There are few things in the United States these days that are hot a topic as free speech in this country. That’s either because President Trump is talking about people not applauding him during the State of Union, or because of people who are trying to silence those on both sides of the gun debate. There has also been a rejuvenated interest in free speech when it comes to college campuses, though there have been some pretty strong disagreements about just what this means, whether you are coming at it from a Liberal or Conservative point of view.
Donald Trump’s Secretary of Education has recently waded into the conversation about free speech on Campus. Betsy Devos recently spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and said that the issue of free speech is both “timely and serious.” She added that threats and perceived threats to freedom of speech on college campuses must be addressed from a multitude of angles.
During her appearance at CPAC, DeVos said she has seen instances at many colleges where the administration was shutting down free and open expression, as well as “debate around ideas.” There was a time when the Liberal side of the political aisle was the one making this claim, but the Conservatives in the United States have started to take up that mantle. There has long been a perception that colleges and universities unless they are specifically geared towards a conservative agenda, have had a liberal bias.
DeVos talked about how when she went to school, she specifically did it so that she could test out some of her ideas about the world around her. While she admitted there are still plenty of people that take the same approach, it feels as if it’s a bit more controlled than it used to be.
Since DeVos is the United States Secretary of Education, there are some that are going to wonder just what she plans to do in order to help there be more free speech on college campuses. Those who have been her political enemies might even feel as though those kinds of comments are more an excuse towards taking aim at colleges than anything else. Since she has been named to Donald Trump’s cabinet there have been more than a few Democrats who have said she has had something up her sleeve.
DeVos has long been an advocate for private education in the area of public education. This has angered several of her most ardent enemies, as they believe she is going to be taking protections away from people who cannot afford to take up a fight. While there were some pretty massive changes when she first took the post, she has largely had a lower profile in recent months. One has to wonder if DeVos speaking at CPAC might be her announcing she is going to be back in the public eye just a bit more. Whether or not that would be a good or a bad thing is largely based on which side of the aisle you are on.
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