New DHS disinfo board echoes university attacks on free speech

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that the department has “established a mis and disinformation governance board.”

Campus Reform often reports on the hostility towards free speech that is present on many college campuses across the country.

Debate has ensued following the news of an Apr. 27 announcement by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas that the department has “established a mis and disinformation governance board.“ 

“We have just established a mis and disinformation governance board in the Department of Homeland Security,” Mayorkas said. 

Mayorkas stated that the disinformation board would combat the danger posed by supposed disinformation “not only to election security, but to our homeland security,” in light of upcoming midterm elections. 

fact sheet published on the DHS website defines disinformation as, “false information that is deliberately spread with the intent to deceive or mislead.”

[RELATED: University launches free speech program, requires faculty training]

Critics of the newly instituted board take issue with the vague language used to describe disinformation, allowing for the potential of censoring opposing political speech.

Former Democratic Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard compared the new DHS board to the “Ministry of Truth” referencing the George Orwell book, 1984, and likening the board to policies of dictators in a May 3 tweet.

In an Apr. 29 tweet, US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AK) mirrored Gabbard’s 1984 reference, and continued, calling the board “unconstitutional and unamerican.” The senator also stated his intention to introduce a bill that would defund the board. 

The DHS fact sheet states “the Disinformation Governance Board… was established with the explicit goal of ensuring [civil rights, civil liberties, and privacy] are appropriately incorporated across DHS’s disinformation-related work.”

[RELATED: Campus ‘bro culture’ is racist, according to university’s ‘Self-Education’ webpage]

The announcement comes shortly after Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter was accepted. Many leftist professors have been outraged over Musk’s commitment to free speech surrounding the social media platform.

Campus Reform often reports on the hostility towards free speech that is present on many college campuses across the country. 

In 2021, Campus Reform reported on an “Inclusive Language Guide” released by Florida International University (FIU), that instructed students to “replace the term ‘man’ in words that are exclusive of gender,” replacing terms like freshman, manhole, man-made, and manpower with more inclusive terms. 

A research guide published at the University of Minnesota had the stated goal of “conducting research through an anti-racism lens.” The guide claimed that statistics, along with search algorithms like Google’s are racist, according to a Campus Reform report

According to a 2021 Campus Reform report, The College of Lake County in Illinois sent out a disclaimer warning students they may be triggered by speaker Elisha Krauss, who was set to be hosted by the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter.

Campus Reform reported last year that a University of Oklahoma staff workshop showed professors how to censor “hate speech” in the classroom without repercussions.

The Point Park University Office of Equity and Inclusion sent an email threatening those who don’t use preferred pronouns, saying “action could be taken,” according to an exclusive Campus Reform report.

The University of North Dakota and The University of Toledo have both proposed gender inclusion policies that would mandate all aspects of university life be guided by a student’s preferred gender, potentially allowing for dorms and restrooms to be chose regardless of biological sex, and under threat of punishment from the universities for non-compliance, according to two Campus Reform reports.

Campus Reform report showed that the University of Virginia removed gendered pronouns from their constitution in 2021.

In many cases, universities go beyond free speech constraints and specifically target conservative organizations.

In 2021, Campus Reform covered two Turning Point USA chapters that were suspended due to supposed hate speech. At Emerson College, the university took action over stickers that said “China kinda sus,” claiming that it promoted bigotry towards Asians. The chapter at Bethany College was canceled. The administration cited “hate speech” and “harassment.”

The College Republicans chapter at Saint Louis University was penalized after a video asking the question “what is a woman?,” with the administration calling the video “inappropriate conduct,” according to another Campus Reform report.

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