Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest generation, according to the US Census Bureau, creating what is soon-to-be the largest voting bloc in the nation. With 40% of Millennials still in school, and 90% of today’s high school students planning to pursue education beyond secondary school, higher education is the key to shaping the most influential political “minority.” Tackling the rampant anti-American culture of our education system must be a central part of President-elect Trump’s plan to Make America Great Again.
Here are 6 key changes for Higher Education that President Trump should tackle in his first 100 Days:
1. End all free speech zones, opening up the entirety of campus for use and practice of the First Amendment. On most campuses, students’ expressive activities are unreasonably restricted through unconstitutional speech codes which quarantine expressive activity to small slivers of campus. In many cases, these speech codes require prior approval for use, or impose excessive security fees for controversial speech. Federal judges have ruled to overturn campus designated First Amendment zones and open campus to nondisruptive freedom of expression. This should be applied and enforced at public institutions across the country.
2. Abolish safe spaces with the exception of health centers for assault victims, and confidential meeting spaces for counseling. Rigorous debate, discussion, and disagreement may be challenging and even make students feel uncomfortable. However, fostering a free exchange of ideas with the purpose of exploration and expansion is the chief purpose of education. Retreating from ideas different than one’s own should not be encouraged on campus. In fact, designated zones for intellectual safety and closed-mindedness should be abolished. The removal of safe spaces would encourage greater diversity, recommiting higher education to the pursuit of academic freedom.
3. Withdraw federal funding from any public college or university that takes down and bans the American flag. Whereas the burning of the American flag is considered free speech for individual citizens, institutions of higher education which receive public funding . should be forced to comply with federal rules of respect for our country, and their primary funder.
4. Hold public colleges and universities accountable to the rule of law, denying funding if a campus operates as a sanctuary campus for illegal aliens. President-elect Trump has put a heavy focus on ending sanctuary cities, and this focus should include sanctuary campuses which are run by public employees and paid for in large part by taxpayers’ dollars. As of now, many state universities give full ride scholarships to illegal aliens, while young American citizens go into debt to pay for an education. Furthermore, the federal government has granted temporary legal status for undocumented students through DACA and many universities have departments on campus which cater to illegal immigrants navigating the American campus structure. Public institutions of higher education, often times communities in their own right, should be treated no differently than towns and cities breaking the law.
5. Add "political ideology" to the list of protected classes on campus. As it currently stands, gender, race, religion, and age are all protected classes. However, diversity in the sense of political inclination is not recognized. Deeming political ideology a protected class would protect sanctity of conscience for minority thought leaders on campus - both professors and students - and would allow political minorities a legal response to discrimination on campus.
6. Lower the cost of college by applying common sense reforms. President-elect Trump has mentioned his intention to reduce or remove the government's role in student lending, a plan that would stop the circular influx of government cash to fund the increasing cost of a government product. This overhaul of the federal loan program would open up opportunities for private lenders and force colleges to cut back on superfluous spending. A market-driven approach would also better determine students' abilities to repay loans and therefore lessen students’ overborrowing. Congress could also pass a law in which institutions of higher education lose their tax exempt status if they don’t properly use endowments to keep costs down for students.
As the Trump Administration works to drain the swamp in Washington DC, they would be wise to drain the swamp on our college campuses. Higher education has long been neglected by a federal agenda, allowing anti-American academics to infiltrate and indoctrinate a generation of Americans, while taking them for a financial ride. Republicans will control Congress, so these reforms should be agreeable to all governing parties. It’s the campus bureaucrats who will have a difficult time complying to proposed changes. However, perhaps that shows just how badly these legislative reforms are needed.
If President Trump follows these steps, we will see a dramatic shift in campus culture and eventually in the viewpoints and patriotism of the Millennial generation.