Dear college presidents, administrators, and faculty:
Please stop encouraging the intolerance of competing ideas and stop stifling free speech.
In this great land, the government does not get to tell you what to think or what to say—unless as  is the modern trend, that government is a public college.
Once a place of academic freedom and robust debate where the free exchange of ideas led to America becoming the leading force in science, discovery, and medicine, the college campus has been transformed into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought. Instead of challenging minds, your campuses now shelter fragile feelings and punish those who advocate idea you believe to be at odds with those taught in your classrooms.
When you stifle free speech by implementing speech codes or drawing so called “free-speech-zones” in order to limit the locations at which students may freely speak their minds (so long as they get permission from college administrators) you commit what Frederick Douglass called “a double wrong.” You infringe “the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.”
Your animus towards free and open debate not only leads to the prolonged adolescence of students, you injure the reputation of your institutions. In discussing the importance of free speech, the president of Harvard University once proclaimed that a university’s “integrity as an institution is bound up in the maintenance of this freedom, and each denial of the right to speak diminishes the university itself.”
Is there any wonder why society is increasingly questioning the value of your college degrees? The college campus is not a daycare. College students are adults. If a key role of a college education is to prepare students to function and work in American society—a society which is not always pleasant, your institutions are setting them up for failure.
Need I remind you that many of the ideas most Americans now hold dear were once minority views which many found offensive. Ideas such as the belief that slavery is immoral, that all men should have equal rights, and that women should be entitled to the right to vote. These ideas are now accepted because people were free to question the status quo and engage their peers in unfettered debate.
Sadly, the affront to free speech on your campuses is growing. In 2017, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) conducted a random survey of 450 colleges and universities across the country and found that 40 percent had speech codes and one-third had written policies prohibiting offensive speech.
After filing a bill on this subject during the session and subsequently experiencing this firsthand last Fall at Texas Southern University, I asked the Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House to add the study of campus free speech to their interim charges. I am pleased that Lt. Gov. Patrick has done so, and look forward seeing results after their hearing on January 31st.
Colleges that stifle free speech: your time is up.
In Liberty,
Rep. Briscoe Cain

Briscoe Cain

Briscoe Cain represents HD128 in the Texas House of Representatives. A founding member of the Freedom Caucus, he enjoys fighting for liberty and upsetting liberals. He resides in Deer Park with his wife, Bergundi, and their three children, all named after Texas counties.

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