Betsy Devos – on topic article

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos answered questions about free speech on college campuses at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday. The Secretary came out strongly in support of free speech, arguing that it is fundamental to an enriching college experience. She described free speech on college campuses as an issue that is “timely and serious” and must be “addressed from a multitude of angles.”


On stage at the conference, Mrs. DeVos noted a disturbing rise in campus censorship. She noted the country has, “Seen more and more examples on college campuses in recent years of shutting down free and open expression and debate around ideas.” She also drew on her own college experience, explaining that college was a time where she felt able test old thoughts and try new ideas. She made clear her belief that college students should enjoy the freedom of expression and that she feels campus communications have become more and more controlled.


Mrs. DeVos affirmed the administration’s commitment to free speech on college campuses. Though Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been outspoken on specific college free-speech cases, Mrs. DeVos kept her comments to the general principle of free speech on college campuses and her belief that freedom of speech results in positive outcomes.


Also on Thursday, Mrs. DeVos joined with democratic congressional members in calling for Congress to hold hearings in the wake of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.


The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School killed 17 students. The alleged gunman is a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student who had been expelled for violent misconduct. The killer used the same type of semiautomatic rifle as the Sandy Hook killer. Since the shooting, previous concerns about the suspect’s mental health have come to light, including reports to the local police and FBI that he was planning a mass shooting and had obtained an assault rifle.


Despite the large number of school shootings across America in recent years, Congress has yet to take legislative action. After the Parkland massacre, citizens across the country have called for stricter gun control laws and mental health measures to help prevent future tragedies. Mrs. DeVos has joined the calls for congressional action.


On a Thursday radio show with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Mrs. DeVos called for, “much more robust conversations around tracking and tackling mental health issues.” Mrs. DeVos did not offer a specific policy proposal, though she said, “Congress needs to hold hearings on the issues.” She also stated that Congress needed to take action that would allow it to impact the future.


President Trump appointed Mrs. DeVos Education Secretary in 2017. A native of Michigan, Mrs. DeVos has devoted many decades to the cause of education in her native state and across the country. She has championed the use of vouchers for private schools and advocated for parent’s to have more choice in where their children are schooled.


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