Friday, March 22, 2019

Speech - Part 3

University of California responds to executive order on free speech

UC Office of the President, Thursday, March 21, 2019

University of California President Janet Napolitano issued the following statement today on the White House’s executive order tying free speech protections to federal funding for colleges and universities nationwide:

The executive order that President Trump signed today is unnecessary. Like many higher education institutions across the country, the University of California is ground zero for robust exchanges of ideas and differing viewpoints.

UC’s policies already align with applicable laws protecting free speech, a fundamental tenet of our democracy and the guiding principle of academic rigor. We have established a national free speech center to explore the evolving dynamics of the First Amendment on campuses. The university has spent significant resources on security and logistical support to facilitate the expression of diverse speakers and opinions. A simple visit to any of our campuses would underscore the superfluous nature of this executive order.

We do not need the federal government to mandate what already exists: our longstanding, unequivocal support for freedom of expression. That tradition is alive and thriving on all of our campuses. This executive order will only muddle policies surrounding free speech, while doing nothing to further the aim of the First Amendment.


Comment: As we have noted in a prior post, it might be best to leave this issue alone. The executive order is unlikely to affect anything related to UC. But free speech is a Big Deal, and seeming to oppose it by opposing the executive order is not good PR. The general public doesn't do nuance. The last paragraph of the item above could have been omitted. All that was needed was to say that we already do what the executive order requires.

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