On Tuesday, Jeff Sessions, the US Attorney General, has criticized some policies of universities and colleges around the country, describing them as being “politically correct,” and infringing on American rights to free speech.
During Sessions’ Georgetown University speech on Tuesday, he cited one study which surveyed 450 universities and colleges in the country and found 40 percent of them have policies that “substantially infringe on constitutionally protected speech,” according to him.
“Freedom of thought and speech on the American campus are under attack,” he said. “The American university was once the center of academic freedom — a place of robust debate. But it is transforming into an echo chamber of political correctness and homogenous thought, a shelter for fragile egos.”
In response, Sessions said that the Department of Justice will be filing a “statement of interest” in a “campus free-speech” lawsuit by Gwinnet College students.
“We will be filing more in the weeks and months to come,” Sessions said.
Sessions also singled out many other universities and colleges, such as Clemson University and Boise University.
“At Boise State University in Idaho, the student code of conduct prohibits conduct ‘that a reasonable person would find offensive,’ ” Sessions said. “At Clemson University . . . the student code of conduct bans any verbal or physical act that creates an ‘offensive educational, work or living environment.’
“But who decides what is offensive and what is acceptable?” Sessions said. “The university is about the search for truth, not the imposition of truth by a government censor.”
Comments On the Speech
Third Year law student Spencer McManus commented on this, saying: “This attorney general is coming to our campus to tell us to exercise our constitutional rights, when he and the president have repeatedly condemned those who have exercised those rights. We want people to understand what the First Amendment means.”
In response to a question pointing out Trump’s criticisms of NFL players decision not to kneel down, Sessions said: “Well, the president has free speech rights, too. He sends soldiers out every day to defend this country under the flag of the United States, under the national anthem and the unity that those symbols call on us to adhere to.”
“So, I agree that it’s a big mistake to protest in that fashion because it weakens the commitment we have to this nation that has provided us this freedom,” he said.