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“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Those words, written down by our founding fathers, allow us to protest, to create petitions and to practice any religion. They also allow us to bring speakers to college campuses, an issue that has recently been thrown to the front of campus politics across the country.

On March 21, Trump issued executive order 13864, titled “Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities.” The White House website describes this as a way to “enhance the quality of post-secondary education by making it more affordable, more transparent, and more accountable.”

This executive order was signed because people feel that conservative voices are suppressed on college campuses. It plays into the theory that our “liberal” campuses are indoctrinating us with beliefs.

In a way, they are.

College campuses today are promoting diversity and inclusion, and there is nothing wrong with that. Some may call that “liberal,” but we call that the right thing to do. 

When Trump signed the order, he was surrounded by students and told them that people can have different views, “but they have to let you speak.”

To be very clear, we are not opposed to conservative speakers on college campuses. Colleges are a place for growth, education and being open to new ideas. In order to learn, students should hear multiple different perspectives and be challenged with new ideas. 

Our issue is when certain groups are targeted by a speaker, or security is at risk. When a group brings in a “controversial” speaker, there are security costs associated with that. Our universities should not be allowing speakers who preach against the LGBTQ community, against blacks or any minority group, and they should definitely not foot security-related bills for them.

Being gay is not a choice. Being black is not a choice. Being a white supremacist is a choice, and they have no right to be given a platform to preach hate, and we have the moral responsibility to stop that hate.

Pressuring universities by holding onto their pocketbooks to bring in such speakers is not only wrong, it is a violation of the First Amendment. Placing a requirement on types of speakers that a university must allow not only forces students to bring someone to their campus they may not want but who can be a security risk. Our student body should be allowed to determine what types of speakers we should hear from, and thankfully, our university has avoided this controversy and continues to follow the Beneficence Pledge.

- 2018-19 Ball State Democrats Executive Board