Politics

It’s Time for Congress to Defend Free Speech on Campus

congress defend free speech campusAs an undergraduate student during the ‘60s, the Vietnam War was often on our minds and in our conversations.

I vividly remember the discussions. Students were debating professors and each another. Ideas were being exchanged, opinions formed, and unique perspectives shared.

I saw firsthand how college campuses across the nation were hubs of free speech—and some of that speech I vehemently disagreed with, in all honesty. Yet as a soldier years later, I would fight to protect and defend this right to free speech. As a country, we were best served by allowing all sides to passionately argue their views.

In the decades since, our colleges’ commitment to protecting free speech has eroded. Examples have piled up of students silencing and attacking speakers with whom they disagree, as well as students being arrested for violating their college’s policies on “free speech zones.”

Time and again, university leaders stand by and just allow this to happen.

The designation of a “free speech zone” is a particularly egregious example of how colleges limit free speech. These small parcels of land—often just a tiny fraction of the campus—are the only places students can freely engage in expressive activity, such as distributing fliers or holding a rally or protest. Students caught engaging in these activities outside the free speech zone can be subject to arrest, harassment, and discipline.

Roughly 10 percent of American colleges now restrict constitutionally protected speech to a particular corner of campus, according to a recent report, and 30 percent of colleges have restrictive speech codes. These regulations prohibit the kind of student expression that is typically protected by the First Amendment.

And disturbingly, students increasingly approve of these policies. A national study last year found that about one-third of students supported restricting free speech on their own college campus.

President Donald Trump has shown a strong commitment to protecting the free speech rights of college students. He recently announced an executive order that will require colleges to honor free speech on their campuses in order to remain eligible for up to $26 billion of federal research funding.

The president’s proposal sheds critical light on this issue. We should continue to send a strong message to institutions of higher education that free speech restrictions are at odds with our constitutional rights.

Congress likewise cannot sit idly by while college campuses restrict free speech. For this reason, I have introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives supporting the right to free speech, and admonishing institutions that aim to limit this right. It also calls on universities to abolish their free speech zones and recommit themselves to protecting the free and open exchange of ideas.

My resolution affirms the House of Representatives’ commitment to being a guardian of free speech in America, including on college and university campuses. This isn’t about protecting conservative or liberal viewpoints. It’s about encouraging conservative and liberal viewpoints, and all viewpoints in between.

Twenty-one colleagues of mine in the House have co-sponsored this resolution, and I will continue to work on growing that number.

Fostering intellectual curiosity, robust debate, and passionate discussion on college campuses is vital for our nation’s strength and future. Passing this resolution will send a message to colleges and students throughout the country that the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment are alive and well in the 21st century.


Reprinted with permission from - The Daily Signal - by Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01)

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chaly
3 years ago

Free speech is the main reason we have a free country. Look around the world and dispute it. The young haven’t got a clue because there are to many commies teaching in our public schools. What happened to the voucher system we were going to put in. Why should we spend our money to send kids to a commie school when we could have a ‘choice’ on their education.

linda whitacre
3 years ago

We will never respect views that differ from our own if we never listen to them. How are we to learn, too advance? Are the closed minded RIGHT ALL THE TIME???? If we stop sharing differing views we will never advance. This pertains to politics, how to run a company, what are the best books to read, what food we can eat. I will gladly die for my freedom of speech and ideas, I am just sorry that the young don’t understand what they are giving up. As for the education system, I am so ashamed at how they are so closed minded. The pompous asses think they are soooo much better than the “unwashed masses”.
I am AFRAID to show my conservative beliefs at my home and where I work. How did it come to, IN AMERICA, the fact that I am physically afraid for myself and my property to put up an election sign or state that I am conservative?

Raleigh Wyatt
3 years ago

One problem is that they no longer teach Constitutional History! The younger generation has no idea what brought about this great country. They don’t realize that our founding fathers actually gave us the permission if our government was going down the wrong path to dissolve it and start over again! “When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of natures God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…….! Great writing from a group of great men…

Raleigh Wyatt
3 years ago

The problem is, that back in the Vietnam era, both sides listened in most cases, both made their cases and then discussed them. But today, if you are the president and are a conservative you are considered totally wrong and not allowed to express your opinion. That should not be allowed in the America that I fought to defend! Our schools today are not teaching history, they are teaching philosophy which is nothing less than another religion. That is why our younger generation does not appreciate where America came from. Lets teach real actual history and then we might get some real leaders again..

Matthew Arrell
3 years ago

One thing I learned is that the real Democrats are cowards and Leftist’s are Thugs. Case in point when the students set about to control speech, behavior -or anything the administrations run to hid in their closets. The Leftists take over and do what ever they want. It is not unusual for Conservative professors to to be dismissed for being out of step with the left. to keep their jobs the Conservatives become quiet. And most of all do not disturb the alums, they might just withhold their donations. Most palaces of higher learning are sitting on obscene amounts of money that they live in fear of loosing. And where is all of this heading?

Pete
3 years ago

There are two institutions that have been instrumental in making airheads like Alexandria OC key figures in our ongoing national debate on socialism vs. capitalism: our institutions of higher learning and the primarily news media. The universities teach them liberal principles and forbid the airing of opposing views. The news media regularly does not report on happenings that do not support their liberal agenda while desecrating the views and personally attacking dissenting voices. It is a sad day when we have to rely on governmental action to open up free speech.

LauraC
3 years ago

I agree with ‘press one for english’. What is the left afraid of? Are their ideas so poorly thought out that they fear debate? Are their ideas so antithetical to the ideas that shaped and created America as the greatest country on Earth that they are ashamed of them? Bunch of big babies that can’t be wrong about anything without throwing a tantrum. Well, what do we expect? They think AOC is smart.

Carol
3 years ago

Great first steps! Hit the pocketbook and pass a law protecting free speech on campi! So sad that these things have to be done to protect Constitutional rights these days!! And to be sure the left will be out their trying to stop this since they don’t believe in rights for everyone, just themselves!!! FYI: There is NO SUCH THING as Hate Speech!!! If you don’t like what someone’s ideas, then learn to walk away or find a way to debate that person’s ideas like an adult and not one of these protesting children who haven’t a clue!!!

Phyllis A.
3 years ago

People should not be beaten up, verbally abused, or physically assaulted in any way for having opposite political views, particularly, conservative (and especially when
wearing conservative hats or shirts). This is America and we have lost so many who gave their very lives to give us this very freedom. Those who do these despicable things should move to Communist/Socialist countries (Venezuela for instance) and see how their lives will be controlled by the existing governments. Something they would never do when it is so much easier to stay here and complain, criticize and propagate their insane and irrational beliefs.

ANGELA
3 years ago

And now the demodopes want to give 16 y.o, the privelege to vote. God help us. When I was 16 I wondered if the boy I liked liked me. Of course, times have changes so much, it’s incredible. And changing history for these boobs is… so crazy…it’s the only work I can think of. They want to cover paintings and tear down statues. What’s next? God help us. If their professors don’t like AMERICA, they should quietly go to China, Russia, Cuba or Venezuela. Why don’t they???? Are they scared???

Mac
3 years ago

Typical congressional action “admonishing institutions that aim to limit this right.”. Take a positive action. Only Congress can pass laws and direct federal funds.

Action means supporting Trumps stand defunding any group that restricts or places limits on free speech now.

Penny
3 years ago

Public schools have stopped teaching American History along with cursive writing. Most of today’s young adults have little or no knowledge of what has gone before to make America great, who the heroes were, what the issues were, and why we exist as we do. In addition they have been catered to, adored by their family, given everything they wanted and told they are winners at everything they do. We have done them no favors and we, their elders, have lost sight of the fact that they are our future leaders and will decide “what nursing home we will go to”. Why should we be surprised that they are so easily influenced and trained to reject all that stands for American citizenship. They have no idea how hard-won it has been. We must do what is hard and turn this around before it is too late to save the America we love.

Rox
3 years ago
Reply to  Penny

Pretty much every job, especially ones with benefits, will require being able to read and write in handwriting. It is an important first step when you want to dummy down a country. The left know this. Handwriting required: Medical field, including psychology, education, science, entire court system, social work, police/legal work, English/Literature, History, Art, Architecture, real estate and land and title, even the trades – example: mechanics and electricians must document what they do when they fix something at the location and in other records. They do not have the time to slowly print like a 1st grader and they MUST be able to read all the handwriting notes that will be left for them such as pass-downs on problems. If you can’t read the handwriting notes from any bosses or secretaries from even your phone messages, you will be out the door before you pass probation.

Penny
3 years ago
Reply to  Rox

My primary point was concerning the lack of American history education in this country today. i.e. little or no knowledge of the American constitution. Many professionals, including my own son, a computer engineer for a top company, never use cursive and have a fast and very readable printed handwriting. Most of my grandchildren did not take cursive writing in elementary school. They don’t teach it anymore. The signature of the future is a thumbprint or eye recognition. No writing required.

Janet
2 years ago
Reply to  Penny

Cursive writing is an excellent exercise in hand-eye coordination and is why they started teaching it by the 5th grade. Printing was the beginning of the skill, but cursive is a more developed skill. Using computer games to develop the skill is extremely bad for the health of children and adults because of the stress on the hands, the poor posture that is causing kids to be hunched in the shoulders long before it is caused by age and arthritis, and because of the addiction that prevents all ages from going out in the fresh air for exercise and children from using their creative minds to develop outdoor games (like kick the can, building a fort, hop scotch, etc.) and actually socialize. Just my take on what I am seeing.

Joan
3 years ago

The first thing that needs to happen: Get rid of all the progressive liberal professors/teachers that don’t teach subject matter. They teach
their liberal views/opinions to their students. Second, take away the Federal Funding from Colleges, Universities. No wonder the Dems want
the voting age changed to 16 when the students are brainwashed with their liberal views so they will vote Democratic.

Garland
3 years ago

Don’t expect our Congress or Senate to do anything. They are to busy filling their pockets. Maybe we should pay them for only the days they accomplish something. Wouldn’t be much pay since the last election.

Dal
3 years ago
Reply to  Garland

Good idea, Garland; I’ve stated close to the same in the past.

rbd
3 years ago
Reply to  Garland

. . . and maybe the “pocket-fillers” won’t want to have the job! We would then get real patriots who work at it for the love of the country–sort of like Donald J. Trump, President of the United States.

Burton Pauly
3 years ago

Personally I intend to express my thoughts as always. I do not intend to allow the so-called speech police to influence what think or say. Free speech is and always will be employed by me. I call -em like I see-em.

Larry Palmitier
3 years ago

Wait until these people that are trying to eliminate Free Speech get it accomplished and then see what happens to them. Once you loose it, it is very hard to get it back. This is socialism, which leads to communism, and the leftist or democrat party is in favor of taking the First Amendment out of the Constitution. In fact O’Rourke who ran for the Senate in Texas against Cruz said the Constitution is outdated and needs to be replaced. With what? A socialist agenda that will lead to communism, no thank you. I am glad he lost the race. I remember, growing up in grade school, we had to stand and put our hand over our heart and recite the “Pledge of Allegiance ” to the flag of the United States of America. I thought this was gone forever but when I went to my grandsons High School Graduation in in 2012 in Austin, Texas, there was a screen with the American Flag flying and everyone stood and gave the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and the United States. It was very beautiful and I saw some people crying. How heartwarming that was. See, not all is lost.

Kathy Thompson
3 years ago

We have to keep fighting. On the East coast, it’s pretty bad.

Bobby Romo
3 years ago

My granddaughter went to U of MN in Marshall, MN and then transferred back home to their U of MN campus. One day of many, I picked her up after class and she pointed out to me the area you have to go to talk freely. That was 2013-2014. I could hear the liberal coming out of her, she was changed. To this day, she doesn’t want to talk “about that stuff” and she will turn off Fox when she is here. She’s lightening up now but she is proof that students get pulled in bigly. Love her to death, she has a manager position and that puts her in a whole different perspective with all kinds of speech. I think she’s coming back. lol

Rick
3 years ago
Reply to  Bobby Romo

My grandkid comes into my house and tries to change the channel will find out that we’re going to talk “about that stuff!” Or else her inheritance is out the window!

rbd
3 years ago
Reply to  Rick

Money talks!

drcarol6
3 years ago

The kids growing up today are bombarded with propaganda about “hate speech.” We can hardly blame them when it is pushed into their brains 24/7 by the media, by teachers and by liberal parents. This has elevated political correctness to a ridiculous and unattainable level. No matter how hard we all try, people will get their feelings hurt from time to time; it’s called life. The missing ingredients are good coping skills which in the old days was role modeled by the adults around them. Today, when things go wrong, kids are given the green light to become vicious and vindictive or have tantrums and major meltdowns. If our children are getting the wrong messaging, we only have ourselves to blame. As conservatives, we must take a stand against restrictions on free speech and teach its importance to the younger generations.

Rox
3 years ago
Reply to  drcarol6

Read some of the Newsweek and other magazines they use to teach in schools and youth programs. All have very leftist slants and many include plain basic things that flat out are not true. They push the leftist agenda carefully, but it is still there. NASA and many other groups and scientist have now declared the whole climate a total hoax – but they will still use it in their magazines to push that agenda and scare kids. In Junior Scholastic, January 7, 2019, Their Decisions Could Change Your Life. There are a record number of women and minorities in the new Congress. What does this mean for the nation–and teens like you? (middle school) – “With control of Congress now split between Democrats and Republicans, President Donald Trump will likely have to compromise with members of both political parties. These compromises may include pushing for tax cuts for the middle class, which could mean more money for your family.” So who got us the tax cuts and better economy? It wasn’t the last administration for sure! So the magazine is pushing to students that it Donald Trump’s fault that the dems refuse to work or be logical or actually care about America’s problems in a way that benefits America. They are also still trying to push the lie that Trumps good economy only benefited the rich. The article pretends to be about how minorities and women have increased in Congress but there still is not enough of them. The magazine pretends to just be journalism but definitely has the leftist slant. It goes on – “Experts say pop star Taylor Swift probably played a role in the high voter turnout, especially among young people. In October, Swift urged her instagram followers to register to vote. Less than 48 hours later, 170,000 people had register on Vote.org. Most were ages 18 to 29. In comparison, 400,000 people registered on Vote.org during the entire month of October 2016.” – In case you don’t know, Swift is an avid hater of Trump, republicans, seems to really want the New World Order. Ever since Swift came out with all her hate speech against Trump and all the other garbage (anti-American) she has been making a big comeback and suddenly is being added to TV shows. I remember on one of their magazines talking about how Timbuktu was once a great culture and they were rich as it talks about how they traded salt – but now they are poor. Just skipped over the truth and the actual reason they went from rich to poor. Yes, they traded salt. Always did and still do. Their previous rich period though was due to it being a center for selling slaves. Once that was shut down by European colonist, no more being rich.

Kim
3 years ago

It’s about time! Hats of to Rep. Roe and others for this bill that a few of us here at AMAC have thought was long overdue. If you’re a school (public schools, colleges and universities) official who suppresses the exchange of legitimate ideas, regardless of the side of the fence from which they originated, then prepare to lose federal funding. The same should go for sanctuary cities and states. I look forward to hearing about court challenges to this bill, which surely will side with the Constitution if they ever get to the Supreme Court.
And if activities are limited to “free speech zones”—that’s just not good enough. “You can have your rally here, but not 2′ from here.” Where, in America, does the Constitution NOT have authority?

Kathy Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Kim

Beautifully said. We all have to be as verbal as the dems and have as strong a backbone to bring back our freedoms. How dare they try to take them from us. As a veteran, I fought for our freedoms and it looks like I will have to do it again.

Kim
3 years ago
Reply to  Kathy Thompson

Thank you for your service!
Yes, definitely, we need to voice our strong opinions as we never have before. Republicans have been “courteously” silent for too long, and it took a bold and fearless New Yorker like President Trump to bring these issues to light. Something’s stirring in Washington, D.C, on July 4th, and I might just attend…
I’d like to see Education Secretary Betsy DeVos do SOMETHING that will benefit our students in public education. The curriculum needs to do an about-face to bring an end to the “real” purpose of public schools–liberal/socialist indoctrination.

Janet
2 years ago
Reply to  Kim

Could not agree more! Our Public Schools today are a bastion for brainwashing instead of educating children and young adults who need to learn history, learn math that includes old fashion addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division so people can once again do the basics in their head (how many store clerks cannot figure out change unless they look at it on a screen and cannot count it back to you), learn sentence structure and grammar so that they can actually communicate, and learn basic skills for living among so many others. Seriously, do you believe you would have survived and succeeded in this world without the basic skills that we learned growing up? I know that I would not have and not sure that my kids would have done well either. My grandson seems to have no real problem as long as he can have his electronics and he did well in school, but I am not convinced that he would find it too easy if there was no longer electricity for him to charge his toys or play his video games. I believe that our public education system is failing even more so when you have students who are not necessarily going to benefit from college and besides needing the basics, need to be taught skills like cooling, sewing, shop, and so on so that they can actually compete in the workforce.
Funding needs to be cut until the schools turn back to the basics before moving forward with other concepts and educators need to be forbidden to push their personal agendas on students in K-12 if they wish to keep their credentials and continue teaching! Our children need to find their own place with encouragement from family, friends, and teachers and by having the ability to reason and make decisions for themselves as they get older.

archie higgins
3 years ago

the swamp will always need cleaning as long as we let them give themselves a raise?

Kathy Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  archie higgins

AMEN!!! TERM LIMITS!!!!!

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