The goal of protecting free speech on college and university campuses is being stymied by an army of “speech bullies” whose role is to block “hurt feelings,” according to the education secretary.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Wednesday the speech SWAT teams are at 200 schools and interfere with learning and helping students interact with ideas they might not agree with.
Referring to the University of Michigan’s recent decision to dismantle its Bias Response Team, she said the school still had the Inclusive Campus Corps, and other schools are also policing talk.
“The school still employs 76 diversity-related administrators who cost taxpayers and students more than $10 million in compensation every year. They focus on every kind of diversity except a diversity of ideas,” she said.
“And the University of Michigan isn’t alone. More than 200 other colleges and universities still have teams of speech bullies with the power to punish perpetrators of hurt feelings,” said DeVos in a speech to the Independent Women’s Forum, which presented her with the Woman of Valor award.
The education secretary said that free speech must be protected on campuses, even if it hurts feelings.
“Feelings are important, but learning isn’t about feelings. It’s about thinking. And it’s a willingness to engage with any and all ideas — even ones with which you disagree or ones that aren’t your own,” she said according to a copy of her speech shared with Secrets.
“This administration won’t let students be silenced. We stand with their right to speak and with their right to learn truth. Truth can be pursued, and it can be known. Students of all ages need the freedom to seek it,” she added.