Trump Looks To Force Campuses To Protect Free Speech

Saagar Enjeti | White House Correspondent

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday directing the executive branch to tie university funding and grants to policies in place that protect free speech.

“People who are confident in their beliefs do not censor others,” Trump declared, adding that his government would now have grant-making ability to encourage free speech actions taken by private colleges. “You can be certain we will always support your rights and your freedom,” he added.

“We are here today to take historic action to defend American Students and American Values. In a few moments, I will be signing an Executive Order to protect FREE SPEECH on College Campuses,” Trump tweeted.

Trump signed the order alongside state officials and students from across the nation who have been assaulted on campus.

“This order is part of the Trump administration’s administrative and legislative efforts to support a focus on student outcomes and improve transparency, accountability, and affordability in postsecondary education,” the White House said in a statement.

U.S. President Donald Trump gives two thumbs up to the crowd during a campaign rally on the eve of the U.S. mid-term elections in Cleveland, Ohio., U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. President Donald Trump gives two thumbs up to the crowd during a campaign rally on the eve of the U.S. mid-term elections in Cleveland, Ohio., U.S., November 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

“The order directs 12 grant-making agencies to use their authorities over federal grants, in coordination with the Director of OMB, to ensure those institutions that receive federal research or education grants promote free inquiry through compliance with all applicable federal laws, regulations, and policies,” a senior administration official told reporters Thursday.

The official continued that “the administration believes public colleges and universities should fulfill their obligation to uphold the First Amendment, and private schools should comply with their stated institutional policies regarding free inquiry.” (RELATED: Conservative Activist Gets Punched In The Face At TPUSA Event At UC Berkeley)

Trump first announced his intention to sign the order at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) in early March, saying, “Today I am proud to announce that I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal resources.”

Trump made the announcement after being introduced by conservative college student Hayden Williams, who was punched in the face while tabling for a conservative student organization at the University of California at Berkley.

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