Following through on a promise he made last month at the Conservative Political Action Conference, President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday protecting free speech on college and university campuses.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, President Trump announced last month at the CPAC that he would be signing an executive order protecting free speech following a violent attack on a conservative student at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hayden Williams was punched in the face by a man at the end of February while helping a conservative campus group, Turning Point USA, set up a recruitment table.
According to CBN News, this is only one incident in a growing trend of silencing conservative students on college campuses.
As such, President Trump vowed to sign an order that would require colleges and universities to protect free speech – regardless of political or religious leanings – or they can lose federal research grant money.
“Universities that want taxpayer dollars should promote free speech, not silence free speech,” President Trump said at the executive order signing ceremony on Thursday.
Several students and student organization leaders were also present at the ceremony. One-by-one President Trump asked each student to speak to their experiences of being silenced on college campuses.
One woman, Polly Olsen, was handing out valentines on her college campus last year that had messages written on them saying things like, “You are special, and Jesus loves you.” Olsen shared that twice her college stopped her from handing these cards out, even after she sought legal counsel. Five years ago, the college assured her that they would change the school’s policy, but still, Olsen is being told her cards are “disruptive” and could be “offensive” to some.
The executive order will work to remove “free speech zones” – designated places on campus where students are allowed to voice their opinions freely and openly – and protect the sharing of both conservative and liberal ideas on college and university campuses. If the institutions refuse to adhere to the requirements imposed by the order, they risk losing their portion of the $26 billion the National Science Foundation says is granted annually by the federal government for college research projects.
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Pool
Video courtesy: Fox 10 Phoenix