Just a few days ago, President Trump announced at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that he is willing to sign an executive order to protect Free Speech on college campuses. Specifically, the President stated, “We reject oppressive speech codes, censorship, political correctness, and every other attempt by the hard left to stop people from challenging ridiculous and dangerous ideas.”
The President cites the incident that took place several weeks ago at the University of California, Berkeley where conservative activist, Hayden Williams, was physically assaulted on campus while trying to recruit other activists.
The executive order will require college campuses to protect Free Speech or risk losing federal funding. However, there are three things to consider regarding this possible executive order.
One should consider the executive overreach of the new rule. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen President Trump bypass Congress to enact his agenda. While many conservatives may agree that it’s imperative to protect Free Speech (just like it’s imperative we secure the border), issuing an executive order or declaring a national emergency may not be the way to go.
However, some might wonder if the executive order does enough to secure Free Speech rights on campus. Like many other executive orders, their power tends to fade with time, unlike legislation passed by Congress. Plus, withholding federal funding for universities won’t affect private institutions greatly, unlike their public counterparts.
I think it’s also necessary to point out that it’s unfortunate that the President of the United States has to issue a formal declaration to protect Free Speech on college campuses in a country where the First Amendment of the Constitution already guarantees the right to Free Speech.
There is one thing that is for sure: conservative students face unfair speech codes and unconstitutional “Free Speech Zones” on campus everyday. The work that conservative activists do on campus is extremely important as we work to change the narrative and provide spaces for all students to freely express themselves.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.