Florida Congresswoman Kat Cammack creates U.S. House caucus to fight suppression of free speech on college campuses
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida Congresswoman Kat Cammack and House Freedom Caucus Founder Congressman Jim Jordan partnered with Young America’s Foundation, a conservative student group, last month to create the Campus Free Speech Caucus.
They say that there is a clear bias against free speech on college campuses and they hope to bring national awareness to the issue while educating other legislators.
Cammack says the issue isn’t specific to just conservatives or liberals and that she hopes to give a fair voice to all viewpoints.
“You know, we’ve seen attacks on conservatives but we’ve also seen liberal ideology being suppressed. Our universities, our college campuses, they should be a place where students are taught how to think, not what to think. We can all agree at the end of the day, we want our students to be able to express themselves openly, freely and in a respectful manner that doesn’t result in one group shouting down another,” said Cammack, representative for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District.
She also says they are using the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE’s, rating system to determine which colleges and universities are the worst offenders.
“The aim of this caucus is to make sure that students have an avenue where they can feel heard, but also, we can take the universities that are truly the worst offenders when it comes to suppressing free speech, we are going to be working with those administrations to try to open up the campus so there’s a more inclusive environment where conservatives and really free speech can flourish,” Cammack said.
State Representative Yvonne Hinson says she hasn’t seen any evidence of free speech being suppressed on college campuses but that she agrees that different viewpoints should be heard.
“I don’t believe based on my personal experiences that speech is being stifled in any way. I always spoke my voice. I’ve always been in a classroom with opposing points of view. I have actually learned to value different points of view. I believe different points of view is what makes America great,” said Hinson, a representative for Florida’s District 20.
And Dr. J. Maggio, the Alachua County Democratic Executive Committee Chair and a professor at St. Johns River State College, doesn’t believe that there is any suppression of free speech among students on college campuses but does say that more speakers with diverse viewpoints should be allowed to speak on campuses.
“In fact, the free speech problem has really been, I believe, invented by conservatives to punish faculty at mostly public schools because faculty tend to vote Democratic,” said Maggio.
Representatives Cammack and Jordan plan to meet with Young America’s Foundation leadership and students monthly to learn about the latest attacks on free speech to share with fellow members of Congress.
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