Can Federal Funding Leverage Free Speech?

Peter Wood

  • Article
  • February 09, 2017

This post is an excerpt from The Federalist, "It’s Time To Talk About Defunding Universities That Won’t Defend Free Speech," published February 8, 2016. 

President Trump has wondered aloud—or at least tweeted—about the possibility of cutting federal funding for universities that fail to safeguard free speech. In the wake of the riot and arson February 1 that led the University of California at Berkeley to cancel a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos, President Trump tweeted, “If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?”

One telegraphic question does not a policy make, but it does raise a matter worth thinking about. For several years the nation has witnessed an accelerating decline in respect for and protection of intellectual freedom in higher education. 

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Image: Paper money, by Kevin Dooley // CC BY

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