Sen. Alexander criticizes Trump executive order on campus free speech

SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER_1217_1545081357179.jpg-727168854.jpg

President Donald Trump’s executive order Thursday on free speech on college campuses is getting some pushback from Tennessee’s senior senator.

Trump signed an executive order requiring colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding.

Federal agencies must now ensure that any college or university receiving research grants promotes free speech and the exchange of ideas, and follow federal rules guiding free expression.

Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Education Committee and a Tennessee Republican, said legislators and agencies can’t just rewrite the Constitution. 

“I agree with the administration that colleges should provide better data on student debt and put some ‘skin in the game’ to reduce student borrowing,” Alexander said in news release. “And I agree that colleges should punish hecklers who veto free speech and stop coddling students to protect them from disagreeable points of view.

“But I don’t want to see Congress or the President or the department of anything creating speech codes to define what you can say on campus. The U.S. Constitution guarantees free speech. Federal courts define and enforce it. 

The Department of Justice can weigh in. Conservatives don’t like it when judges try to write laws, and conservatives should not like it when legislators and agencies try to rewrite the Constitution.”

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