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Trump Signs Executive Order Promoting Free Speech on Campus

Free Beacon [1]
March 22, 2019

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday tying federal research funding for colleges and universities to their policies governing free speech.

“We are delivering a clear message to the professors and power structures trying to suppress … young Americans and all Americans from challenging far-left ideology,” Trump said at the White House while flanked by free-speech advocates. “People who are confident in their beliefs cannot censor others. They welcome free, fair, and open debate, and that is what we are demanding.”

“Under the policy [that] I am announcing today,” the president continued, “federal agencies will use their authority under various grant-making programs to ensure that public universities protect [and] cherish … the First Amendment and [the] First Amendment rights of their students or risk losing millions and millions of federal taxpayer dollars.”

Trump’s executive order requires the 12 federal agencies that fund higher education research to include free speech protections when determining which schools receive tax-payer grants. To be eligible, public universities and colleges will have to reaffirm their obligation to uphold existing laws concerning “free academic inquiry.” Private institutions, on the other hand, will be required to outline and comply with their own “stated institutional policies” regarding free speech. In effect, this means private colleges and universities will have more leeway on restricting free speech than their public counterparts.

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