Colleges and universities in America have long been little more than indoctrination centers for the hard left, but the pendulum has swung so far to the left that opposing views have been all but shut down at many of these institutions of higher learning.
In fact, espousing alternative points of view has become a dangerous task on some campuses, as was seen last month at the University of California, Berkeley, where a conservative activist was punched in the face.
And for the first time, someone is pushing back: President Donald Trump.
Speaking Saturday at the 2019 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., the president announced he will sign an executive order protecting free speech on college campuses.
While he offered few details, the idea is that the directive would put federal aid at risk for schools that do not protect the viewpoints of students of all political stripes.
No stranger to political theater, Trump invited Hayden Williams up on stage Saturday at CPAC. Williams, a conservative activist with The Leadership Institute, is the person who was attacked last month while tabling for Turning Point USA at UC Berkeley.
Trump joked that Williams, who still has a visible black eye, “could take a punch” and after saying the young man has a great attorney, he encouraged him to not only sue his attacker “forever” — Zachary Greenberg, 28, was arrested last week — but also the University of California, Berkeley, “and maybe the state.”
“He took a hard punch in the face for all of us, remember that,” Trump reminded the crowd. “He took a punch for all of us, and we can never allow that to happen — and in closing with Hayden, here is the good news: He is going to be a very wealthy young man.”
Williams singled out the school in comments to Campus Reform: “I am grateful to the University of California Berkeley Police Department for its dedication to identifying and arresting the man who attacked me. But while this is a moment for celebration, I remain disappointed by the UC Berkeley Administration, which allowed a culture of intolerance and violence toward conservatives to grow.”
The incident received scant coverage from many of the media outlets that salivated over the false claim of a Native American activist being bullied and intimidated by a group of Catholic high school boys at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Williams addressed the room Saturday and said conservative student activists will continue to defend the president if he defends them.
“These students do it because they have a love of our nation and freedom and, frankly, a love for you Mr. President,” Williams told Trump.
In an op-ed published by Fox News, Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, praised the president for acting “boldly in defense of our First Amendment rights” by announcing that he’ll require colleges and universities to protect free speech on their campuses in order to qualify for federal research dollars.
(Over $26 billion annually, according to the Washington Post.)
“The president is right to stop our government from handing out taxpayer dollars to subsidize institutions that practice censorship – regardless of whether that censorship is used against those on the left or the right,” Falwell wrote.
He cited Charlie Kirk, the founder and executive director of Turning Point USA — the boots on the ground — to highlight the danger conservatives face today.
Kirk told Fox News earlier that “college campuses have become increasingly unsafe for conservatives,”
“The silencing of conservatives on college campuses is serious problem that has spread across our nation,” he added. “Even when administrators don’t actively prevent conservatives from speaking on campus, individual extremists sometimes take matters into their own hands by physically assaulting the speakers.”
Taking to Twitter, Kirk wholeheartedly agreed with Trump’s announcement.
Today our amazing President committed to signing an executive order that would withhold funding from all college and universities that don't abide by the first amendment
Trump again fights for freedoms that no other has before him!
We at @TPUSA FULLY APPROVE!
God Bless Trump
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) March 2, 2019
Not that the bootlickers didn’t immediately push back on the idea of an executive order, as was seen with Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.
“An executive order is unnecessary as public research universities are already bound by the First Amendment, which they deeply respect and honor,” McPherson claimed in an interview with ABC News. “It is core to their academic mission.”
Someone may want to remind public universities of this.