Professor Mike Adams of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, aggressively defended First Amendment rights for students and faculty of public universities during a congressional hearing on Thursday.
During a Thursday congressional hearing on the state of intellectual freedom in America, Professor Mike Adams of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, made some interesting proposals about how Congress can hold university’s accountable with regards to their First Amendment commitment.
Adams began by arguing that universities should follow the Supreme Court’s lead in rejecting the notion of “hate speech.” “We reject the concept of ‘hate speech’ altogether, just as the Supreme Court did last year in the Matal v. Tam decision. That’s what we do. And when universities come along and try to paper over the Constitution, we hold them accountable for doing that,” Adams said. “And that’s a very serious concern I have for my university and for universities in general. That they will fight these kinds of lawsuits because they are playing with other people’s money, they will run up six and seven digit legal bills and not really worry about them and there are no consequences whatsoever.”
Adams argued that universities should lose their federal funding if they fail to uphold First Amendment principles. “I think we need to attach a consequence to this kind of violation. I was taking a look for example, at the 424(b) that the Department of Education requires every single university to sign off on,” he said. “Every single time that there is a non-construction grant for research or for academic programs, there are probably 15 different promises that the university president has to sign off on. ‘We are not engaged in human trafficking, we are not engaged in violation environmental laws…’ It is high time we added a 16th category. The university promises they are not engaged in violation of the First Amendment in order to receive any grant money whatsoever.”
At one point during the hearing, Adams criticized Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) for leaving in the middle of the hearing. “Congressman Nadler made some statements, I would like to rebut them, but he has fled. I’m sorry he didn’t have more courage.”