U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) launched the Senate Campus Free Speech Caucus to defend the rights of students on college campuses. This caucus is part of a larger bicameral effort alongside the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) to protect free speech. Senators Blackburn and Cotton were joined by Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), and John Boozman (R-Ark.).
In addition to the Senate Campus Free Speech Caucus, Senator Blackburn and Cotton introduced the Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2021 and Campus Free Speech Restoration Act.
The Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2021 urges greater First Amendment protection at public universities. Senators Blackburn and Cotton introduced this legislation alongside Senators Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
The Campus Free Speech Restoration Act would protect the First Amendment rights of students at public universities from improperly restrictive speech-codes. Senators Blackburn and Cotton introduced this legislation along with Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.).
“Free speech is under attack on college campuses,” said Blackburn. “We must fight to ensure that our students are not silenced because of their political views. That is why I am spearheading multiple efforts alongside Senator Cotton and our colleagues to champion essential freedoms for students in Tennessee and across the nation.”
“Universities should encourage a variety of viewpoints—but today, colleges and students often silence classmates and faculty who disagree with ideas like Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project. Senator Blackburn and I started The Campus Free Speech Caucus to return free speech to higher education across the country,” said Cotton.
“The right to freedom of speech is our most fundamental right as Americans, and I’m proud to join the Campus Free Speech Caucus to fight back against suppression of free speech on college campuses and ensure our students’ First Amendment rights are not being trampled upon,” said Braun.
“College campuses should be encouraging debate and for students to exchange political views—not silencing and punishing those they disagree with. We must fight for this foundational right to free speech for our next generation, not give into the wokeness on college campuses,” said Daines.
“Free speech is guaranteed in our Constitution. It should be revered on our college campuses. Sadly, this is where it’s most at risk,” Young America’s Foundation President Governor Scott Walker said. “The Campus Free Speech Caucus will help us fight back and ensure all voices can be heard on campus!”
A 2020 Gallup-Knight Foundation study revealed that eighty-one percent of students support a campus environment where students are exposed to all types of speech, even if they may find it offensive.
A 2019 poll conducted by Young America’s Foundation revealed that forty-six percent of students stopped themselves from sharing their ideas in the classroom.