March 21, 2019 – University of California President Janet Napolitano issued the following statement today on the White House’s executive order tying free speech protections to federal funding for colleges and universities nationwide:
The executive order that President Trump signed today is unnecessary. Like many higher education institutions across the country, the University of California is ground zero for robust exchanges of ideas and differing viewpoints.
UC’s policies already align with applicable laws protecting free speech, a fundamental tenet of our democracy and the guiding principle of academic rigor. We have established a national free speech center to explore the evolving dynamics of the First Amendment on campuses. The university has spent significant resources on security and logistical support to facilitate the expression of diverse speakers and opinions. A simple visit to any of our campuses would underscore the superfluous nature of this executive order.
We do not need the federal government to mandate what already exists: our longstanding, unequivocal support for freedom of expression. That tradition is alive and thriving on all of our campuses. This executive order will only muddle policies surrounding free speech, while doing nothing to further the aim of the First Amendment.