“I will be very soon signing an executive order requiring colleges and universities to support free speech if they want federal research dollars,” President Trump announced on Saturday. “If they want our dollars — and we give it to them by the billions — they’ve got to allow people … to speak.”
These aren’t small sums we’re talking about; the National Science Foundation alone doled out over $26 billion for research at colleges and universities in 2017, and the Department of Defense and the National Institutes of Health partner with schools for research on a similar scale.
It should surprise (and concern) everyone that it’s taken the threat of an executive order to make the country’s universities take the First Amendment concerns of students seriously. Yet this week’s caterwauling from the ivory tower once again shows that perhaps adherence to Constitutional principles might not actually be the default setting on campus after all.
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