WASHINGTON, DC (WJHL) – The first amendment protects free speech – even when groups of people may find a message offensive. On Thursday, Congress met to discuss how that applies to college campuses.
Recently, protests seeking to shut down controversial speakers turned violent on several college campuses and now universities are forced to spend big bucks to secure certain events.
“How can we secure this constitutional right while also making sure universities where everyone can feel safe?” said Patty Murray, Washington – Democrat.
The Senate Education Committee heard from University Officials and other experts about free speech on campus.
“Political life and discourse in the United States is at a boiling point and nowhere is the reaction to that more heightened than on college campuses,” said Richard Cohen, Southern Poverty Law Center.
During the hearing, Democrats blamed President Donald Trump for fueling the discord.
“Today in America we have a president to every day, day after day attacks the free press in America,” said Senator Michael Bennett, Colorado – Democrat.
Republican Committee Chari Lamar Alexander accused college campuses of being intolerant to certain ideas.
“It’s usually voices of conservative speakers and professors that are being squelched,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Tennessee – Republican.
In the wake of controversy — some propose congress enact a mandate to guarantee free speech.
Others favor new laws to block speech that could incite violence.