Indiana Daily Student

Trump announced he will require colleges and universities to support free speech

<p>The sun rises over the United States Capitol Building.</p>

The sun rises over the United States Capitol Building.

President Trump announced Saturday he will sign an executive order to ensure colleges and universities support free speech and will deny them federal research funds if they do not.

In his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, he vowed to issue the order soon. Trump gave no further details about how it would function or how free speech would be protected.

The announcement followed an incident at the University of California, Berkeley Feb. 19. Conservative activist Hayden Williams was punched on campus while walking around and attempting to recruit students for a new conservative advocacy group. 

Trump referred to Williams during his speech and brought him on stage, saying that something like this cannot happen again.

University of California Police Department officers arrested Zachary Greenberg Friday in connection with the assault. Berkeley released a statement reaffirming its commitment to free speech. 

IU has an Academic Freedom policy, Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct and Event Management policy to protect free speech, according to the university's website. 

The university encourages activities and discussions of differing viewpoints but can control the time and place of free speech activities to protect public health and safety. 

IU students commented on the proposal. 

Jess McPherson, press secretary of IU Democrats, said institutions should have their own rules regarding free speech.

“While I am all for supporting free speech, I think people need to remember what it means,” McPherson said. “If what you are saying does not align with your university's mission, it should be in your university's choice how to discipline you.”

Senior McKenna Patterson said free speech should already be protected.

“It’s a fundamental right,” Patterson said. “I’m not sure how the executive order would work, but everyone should have free speech from the Constitution.”

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