President Trump won a standing ovation at CPAC on Saturday by vowing executive action against speech codes that have muzzled conservative students and speakers on college campuses.
Trump’s new executive order, which also drew serious questions and concerns, would restrict federal research funding to only support colleges and universities that allow free speech.
“If they want our dollars, and we give it to them by the billions, they’ve got to allow people like Hayden and many great young people, and old people, to speak,” Trump said, referencing Hayden Williams, the conservative who was physically assaulted last month for promoting his views at the University of California at Berkeley.
While public universities are already Constitutionally obligated to permit free speech, Trump’s order would presumable also impact private schools — raising a First Amendment issue of its own.
A Catholic university, for instance, might be in jeopardy of losing its funding if it favors campus Catholic groups over Muslim or atheist groups.
While conservative critics might not quite embrace the American Council on Education’s assertion that Trump’s plan is “a solution in search of a problem that will create its own problems,” many might agree that this blunt instrument could be more trouble than it is worth.
Watch Trump’s speech here.