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Rand Paul: Why Not Withhold Funds From Colleges That Violate Free Speech?

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The debate over free speech versus so-called hate speech rages on publicly funded college campuses around the country. The safe space generation has made increasingly drastic demands that they be “protected” from dangerous ideas that might question their worldview. Conservatives have had their events cancelled by university administrations that have kowtowed to liberal activists demands. These publicly funded universities are violating these individuals’ constitutionally protected rights to free speech but haven’t suffered any consequences. Rand Paul won’t stand for that. He would have Congress reconsider whether or not the funding they appropriate is available to these universities that have given into censorship.

“I think that Congress and the people who appropriate the money, we should think about whether we should be sending money to universities that only have one set of speech,” the Kentucky Republican said.

This is a more reasonable proposal than the other ideas that have been put forward by conservative commentators thus far. They would have the government impound current funding and prevent universities from accepting this year’s federal dollars. While that is clearly a more forceful tactic, it’s not a measure that actually stands a chance of passing both Houses of Congress. While Republicans have a large majority in the House, a bill’s path through the Senate must gain the support of more than a few moderates.

Protecting free speech should be a bipartisan issue that could see support from some Democrats as well. But, far be it from any Democrat to actually sign on to a bill that could potentially cut spending. With that in mind, it’s likely that any legislation that proposed withholding federal funds from colleges that violate free speech would pass on a party line vote. Nonetheless, such a measure should be put forward. University administrations must not be allowed to continue violating constitutionally protected rights with impunity. Rand Paul’s idea to amend future education appropriations is a great way to make sure that this practice comes to an end.


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