Opposing Executive Action on Free Speech

By Kelly Hand

In March the AAUP and eleven other groups issued a statement after President Trump announced in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he would issue an executive order denying federal research funds to colleges and universities that do not “support free speech.” Additional groups later signed on to the statement, which opposes executive action on free speech as “a dangerous solution to a largely nonexistent problem.”

When President Trump issued the executive order on March 21, AAUP executive director Julie Schmid responded to reiterate the Association’s opposition to the por­tions addressing research funding for colleges and universities. Schmid noted that the order “seems to do little procedurally, but is troubling in that it serves a broader goal of attempting to discredit higher education.” She also criticized remarks by the president about the order that “sought to drive a wedge between students and faculty.”

The AAUP circulated an open letter, which almost two thou­sand people had signed within a week of its publication, opposing Trump’s plan for executive action. Materials related to the executive order are available on the AAUP’s website.

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