On Friday, March 22, President Donald Trump signed into action an executive order that will bar federal research grants and subsidies to college universities that do not “avoid creating environments that stifle competing perspectives.”
This order was first brought into public eye at the Conservative Political Action Conference in late February. The mandate was created in order “to enhance the quality of postsecondary education by making [institutions] more affordable, more transparent, and more accountable.”
“Free inquiry is an essential feature of our Nation’s democracy, and it promotes learning, scientific discovery, and economic prosperity.”
– President Trump
On Friday, the President invited many students to attend the signing of this order. He explained that just as many students are actively fighting to protect their right to free speech, he will stand by them “always.”
The order will “encourage institutions to foster environments that promote open, intellectually engaging, and diverse debate.” What’s more, the order will make higher education institutions more transparent, calling for these universities to fully report “the average earnings and loan repayment rates of former students who received federal student aid.”
This alone will provide much needed information regarding the cost and return on investment of higher education institutions.
“We will not stand idly by and allow public institutions to violate their students’ constitutional rights… If a college or university doesn’t allow you to speak, we will not give them money.”
– President Trump
While giving his address, President Trump applauded Turning Point USA and its founder Charlie Kirk for the “amazing work” they are doing on college campuses across the nation.
“Hopefully we can bring everybody together,” the President said. “They can have different views, and if they do have different views, we encourage that. But, they have to let you speak.”
One of the many students President Trump invited on the podium to speak was from Northeast Wisconsin Technical college. He said, “without freedom of speech, we don’t have American anymore.”
As of January 1, 2020, more than $35 billion is at stake across the American public institutions in the form of federal research grants. This executive order will not, however, affect the amount of taxpayer dollars provided for “funding associated with Federal student aid programs that cover tuition, fees, or stipends.”
“To every student and young person here today and watching, don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you know is right, from asking questions, from challenging the powerful, or from speaking your mind, that’s the primary reason we’re here right now,” the President said. “Never, ever quit. Never give in, and never back down. Keep standing up for your values, for your classmates, and for your country.”
Watch the full ceremony here: