Biden Administration to Reverse Trump-Era Free Speech Rights in Education

The Biden Administration’s Department of Education (DOE) is making plans to reverse Title IX regulations that had been implemented by the Trump Administration to more greatly protect free speech rights in education.

The Daily Caller reports that the soon-to-be-unveiled rewrite by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), focusing on Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, will roll back the Trump-era rules dictating that public schools, from K-12 to college, must investigate claims of sexual misconduct in a fair an unbiased manner. The rules implemented by President Trump allowed greater rights to both the accused and the accuser in such cases, including the right to be represented by counsel, the ability to cross examine witnesses, and the presumption of innocence.

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Commentary: Inflation Can’t Be Censored

An increasingly disturbing feature of American politics is the routine suppression of major news stories that reflect poorly on candidates favored by the Fourth Estate. The most egregious example in recent years occurred in October of 2020 when corporate news outlets and social media platforms colluded to bury a New York Post article on Hunter Biden. Fortunately, some stories just aren’t susceptible to such censorship. Inflation is a case in point. It can’t be hidden from the voters because soaring prices shout the bad news from every grocery store shelf and gas pump in the nation.

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Commentary: Congress Authorized DHS and CISA’s ‘Disinformation Governance Board’ Activities in 2018

In 2018, Congress unanimously passed legislation, H.R. 3359, that authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to disseminate information to the private sector including Big Tech social media companies in a bid to combat disinformation by potential foreign and domestic terrorists.

According to the agency’s website, CISA says it “rout[es] disinformation concerns” to “appropriate social media platforms”: “The [Mis, Dis, Malinformation] MDM team serves as a switchboard for routing disinformation concerns to appropriate social media platforms and law enforcement.”

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Report: Over Half of Colleges Encourage Students to Snitch on Each Other

Over half of the U.S.’s private and public colleges encourage students to snitch on each other, according to a report released Monday by a free speech non-profit.

Of the 821 higher education institutions surveyed, 56% of them are reported to have some form of a “Bias Reporting System” (BRS), according to the report from Speech First (SF), a free speech member organization. The report surveyed 441 private schools, or 23% of all private four year colleges in the U.S. and 380 public schools, or 49% of the country’s four-year public universities.

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Free Speech Criticism Has Unlikely Source: The Press

When the far-right website Infowars was banned by all the major tech platforms in 2018, mainstream media outlets didn’t come to the defense of founder Alex Jones, whom they described as a conspiracy theorist.

Two years later, the same outlets had a similar non-response when Big Tech imposed another media ban — this one on the New York Post, one of America’s oldest and most well-established newspapers.

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Commentary: Twitter Is Not a Business, It’s a Political Operation

Person holding phone up with Twitter sign up page on smart phone.

Here’s your first clue Twitter is not really a business with a fiduciary duty to maximize shareholder value – when Elon Musk made a public offer to buy the company for $54.20 a share (roughly $40 billion) the company’s management not only turned down the offer, but began to work on a poison pill defense aimed solely at Mr. Musk, who is already Twitter’s largest shareholder.

According to reporting by the New York Times, some investors and Wall Street analysts said that Mr. Musk’s offer of $54.20 a share was too low, and that he would need to go to at least $60 a share to appeal to shareholders. That would be 25 percent higher than the share price when Mr. Musk announced this month that he had acquired a 9 percent stake in Twitter.

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Commentary: Ohio Professor Wins Settlement in ‘Preferred Pronoun’ Case

In a refreshing religious liberty result from the world of academia, free speech won and preferred pronouns lost.

A professor at Shawnee State University, in Portsmouth, Ohio, will be able to honor his conscience as a Christian who believes God created human beings as male and female and that a person’s sex cannot change, and will not be required by the school to compromise that belief when addressing students.

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Elon Musk Named to Twitter Board of Directors

In a move that has sent shockwaves through Silicon Valley, Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk, who became Twitter’s largest shareholder Monday, will now be a member of the company’s board of directors.

“I’m excited to share that we’re appointing [Musk] to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,” Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal said Tuesday. 

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Musk Takes 9 Percent Stake in Twitter amid Speculation Buy Will Lead to ‘Active Stake,’ Stocks Soar

Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has questioned Twitter’s commitment to free speech, has taken a 9% stake in the social media platform, making him its largest shareholder.

Musk bought 73.5 million shares worth $2.9 billion, based on the closing price Friday, the Associated Press reported Monday.

However, what Musk intends to do as a result of the purchase remains unclear.

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Hundreds of Yale Students Protest Free Speech Event Featuring Progressive and Conservative Speakers

A free speech event hosted at Yale University that featured both conservative and progressive speakers was shouted down last week by over 100 far-left radicals from the university’s law school.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, the panel was hosted on March 10th by the Yale Federalist Society, and featured Monica Miller of the left-wing American Humanist Association, and Kristen Waggoner of the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom. The purpose of the panel was to demonstrate that even two activists with such different political beliefs could agree on several things when it comes to the assault on freedom of speech in America today, as both groups had been involved in at least one Supreme Court case together dealing with violations of the First Amendment, when the Court sided with a Christian student in a Georgia university who was initially forbidden from preaching on campus.

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TikTok Bans ‘Misgendering’ and ‘Deadnaming’ to Promote ‘Safety’ and ‘Security’

TikTok is banning users from “misgendering” and “deadnaming” others in an effort to improve the social media platform, the company announced Tuesday.

The company announced the new policies in updated community guidelines released Tuesday, saying it will now explicitly ban certain practices classified under the umbrella of “hateful ideologies.”

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Commentary: Can America Citizens Trust the U.S. Government?

aerial view of The Pentagon

Do you trust the U.S. government? I don’t recommend it.

Consider what John Kirby, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said a couple of days ago at a press briefing. “We believe,” Kirby said, that Russia is planning to stage a fake attack by Ukrainian military or intelligence forces against Russian sovereign territory, or against Russian speaking people,” in order to justify an invasion of Ukraine. Kirby had lots of details: “We believe that Russia would produce a very graphic propaganda video, which would include corpses and actors that would be depicting mourners, and images of destroyed locations, as well as military equipment, at the hands of Ukraine or the West.”

Gosh. Should we be worried? Yes. But not necessarily for the reasons that Kirby and his puppet masters want you to be worried. The United States is sending troops and arms to aid Ukraine, so of course there needs to be an emergency to justify that action. John Kirby just outlined a scary scenario. But inquiring minds want to know: What’s his evidence for this dramatic claim?

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Trump’s Entertainment Venture Outperforming All Similar Companies: REPORT

Donald Trump sitting at desk

Former President Donald Trump’s entertainment venture is currently outperforming all other special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), according to a recent market report.

Digital World Acquisition Corp (DWAC), the SPAC used to take Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) public, is outperforming all other SPACs, according to a market analysis by SPAC Research reported by Reuters. The company’s shares ended trading at $73.12 on Friday, giving the company a valuation of roughly $13 billion, according to Reuters.

A SPAC is a company that acquires private companies and lists them publicly on a stock exchange without the private company engaging in an initial public offering (IPO). In this case, Trump used DWAC to take his company public in order to raise funding for his social media venture, TRUTH Social, which he has billed as an alternative to major tech platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

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Commentary: Why I Stopped Donating to Harvard, My Alma Mater

The statue of John Harvard, seen at Harvard Yard

This year, for the first time since graduation some two decades ago, I did not donate to either of my alma maters. Like many of you, I have become disillusioned with the illiberalism on many college campuses and could no longer support them with an annual gift. While higher education has historically tipped to the political left, the gap has widened in recent decades. Analyzing data on faculty ideological leanings, the American Enterprise Institute reported that “in less than 30 years the ratio of liberal identifying faculty to conservative faculty had more than doubled to 5.” 

At Harvard, where I attended graduate school, the faculty political imbalance is particularly striking. According to a 2021 survey by The Harvard Crimson, the college newspaper, out of 236 faculty replies only 7 people said they are “somewhat” or “very conservative,” while 183 respondents indicated that they are “somewhat” or “very liberal.” A similar problem plagues my undergraduate college, Bowdoin. 

The absence of my meager donations won’t matter to the colleges I attended, each of which has billions of dollars in endowment money. But big alumni donors at some leading universities are using their influence to improve free thought and inquiry on college campuses. 

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Commentary: Why I Stopped Donating to Harvard, My Alma Mater

The statue of John Harvard, seen at Harvard Yard

This year, for the first time since graduation some two decades ago, I did not donate to either of my alma maters. Like many of you, I have become disillusioned with the illiberalism on many college campuses and could no longer support them with an annual gift. While higher education has historically tipped to the political left, the gap has widened in recent decades. Analyzing data on faculty ideological leanings, the American Enterprise Institute reported that “in less than 30 years the ratio of liberal identifying faculty to conservative faculty had more than doubled to 5.” 

At Harvard, where I attended graduate school, the faculty political imbalance is particularly striking. According to a 2021 survey by The Harvard Crimson, the college newspaper, out of 236 faculty replies only 7 people said they are “somewhat” or “very conservative,” while 183 respondents indicated that they are “somewhat” or “very liberal.” A similar problem plagues my undergraduate college, Bowdoin. 

The absence of my meager donations won’t matter to the colleges I attended, each of which has billions of dollars in endowment money. But big alumni donors at some leading universities are using their influence to improve free thought and inquiry on college campuses. 

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Commentary: There Is No Room for ‘Privileging Feelings’ in the Marketplace of Ideas

Person holding a phone, group of people taking a photo together

In 2015, the University of Chicago issued a statement, referred to as the “Chicago Statement,” in response to “recent events nationwide that have tested institutional commitments to free and open discourse.”  Through the statement, the University reaffirmed its steadfast commitment to free speech and expression, including its “overarching commitment to free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation among all members of the University’s community.”  

The statement emphasized that:

“[E]ducation should not be intended to make people comfortable, it is meant to make them think. Universities should be expected to provide the conditions within which hard thought, and therefore strong disagreement, independent judgment, and the questioning of stubborn assumptions, can flourish in an environment of the greatest freedom.”  

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Biden’s FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn Wants to ‘Silence Dissent,’ Top Senate Republicans Say

Gigi Sohn

Senate Commerce Republicans are whipping opposition to the nomination of Gigi Sohn, one of President Joe Biden’s picks for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Biden nominated Sohn, former FCC counsel under Tom Wheeler and Ford Foundation alum, to an empty spot on the commission in late October, along with current acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel to the permanent position.

While Republicans have been quiet in their response to the nomination of Rosenworcel, many are pointing to Sohn’s public statements on conservatives as reasons to oppose her confirmation.

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Professor Canceled Because He Wasn’t Upset over a Fake Racial Bias Incident

Steven Earnest

A professor at Coastal Carolina University was canceled after he emailed his department questioning their reaction to a perceived racial bias incident that proved to be baseless.

“Free speech and basic civility are disappearing,” the theater professor Steven Earnest told Campus Reform. “So, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I still am.”

On Sept. 16, a non-White visiting artist working with non-White theatre students at the South Carolina university wrote a list of names on the board so that the students could connect as a group.

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Minnesota School District Requires Teachers to Create ‘Anti-Racist Learning Environments’

South Washington County Schools board meeting

South Washington County Schools now requires teachers to nurture “anti-racist learning environments” as part of the district’s “racial equity journey,” according to an official policy the school board approved earlier this year.

The South Washington County Schools Board unanimously passed a “Racial Equity and Inclusion Policy” at its Aug. 26 meeting. This policy is “riddled with divisive, blatant and vile racism from top to bottom,” said parent Eric Tessmer, who is now running for school board.

“This is racism from top to bottom. I don’t care how you spin it,” he said at the August meeting. “If policies such as this take hold in our communities and in our institutions, this nation is never going to heal, ever. Ideas such as this are toxic to a civil society.”

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Commentary: Break Up Big Tech Before It’s Too Late

With the rise of populist and bipartisan resentment against Big Tech monopolies along with the recent appointment of Big Tech opponent Lina Khan as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, government action against these companies seems imminent. People are waking up to the fact that they have way too much power and are a threat to the American way of life.

As if on cue, prominent conservatives have come to the defense of these monopolies. Most recently, Robert Bork Jr. argued in National Review that breaking up Big Tech would lead to “a slippery slope to the end of capitalism and the rise of political management of the economy.” He agrees with conservatives such as Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who says, “These [anti-monopoly] bills give power to the FTC, the new commissioner we all know is radically left.”

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Poll: Majority of Americans Support Regulating, Breaking Up Big Tech

A majority of Americans believe major tech companies are too powerful, and support the government regulating and breaking them up, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted from June 7 to 12 and released Wednesday by Change Research on behalf of progressive groups CAP Action and Public Citizen, found that 81% of respondents believe Big Tech and social media companies are too powerful, with 73% at least “somewhat convinced” they should be regulated and broken up. Republicans had a less favorable view of tech companies than Democrats and tended to be more supportive of antitrust action.

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Commentary: Alumni Organizations Are Pushing Back on Woke Campuses in Battle for Free Speech

When Davidson College senior Maya Pillai was asked about her greatest college memory, the first-generation immigrant answered, “I don’t have one.”

In an August 2020 interview with the Charlotte Observer, Pillai, the president of Davidson’s chapter of College Republicans, described her alienating college experience.

“Because of my political affiliation, it led to not having friends,” said Pillai, who received a full, merit scholarship to the highly-respected North Carolina institution. “And because it led to not having friends, it led to not having a fair reputation on campus. So I’ve been essentially outcast due to my political views.”

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Commentary: The Battle Against Big Tech Is an Existential Fight for Conservatives

Person holding phone up in Times Square.

For Big Tech billionaires, these are the best of times, and the worst of times.

Why the best? Because the long arm of social media and online commerce has never reached further and deeper into Americans’ culture, spending habits, lifestyles, and worldview. Likewise, the net worth of these billionaires has risen to undreamed-of heights. COVID was, for tech barons, a blessing in disguise: it trapped Americans indoors, where they could do little else but browse the web, consume digital entertainment, and spend their stimulus dollars on imported Chinese doohickeys. Even as the dreaded virus has retreated, Big Tech has successfully locked in its gains.

Why the worst of times, though? The very rise of Big Tech has portended greater scrutiny. The debasement of Big Tech’s competitors and natural enemies—from brick-and-mortar stores to Trump supporters—has ensured that the drumbeat of criticism of social media companies and online retailers has never been more stridently percussive. 

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U.S. Supreme Court Sides with Student in Free Speech Case

Tennessee Star

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of free speech rights for students outside of the classroom in a decision Wednesday.

The court sided with former Mahanoy Area High School student and cheerleader Brandi Levy in the case, formally known as Mahanoy Area School District v B.L., with a 8-1 decision in her favor. Mahanoy Area High School is located in Pennsylvania.

Levy, upset that she had not made her school’s varsity cheer team, posted on the social media site Snapchat a simple message with explicit language expressing her frustration.

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Republicans Debate Breaking up Big Tech After Trump’s Facebook Suspension

Smart phone with Facebook etched out

Many Republicans in Congress have reignited their calls to break up the big tech companies after Facebook announced last week they would maintain the suspension of former President Donald Trump’s account.

A new poll released by Rasmussen Friday found that 59% of likely voters “believe operators of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are politically biased in the decisions they make” with only 26% disagreeing. The rest are unsure.

The poll results went on to say that “a majority of voters now favor ending legal protections for social media companies.” The reported public opinion against the tech giants comes the same week Facebook announced they would keep Trump suspended from their platform, citing his alleged role in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.

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At Princeton, a Racial Reckoning and a Free Speech Battle

In 2015, Princeton University became the second higher-education institution to sign the University of Chicago Statement supporting campus free speech. Yet, five years later, Princeton professor Keith E. Whittington wrote that the university stood “on the front lines” of the battle over speech. Those battle lines were drawn this summer by students and faculty demanding the adoption of “anti-racist” policies, which some on campus say run counter to free speech and open inquiry.

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Commentary: How to Restrain Big Tech Immediately

A year ago, University of Georgia professor Cas Mudde took to Twitter and asked: “How do you manage to stay informed about political news and stay mentally balanced?” In his next tweet, he confessed too much time on social media was contributing to anxiety and depression.

With this, Mudde expressed a sentiment many social media users share. As we discuss policy issues tied to social media—tech regulation, free speech, foreign influence—we shouldn’t lose sight of the damaging psychological effects of today’s information environment. You may not want to hear this a week before the election, but social media addiction is a public health issue. Big Tech is the new Big Tobacco.

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Campus Survey: 42 Percent of Students Say Their College Doesn’t Empower Free Speech

Conservative students on college campuses across the U.S. are more likely to self-censor than their more liberal classmates out of fear of backlash or retribution, according to a first-of-its-kind student survey commissioned by RealClearEducation and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

The survey is the largest of its kind – canvasing 20,000 students at 55 U.S. colleges and universities about their experiences with free speech on campuses. Conducted by College Pulse, the survey ranks schools according to how open and tolerant students say they are, among several other criteria, and includes numerous student comments about their experiences.

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Free Speech Group Warns University After it Allowed Black Lives Matter Protest but Banned Other Gatherings

A free speech advocacy group has sent two letters to East Carolina University after the public college banned gatherings of more than 50 students, but allowed a Black Lives Matter protest on campus.

Southeastern Legal Foundation sent a letter to the North Carolina public university on September 16 seeking information on its enforcement of its coronavirus policies. After receiving no response, the public interest law group sent a follow-up letter on September 24.

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Commentary: Is Free Speech at Stake in November?

The phenomenon of “cancel culture” is a real and growing threat to free speech in America. This rapidly rising threat has caught many Americans off guard.

Since the rise of the nation-state, almost all the serious threats to freedom of speech have come from government or government sponsored agencies. However, this current threat is not from the government – at least not yet.

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‘Walking on Eggshells’: 62 Percent of Americans Are Afraid to Express Political Views, Survey Finds

Self-censorship is on the rise according to a new Cato Institute survey that reports nearly two-thirds of Americans are afraid to share their political views.

A new CATO Institute/YouGov national survey found 62% of Americans say the political climate today prevents them from saying what they believe. This is up several points from 2017 when 58% of Americans said they were afraid to share their political beliefs.

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Commentary: Big Tech’s Escalating War on Free Speech

On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld 9-0 the right to freedom of speech, including “hate speech.” As Justice Samuel Alito wrote for the court: “The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.” Justice Anthony Kennedy added in a concurring opinion: “A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all.”

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Hawley Calls For Investigation into Officials Favoring Protests While Targeting Religion

Republican Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley called for an investigation into free speech double-standards, saying that state officials have favored protests while targeting religious freedom.

He asked Attorney General William Barr and the Department of Justice to launch a “full civil rights investigation” into violations of “free exercise and free speech rights of religious Americans” in a Tuesday letter.

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Senators Ask State Department to Monitor Free Speech Violations Concerning Coronavirus in China, Other Countries

Several senators across the United States have called on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Kelly Craft to address concerns about free speech violations in several countries around the world.

Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) submitted the letter on Monday, pointing to crackdown on free speech concerning the coronavirus in China, as well as in Turkey, Bangladesh, Niger and Cambodia, as a reason for concern.

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Trump Activists Mobbed on Ohio University Campus While Officers Watched

Two conservative activists were mobbed and harassed Monday on Ohio University’s Athens campus while multiple police officers watched.

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Ellison Suggests Creating ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Program to Monitor Online Speech

Attorney General Keith Ellison hosted a day-long summit on hate crimes Wednesday at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul where he floated the idea of creating a countering violent extremism, or CVE, program for monitoring online speech.

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How College Students Really Feel About Free Speech on Campus

by Kaylee Greenlee   A new survey finding that college students generally support free speech also shows what for some is a worrisome divide over what students value more: an “inclusive society” that “welcomes diverse groups” or protecting “the extremes of free speech.” The Knight Foundation’s “Free Expressions of College…

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Trump’s Executive Order to Colleges: Protect Free Speech or Risk Billions in Federal Grants

by Fred Lucas   Polly Olson, a student at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, last year handed out homemade Valentine cards on her campus with Christian messages until college officials told her she was restricted to a “free speech zone.” On Thursday, Olson told her story at the White House before…

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Arizona Lawmakers Stand Up for Students Wearing ‘MAGA’ Gear in Dispute With High School

by Ginny Montalbano   Some Arizona lawmakers are raising free speech concerns after a group of students and parents said high school officials called on students to remove pro-Trump “Make America Great Again” gear. The incident occurred March 1 when Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona, hosted its “Party in…

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Facebook, Google Tools Reveal New Political Ad Tactics

  Public databases that shine a light on online political ads – launched by Facebook and Google before Tuesday’s U.S. elections – offer the public the first broad view of how quickly the companies yank advertisements that break their rules. The databases also provided campaigns unprecedented insight into opponents’ online…

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Analysis: California’s Bill Establishing the ‘Internet Social Media Advisory Group’ Could Run Afoul of the First Amendment

California is one step away from going down the unconstitutional road of government-mandated censorship of Internet speech. The California Senate and State Assembly recently passed S.B. 1424, the “Internet: social media: advisory group” act. This fake news advisory act is now on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. According…

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