Congressmen sound the alarm on students’ rights

Rep. Greg Murphy hosted a roundtable conversation about the state of free speech on campus.

Members of Congress said personally experienced discrimination against conservatives at colleges and universities.

Members of Congress, students’ rights advocates, and alumni representatives sounded off about the state of freedom of speech in higher education.

The Campus Free Speech Roundtable, hosted by Rep. Greg Murphy (R-NC), comprised Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL). The lawmakers discussed the importance of students’ rights and how colleges are, too often, failing to uphold those rights. 

During the event, Murphy said, 

[RELATED: Free speech org launches tool to help student journalists]

Stefanik shared a personal experience of how she suffered the consequences of being conservative in the Ivy League. She said: 

Murphy, too, has had his free speech concerns dismissed at his alma mater, Davidson College. 

“As a member on the Board of Trustees, I was a conservative confidante, if you will, for several professors and students for that matter who spoke confidentially to me that they could not be free to speak what they wanted to as fear of recourse,” he said. 

“I brought that up to our president multiple, multiple times and it was just summarily dismissed,” Murphy added. 

Ed Yingling, Alumni Free Speech Alliance co-founder, said he and his associates have seen a huge wave of interest from alumni who want to get involved. 

“What is now clear is that alumni across the country are deeply concerned about the future of their alma maters,” Yingling stated. “In fact, they’re really angry about it.”

[RELATED: 5 Big Questions for Ed Yingling, co-founder of the Alumni Free Speech Alliance]

Cammack voiced her concern for younger Americans as they enter the workforce, saying,

Additionally, Murphy highlighted that campus free speech is a nonpartisan issue, though he has been disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm from his Democratic colleagues. 

As Campus Reform has previously reported, Rep. Murphy introduced an amendment to a bill that would have required all colleges and universities receiving federal funding to certify that they were upholding the First Amendment rights of their students. 

The amendment was voted down.

Murphy noted to event participants that he had invited Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), chairman of the House Education & Labor Committee, to attend the roundtable. Scott turned down in the invitation.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito