“Everyday of my Presidency we will always support your rights, and your freedoms, and your future…it is a great honor for me, I’ve been watching this for too long, too long. See, we like to act, instead of say: ‘isn’t that a shame,”
President Trump proclaimed as he signed an executive order protecting free speech on college campuses. He thanked college students present for the signing for “standing up to indoctrination, censorship, and coercion” and, “refusing to be silenced by powerful institutions and closed minded critics, of which there are many…and you believe in truth, justice, and freedom.” The order marks another feather in Trump’s cap for protecting American culture, which is defined by the inherent rights that are enshrined by the U.S. Constitution, specifically the concept of freedom of speech. It is truly sad that the President has been forced to sign such an order: the protections are already contained within the first amendment.
Without a doubt, the order was necessary due to the fact so many of America’s colleges were illegally infringing on the first amendment rights of many of their students, namely their conservative or libertarian ones. In regard to the free speech protections, the order states:
“In particular, my Administration seeks to promote free and open debate on college and university campuses. Free inquiry is an essential feature of our Nation’s democracy, and it promotes learning, scientific discovery, and economic prosperity. We must 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.”
Sec. 3. Improving Free Inquiry on Campus. (a) To advance the policy described in subsection 2(a) of this order, the heads of covered agencies shall, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, take appropriate steps, in a manner consistent with applicable law, including the First Amendment, to ensure institutions that receive Federal research or education grants promote free inquiry, including through compliance with all applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies.
In short, President Trump will cut federal funding to colleges who do not comply with the protections contained within the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Conservatives and libertarians should definitely feel more comfortable with their ability to peaceably assemble and discuss their political perspectives.
The order also focuses on student loan debt transparency by requiring colleges to be more transparent about previous student loan repayment frequencies, among other things. You can read the full text of the order, here.