While being interviewed at CPAC 2018 or the Conservation Political Action Committee of 2018, Elizabeth Betsy DeVos made a bold statement when it came to freedom of expression on America’s colleges and universities. She highlighted and emphasized the fact that when it comes to freedom of speech that good ideas will always triumph over the bad ones. This is in response to the increasing suppression of dissenting or so-called offensive points of view on college campuses.
DeVos admitted that the issue of censorship on our colleges was a modern issue and a very serious one at that that is often rarely discussed. The Education Secretary said that the threat to free speech in higher education institutions needs to be looked at from multiple points of view and angles. Elizabeth Betsy DeVos also said that she sees a rise in the suppression of free speech on campuses. Also, there have been several high profile cases that received national attention where speakers were not allowed to speak due to the views they held and espoused.
Mrs. DeVos says that college should be a place where you can learn new ideas, test your existing ones, grow intellectually and mature. This is what she recalls from her own experience at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. DeVos then added that the administration which she serves in is fully committed to promoting an environment where the free exchange of ideas can occur without censorship and restrictions on views that are out of the mainstream.
Secretary DeVos says that college should be the place to do battle and fight but not with fights or threats to shut people’s speech down. Instead, she is calling for a battle of words and ideas to occur with the best idea coming out victorious. This is the real meaning of college and how we improve ourselves and our society.
Those who are concerned about the suppression of free speech on campus can feel better with the fact that Betsy Devos is an ally on their side in the powerful position of Secretary of Education. While she did not lay out any specific moves her department may take, she said she would fight on behalf of students to have their free speech rights protected and not face restriction.
Students and free speech activists can also feel good about free speech from the fact that a colleague of Betsy DeVos at the Justice Department is also taking the charge against censorship on campuses. Attorney General Jeff Session is closely monitoring several cases involving freedom of speech at colleges and has gotten the Justice Department engaged in many of the cases that have to do with free speech at universities.
Regarding a separate issue, Betsy DeVos said she would like to see the Congress have a hearing regarding the horrible school shooting tragedy that occurred on February 14 in Parkland, Florida. Many congressmen and women from both political parties have voiced their support for Betsy DeVos’s call for a hearing. DeVos also said that there needs to be greater mental health care screening and treatment options, especially for at-risk youth.
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