President Trump Issues Executive Order on Campus Free Speech March 22, 2019 Section 1 ContentPresident Trump Thursday signed an Executive Order on campus free speech that links federal research funding to institutions agreeing to promote free inquiry. He first vowed to give the order during a speech March 2 at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Politico noted that the order “essentially just reinforces what schools are already supposed to be doing.” The order directs 12 federal agencies, including the Departments of Education and Defense and the National Science Foundation, that fund college and university research and education grants to add language to the agreements institutions sign to receive the money. “The heads of covered agencies shall, in coordination with the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, take appropriate steps, in a manner consistent with applicable law, including the First Amendment, to ensure institutions that receive Federal research or education grants promote free inquiry, including through compliance with all applicable Federal laws, regulations, and policies,” the order states. While the order refers to “education grants,” that would not include federal student aid that goes directly to students to pay college expenses. The types of “education grants” seemingly referred to in the order might, however, include institutional capacity-building grants, such as those made to minority-serving institutions. ACE President Ted Mitchell said in a statement that the Executive Order is “unnecessary and unwelcome, a solution in search of a problem.” As The Washington Post reported, Mitchell also said in his statement that, “No matter how this order is implemented, it is neither needed nor desirable, and could lead to unwanted federal micromanagement of the cutting-edge research that is critical to our nation’s continued vitality and global leadership.” In addition, it is unclear how the order will be implemented. “Executive Orders are not self-implementing,” Mitchell said. “What remains to be seen is the process the administration develops to flesh out these requirements and the extent to which it is willing to consult with the communities most affected—especially research universities.” The Wall Street Journal reported warnings by critics that the action could effectively impose federal curbs on free speech and further politicize how administrators handle the delicate balance between students’ expression and their safety, such as when controversial speakers come to campus. The Journal interviewed Jonathan R. Alger, president of James Madison University (VA) and a member of the ACE Board of Directors, who noted that institutions already take issues of free speech very seriously. “I am not quite sure what problem we’re trying to solve. Tying grants to something completely different—in this case, tying science to free speech—it seems like mixing apples and oranges,” Alger said. The order also directed the Department of Education (ED) to expand the College Scorecard, including by adding program level data in areas such as student debt, repayment and default rates, and earnings. It also orders ED to issue a report “identifying and analyzing policy options for sharing the risk associated with federal student loan debt among the federal Government, institutions, and other entities.” Various risk-sharing proposals already are being weighed as part of efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and as part of the current ED negotiated rulemaking effort. Section 2 Content Section 3 Content Section 4 Content Section 5 Content Section 6 Content Button Content Rail Content 1 Rail Content 2 Rail Content 3 Related News March 27, 2023 ACE and a number of other higher education groups submitted comments to ED in support of the the proposal to rescind a provision of the 2020 rule on student religious organizations—and recommend scrapping the rest of the regulation as well. Read More News March 27, 2023 ACE, Groups Respond to Education Department’s Proposal to Rewrite Trump Administration’s Free Inquiry Rule Podcast March 23, 2023 Hosts Jon Fansmith and Sarah Spreitzer are joined by their Government Relations colleague Steven Bloom to talk about the troubling trend of elected officials intruding on academic freedom and restricting instruction on divisive concepts. Read More Podcast March 23, 2023 dotEDU Live: The Future of Academic Freedom on Campuses; Hope for HEA? 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Read More News September 14, 2020 Education Department Finalizes New Rule on Campus Free Speech News May 22, 2020 ACE’s latest To the Point brief, “Campus Inclusion and Freedom of Expression: Managing Social Media,” focuses on how and why campus leaders should be proactive in managing social media platforms, as well as how to respond to problems that arise. Read More News May 22, 2020 To the Point: Social Media Communications on Campus Toolkit This checklist offers guideposts for institutions that can be used as a tool in preparing for--or gauging their level of preparedness for--controversial or provocative speakers on campus. Only on Engage. Create your account! Read More Toolkit Preparedness Checklist: Controversial Speakers Toolkit This item offers key actions that can guide leadership’s response during and after a crisis. Only on Engage. Create your account! Read More Toolkit Speaking and Acting with Integrity in Times of Crisis Toolkit This tabletop exercise invites a leadership team to discuss their roles in and practice their response to a free expression incident going viral. Only on Engage. Create your account! Read More Toolkit Tabletop Exercise: Free Expression Goes Viral Toolkit This exercise on an exchange between students that leads to campus protests invites a leadership team to discuss their roles during such a crisis and to practice their response strategies. Only on Engage. Create your account! Read More Toolkit Tabletop Exercise: Free Expression Sparks Protests Toolkit This item offers a series of questions to begin conversations with your colleagues around the complex intersection of freedom of expression and campus inclusion. Only on Engage. Create your account! Read More Toolkit Conversations: Free Expression and Inclusion Toolkit This item offers a list of guided actions and questions on how an institution's mission and values can govern institutional response when preparing for and managing campus crises. Only on Engage. Create your account! Read More Toolkit Mission- and Values-Centered Crisis Response News February 20, 2020 President Trump signed an executive order last March that linked federal research and education grants to campus free speech. Read ACE's comments on the Education Department's proposed rule implementing the order. Read More News February 20, 2020 Education Department Rule Implementing Trump’s Campus Free Speech Order Is "Breathtaking in Its Reach"