Team Trump meets with national college organization to talk free speech

Senior members of President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team met with the head of a conservative student group this week to discuss free speech issues,  Young Americans for Liberty Executive Director Cliff Maloney Jr. told TheBlaze.

Maloney said the group discussed YAL’s nationwide campaign to fight for free speech rights on public college campuses as well as how the Trump administration will protect the First Amendment.

“Based on his previous statements on free speech and freedom of the press, many are worried about First Amendment protections under a President Trump,” Maloney told TheBlaze. “There is no better way to prove the critics wrong by addressing free speech limitations on college campuses.”

Maloney said it was the first time he’s personally met with members of Trump’s team and applauded the president-elect for seeking “out a coalition of young minds to bring in new ideas into the administration.”

He also noted that the transition team was “very receptive” toward YAL’s campaign to eradicate free speech blocks on college campuses.

Groups such as YAL and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education often go to war with public universities over what they see as the stifling of free speech — which include speech zones, banning student clubs because of a political affiliation or barring controversial speakers or events from campus.

In an op-ed for Time in October, Maloney detailed multiple instances of free speech restrictions on college campuses:

When rolling an inflated free-speech ball around campus, students at the University of Delaware were halted by campus police for their activities. A Young Americans for Liberty leader at Fairmont State University in West Virginia was confronted by security when he was attempting to speak with other students about the ideas he believes in. A man at Clemson University was barred from praying on campus because he was outside of the free-speech zone. And a student at Blinn College in Texas abolished her campus’ free-speech zone in a lawsuit after administrators demanded she seek special permission to advocate for self-defense.

Earlier this month, FIRE said it fielded 908 case submissions from students and faculty members for help fighting for their rights with include: freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty and sanctity of conscience.

“The Trump team values constructive dialogue about the issues facing this great nation,” Maloney said.

“As he takes office, we will hold the administration accountable to ensure the First Amendment is respect and protected — not just on college campuses, but everywhere in America,” he added.

Trump came under fire this week for his treatment of CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta during a press conference. After lambasting the news network for reporting on a controversial intelligence document, Trump refused to answer his questions.

Conservative pundit S.E. Cupp called on the press Thursday to “unite” together should Trump treat the media unfairly.

The Trump transition team did not respond to a request for comment regarding this meeting.

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