Michael Farris, a former Justice Department prosecutor and the President of the Alliance Defending Freedom, claims that university speech restrictions will get worse in response to President Trump’s first term in the oval office.
The Alliance Defending Freedom is a non-profit legal group that often defends conservative Christians from religious discrimination. In recent years, ADF has taken on free speech cases from students at public institutions of higher education. Recently, they defended a student at a community college in Michigan, who was jailed for passing out copies of the Constitution.
“The universities have control and I think it will get worse,” he claimed last week when asked if speech restrictions at universities would decrease under President Trump.“I think [universities] will react negatively to what is going on in Washington and tighten up the reins.”
Farris encourages students to research the speech policies at their universities: “Students need to be vigilant about checking out their speech policies on campus, and if something is amiss or wrong, fight it.”
Unfortunately, students at private institutions aren’t afforded speech protections under the First Amendment in the way that students at public universities are, but the court of public opinion frequently encourages public universities to uphold their commitments to fostering open environments for all thoughts and ideas.
Although Farris believes that the campus climate will worsen for conservative and libertarian students as a response to Trump’s administration, he claims that Trump’s Department of Education “can intervene” and tie federal funding of colleges to their respect for students’ expression, “in order to stand up for the Constitution,” especially at public universities.