One of the Many Controversies Created by the CPAC

Dan Meloy, News Editor

On March 2nd, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland Donald Trump said, “I will be signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars.” This has led to an uproar from many individuals, for many different reasons. What even qualifies as ‘free speech’? How will this affect the funding that colleges get from the federal government? Many people are starting to believe that this was stated due to the many controversies created by colleges preventing certain right winged individuals from speaking on their campuses. It is also unclear as to how this would be enacted, because public universities are already subject to the full reach of the first amendment, while private universities would have their own free speech rights violated if executive intervention took place.

Students here at Rancho Mirage High School were more inclined to give their opinions on this issue, since such an order would be affecting them in the near future. William McCloud (12) stated, “I believe that Donald Trump wants to bring this executive order into action in order to encourage right wing, especially far right people to speak out and voice their opinions. If brought into action, universities will be largely the same with the difference being that more right wing views will be voiced. Additionally, more far right views that are controversial or may be considered inappropriate will be voiced. I believe that private universities should respect free speech and should be required to despite being a private institution.”

“However, they should also know when to identify views that are considered racist or heavily inappropriate. Universities should be allowed to choose their speakers as well, but should provide a reason for wanting or refusing a speaker; universities should not necessarily prevent speakers from speaking solely on their political affiliation but in combination of other reasons. This order also doesn’t address any sort of harassment towards republican students; it simply just promotes the free speech that was already there.”

Regardless of political affiliation, and even though Universities have typically favored liberal views, it is still unclear as to what this executive order would do. Students are already allowed to speak about their political views on public campuses freely, and private universities are allowed to control what they want to be restricted under the First Amendment. Although students should not be assaulted for expressing their views, and political figures should not be barred from speaking to students, but this executive order doesn’t tackle that; it tackles issues that already have a solution.