U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor

09/26/2023 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/26/2023 06:39

Foxx Op-Ed: The Left’s thought police are destroying America’s colleges

Foxx Op-Ed: The Left's thought police are destroying America's colleges

In Case You Missed It, Education and the Workforce Committee Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (R-NC) penned an op-ed for the Washington Examiner about the dangerous decline of free speech on college campuses. Further, the op-ed highlights the Committee's newly released report that shows 63 percent of students believe the political and social climate on their campus prevents free speech and expression and as many as 20 percent of students admit to self-censoring because of this atmosphere. This is a direct affront to the purpose of postsecondary education. The report also outlines legislative solutions to address this disturbing trend.

The Left's thought police are destroying America's colleges

By: Rep. Virginia Foxx
September 26, 2023

Have institutions, including the university system, been so thoroughly captured by anti-American and illiberal ideology that the government must step in to restore viewpoint diversity, free thought, and free expression?

To help answer the question, as chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, I investigated the state of free speech on college campuses and released the findings in a report.

The report highlights university policies that are flagrantly anti-free speech. Take, for example, the oxymoronically named "free speech zones," which limit speech to highly regulated and often out-of-the-way areas of campus. Modern universities purport to be places of free debate and open discussion, but in fact, this freedom is often forced out of the classroom, where instead, students are expected to parrot their professors and peers. This policy is clearly unconstitutional, and yet dozens of schools maintain it.

[U]niversity culture is directly at odds with free speech principles. Colleges and universities have used taxpayer dollars to subsidize culturally one-sided woke faculty and administrators and to allow shout-downs, disinvitations of speakers, and "cancelations." A recent survey found that almost two-thirds of college students see no problem with shouting down speakers on campus, and nearly one in five considers it acceptable to use violence to stop certain speech.

Committee recommendations include institutional disclosure requirements, adoption of free speech statements, and prohibitions on the use of political tests.

Congress is not merely free to uphold the First Amendment rights of students and faculty - it is obliged to do so. Remaining silent on this issue is an easy way to lose forever these institutions to progressives who have no moral qualms about turning the university from the free market of ideas into a monolithic echo chamber of woke viewpoints.

Bottom line: our university system has been captured by anti-American and illiberal ideology, and it is time to restore viewpoint diversity, free thought, and free expression in American universities.

Read the full op-ed HERE.