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Critics pan Trump’s campus free speech executive order

President Donald Trump announced he would soon issue an executive order requiring universities and colleges receiving federal research funds to support free speech. Trump was reacting to the incident at UC Berkeley where a non-student  was punched by another outsider while recruiting students for a conservative cause. The university condemned the attack and arrested the assailant. Ironies abound given Trump’s sorry history in opposing free speech in blocking critics from his Twitter account, lambasting the press, and standing against NFL players protesting during the national anthem. (Forbes, March 5, 2019, by Michael T. Nietzel)

Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman, Chicago Tribune, March 4, 2019, says the Trump executive order would be a bad idea. Public universities are already bound to honor the First Amendment. Feldman argues that universities must also protect academic freedom which differs from free speech in its dedication “to collectively developed norms of excellence – and of truth.”  Governments are never the deciders of truth and falsity in public forums. “What’s more,” Feldman writes, “academic communities are designed to produce the exchange of ideas through discussion and argument. Meaningful argument requires some basic conditions of civility and decorum, including respect for others and tolerance of dissenting views. The public square doesn’t have those same goals, and so it doesn’t share the same ground rules.”

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1 thought on “Critics pan Trump’s campus free speech executive order

  1. Michael T. Nietzel of Forbes uses a poor example to indicate President Trump opposes free speech.

    1. If one has to create an account to access Twitter, then one should be free to choose whom is allowed to correspond with you. Similar to blocking spam emails or opting out of or blocking telemarketing calls to your cell.

    2. If the press would have more respect for the Office of the President and the individual or the individual reporting on his behalf, there would no need for verbal altercations. If the critics disagree or indicate they can do the job better, let them run for President in 2020.

    3. While in the U.S., no one should protest during our National Anthem! This shows disrespect and dishonor for the flag representing this nation and for those who fought & died to keep this country free…..the home of the brave. Protest on your own time and in another place. While the National Anthem plays, stand at attention with your right hand over your heart or salute if you have been bestowed that privilege.

    President Trump was correct in scolding the NFL and its players! These players need to spend a month or two side by side with our military in Korea, Japan or in places where bullets and mortars are still flying. Perhaps then they will gain a tiny bit of insight as to what true honor & respect for the privileges we have in the U.S. means.

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