taken out of our schools from grades 1 thru 12. Also many children’s shows on TV are doing damage to our children

3 years ago

demorats believe in free speech just ask them they’ll tell you what you are free say

Glenn Lego
3 years ago
Reply to  des

The communist countries believe in free speech too. You can say whatever you want from the time the bullet leaves the gun until it hits you.?

3 years ago

Thank GOD that we have a President with the courage to stick up for the little guy.

3 years ago
Reply to  Drue

I am proud to be a “Deporable”.

3 years ago

It’s clear the Democrats are surpressing freedom of speech on campuses and what are they teaching in the classrooms. I say next election throw them all out of office, bring back honesty, free speech what our country was founded on. President Trump doing a great job this is long overdue by x presidents who would not stand up for America, you go President Trump!

3 years ago

He gets better every day. THANKS, Mr President.

Phyllis A.
3 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

Truer words have never been spoken. This man LOVES America! God protect and keep him in His loving hands always.

Stephen Russell
3 years ago

Free speech solutions: Deny Grants,loans to colleges & students for debts, Make colleges recoup student losses vs free speech issues.
Then C colleges do180 for More Free Speech

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