Who gets to engage in free speech?

WASHINGTON – Conservative millennials feel as if freedom of speech is reserved for liberals, leaving their voices unheard. Conservative millennials raise the question of ‘who can engage in the freedom of speech on collegiate campuses’ during the Washington Examiner’s Campus Free Speech event.

The panel centered around Conservative Radio Host and Panelist, Dennis Prager’s documentary, “No Safe Spaces.”

Moderated by Lauren Cooley, the Red Alert Politics Editor for the Washington Examiner and a recent graduate from the University of Miami, the Campus Free Speech event discussed campus safe spaces and controversies faced by collegiate Republicans since the election of Donald Trump.

In the past year, there have been multiple incidences where conservative speakers or thinkers have visited college campuses only for their visit to be cut short by violence.

At DePaul University in July 2016, conservative speaker, Milo Yiannopoulos was hit with a microphone by a student protester then banned from the campus. Students at Kellogg Community College were arrested for handing out copies of the constitution. These students were members of Young Americans for Liberty; a pro-libertarian organization focused on educating peers of their Libertarian values. The group is endorsed by former politician, Ron Paul R-Tex.

“You can push back against ideas, but do not necessarily attack the individual” stated Marcus Fotenos, a Junior and Conservative Student Leader at the University of Colorado, Boulder. 

Fotenos believes the best problem-solving happens best through the synthesis of ideas from both the left and the right. However, the behavior witnessed across collegiate campuses leaves students with little to no solutions.

Events catered to Conservative students are becoming so violent that universities like Texas A&M are changing their policies on guest speakers. The school has introduced so-called "security fees" that conservative students say is a tactic to suppress their freedom of speech.

“What we’ve seen with some of these figures coming to campus is threats of violence, threats of shutting them [events] down and then the university coming up with a demand that the organization that’s sponsoring the event pay a hefty fee that the organization cannot afford” stated Roger Ream, president of the Fund for American Studies.

Ream, as well as others on the panel, believe that it is essential that people with various beliefs and values be afforded the opportunities to hear each other out. Due to threats of violence, many conservative speakers are shunned from collegiate campuses and prevented from engaging in meaningful conversation.

The documentary is currently in production and will feature the discussions from this panel.