Friday, March 8, 2019

Letter to President Trump in Support of Free Speech Mandate for Colleges

Dear Mr. President

I applaud your announcement that you will sign an executive order mandating adherence to the First Amendment by colleges and universities that receive federal funds.  I support extending First Amendment mandates to all colleges, private and public, that receive federal money. However, I suggest that a limitation be placed on religious colleges when free speech would violate the religious beliefs to which the college adheres.  In other words, freedom of  religion should receive deference equal to freedom of speech. 

I was surprised to see that my good friends at the National Association of Scholars take issue with mandating that private colleges adhere to the First Amendment.  I cannot imagine that a college that wishes to restrict freedom of speech deserves public support--with the exception of religiously affiliated or otherwise religious colleges for whom certain forms of speech will violate their religious beliefs.

Otherwise, I urge you to extend the First Amendment mandate as far as possible. Private colleges, especially elite ones, have led the march toward intolerance and suppression, and they should be included in the mandate.


Mitchell Langbert