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Trump’s new executive order has to do with free speech rights on campus -- so why are some 1st Amendment advocates worried?

University of California, Berkeley students march through campus as part of an
University of California, Berkeley students march through campus as part of an "open university" strike in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement November 15, 2011 in Berkeley, California.
Max Whittaker/Getty Images

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President Donald Trump is expected to order U.S. colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal funding.

White House officials say Trump on Thursday will sign an executive order requiring colleges to certify that their policies support free speech as a condition of receiving federal research grants.

Trump initially proposed the idea during a March 2 speech to conservative activists. The Republican president highlighted the case of activist Hayden Williams, who was punched in the face while recruiting at the University of California, Berkeley.

Berkeley and other colleges have countered that they already have policies protecting free speech and don't need an executive order.

The new order will not jeopardize schools' access to student financial aid that covers tuition.

Officials say implementation details will be worked out in the coming months.

With files from the Associated Press.


Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative not-for-profit institution dedicated to research and education on issues of government, politics, economics and social welfare

Alexander Volokh, associate professor of law at Emory and chair of the school’s Committee for Open Expression, an on-campus free speech organization