Trump signs executive 'free speech' order for U.S. colleges




  • In US
  • 2019-03-21 21:41:24Z
  • By Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order linking "free speech" efforts at public universities to federal grants in an effort to combat what he considers a clamp down on conservative students' abilities to share their views.

Under the order, the schools will themselves certify whether they are protecting students' free speech rights, which are already guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

The order requires that schools ensure they allow students to express themselves in order to receive funds from 12 federal agencies that help fund universities and colleges.

Trump administration officials have suggested that the rights of speakers on college campuses have been trampled by student protesters, and that conservatives have been unfairly targeted.

Trump, who regularly decries the media as "fake news" and calls defamation laws "a sham," has threatened retaliatory action related to free speech issues where he says the rights of conservatives are under attack.

In signing the order at the White House on Thursday, Trump took the fight to campuses, which receive billions of dollars a year from the federal government, including more than $30 billion for research.

"Universities that want tax dollars should protect free speech, not silence free speech," Trump said.

But the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) said in a statement that public schools are already committed to free expression and the executive order "does not - and cannot - add to or subtract from our pre-existing obligations under the Constitution."

A senior U.S. administration official said schools, not the government, would attest to their compliance with the executive order.

Private schools will follow their own policies, and the executive order will not impact student tuition aid programs, the official said.

"The goal of the order is to promote free speech more broadly across college campuses," the official told reporters.

Trump had announced his planned order earlier this month at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. The event featured activist Hayden Williams, who was punched at the University of California, Berkeley, in February while recruiting students for a conservative group.

Last year, the Justice Department filed a statement of interest in a free speech lawsuit filed against the university, accusing it of discriminating against speakers with conservative views. The case was settled in December, when the school agreed to modify its handling of "major events" on campus.

Trump's executive order also calls on the Department of Education to make recommendations on financial risk sharing for financial institutions regarding school loans, the official said, but gave no details.

The AASCU said federal aid programs should be addressed through current law via Congress, and "not a unilateral order from the White House."

(Reporting by Susan Heavey)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Israel moves to name Golan settlement after Trump
Israel moves to name Golan settlement after Trump

Now it is the namesake of a tiny Israeli settlement in the Israel-controlled Golan Heights. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Cabinet convened in this hamlet Sunday to inaugurate a new settlement named after President Donald Trump in a gesture of appreciation for the U.S. leader's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the territory.

Pompeo tries rallying foreign leaders in alleged oil attacks
Pompeo tries rallying foreign leaders in alleged oil attacks

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reaching out to wary foreign leaders to frame alleged Iranian attacks in a Middle East oil shipping route as a problem for the world at large, especially for Asian countries vitally dependent on that oil. Pompeo, in a series of Sunday television interviews, emphasized the U.S. international outreach in the wake of what the U.S. says were Iranian attacks Thursday on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz . The world needs to unite," Pompeo said.

New poll shows Trump trailing Biden and four other Democrats
New poll shows Trump trailing Biden and four other Democrats

A nationwide Fox News poll released Sunday shows President Donald Trump trailing former vice president Joe Biden and no fewer than four other Democratic contenders as early campaigning for the 2020 election begins to gain steam. A separate survey of battleground states, by CBS, shows Democrats strongly favor Biden as the candidate most likely to beat Trump in next year's elections. The Fox poll showed Biden leading Trump by 49 percent to 39 percent among all registered voters nationwide, while Senator Bernie Sanders held nearly the same advantage over the president, at 49 percent to 40 percent.

Times
Times' Russia report is 'virtual treason,' Trump says

US President Donald Trump on Saturday accused The New York Times of "a virtual act of treason," after it reported the US is stepping up digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid. Current and former government officials have described the classified deployment of American computer

'Who is the a--hole': The congressman who missed his anniversary to keep lawmakers voting until 4 a.m.
'Who is the a--hole': The congressman who missed his anniversary to keep lawmakers voting until 4 a.m.

Rep. Chip Roy kept the House voting until 4 a.m. on Thursday as a form of protest - even though he missed his 15-year wedding anniversary.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.