President Trump signed an Executive Order on Thursday to promote free speech on college and universi campuses. Under the new order colleges and universities could lose their federal research and educational aid if they do not honor the right of free speech. Schools will also have to do more to protect any speaker from being attacked or injured while holding a speech. $35 billion a year in research and educational grants could be lost.
According to the White House, President Trump thinks young American voices need to heard and said under the guise of speech codes, safe spaces, and trigger warnings, these universities have tried to restrict free thought, and impose total conformity.”
Trump is doing this in response to concerns by conservatives. Conservatives believe that campuses are becoming too liberal and that they are denying the right to free speech to students and guest speakers. In some cases, speakers have been attacked with it turning physical.
According to Fox News the President invited more than 100 students to the ceremony at the White House. Each of the students who were invited had their own stories to tell about being censored on their school’s campuses.
In a speech on March 2, Trump talked about Hayden Williams, a conservative activist, who is not a student spoke at the University of California, Berkeley, Feb. 19. Williams was attacked and punched in the face. Zachary Greenberg was arrested and charged in the incident.
Williams explains what made some people upset was a sign that stated ‘Hate Crime Hoaxes Hurt Real Victims,’ which was in reference to the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. Smollett had been arrested and charged by Chicago police for falsifying a complaint that he had been threatened and attacked. He claimed that the attack racially motivated. Smollett pleaded not guilty to the charges. If Smollett is found guilty could face up to ten years in prison. He will appear in court on April 17.
Freedom of speech is the first amendment of the United States Constitution and was passed by Congress on September 25, 1789. The first amendment of the Constitution states that Congress will make no law and will not interfere with the rights of the people to peaceably to assemble, to petition the Government of grievances, respecting an establishment of religion and the right of a free press.
The right to freedom of speech is a very important right that should not ever be taken for granted. It gives individuals the right to express themselves and their concerns about many different issues in a peaceful manner without fear of prosecution. It also allows the press to do their jobs to inform the public so that they can make the right choices.
Violations of the first amendment do occur. In one such case in 2018 a Florida court agreed with Fane Lozman who had filed a lawsuit against government officials in North Bay Village, Florida for denying his right to express himself. The issue began in 2006 when Lozman became involved with a dispute about wheelchair ramp for disabled World War II veteran Clement Mikelis, 80. The marina landlord Al Coletta was opposed to the ramp being installed. Lozman even offered to pay for the ramp himself but Coletta still denied it. Coletta evicted Lozman from the marina for speaking up.
Lozman began looking into Coletta and attended a City of Riviera Beach council meetings and began speaking out about Coletta. He wanted the council aware of his findings in regards to Coletta and was arrested for it. He filed suit that his rights had been violated.
There is a responsibility when it comes to free speech and some limitations. Even though people have the right to express themselves they do not have the right to entice violence against an individual or a group of people.
In 2017 Massachusetts, Michelle Carter, 17, learned just that when she was arrested for the death of Conrad Roy III, 18. Carter’s case was the first type in the nation involving free speech and text messaging. Carter had encouraged her boyfriend Conrad Roy III to commit suicide on July 13, 2014.
Roy was in communications with Carter through text messages and had expressed that he didn’t want to live anymore. Roy was not sure if he wanted to go through his intent to commit suicide. Carter instead of talking him out of his plan encouraged him instead to do it. Roy died from by poisoning himself with carbon monoxide fumes from his pick up truck.
Carter was arrested and charged for involuntary
manslaughter for Roy’s death. She was convicted on June 2017.
In February 2019 She began her sentence of 15 months in prison.