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Free speech or license to discriminate?
In response to fringe, far-right speakers often facing student protests, conservative legislators in many states are pushing “campus free speech” legislation. Two think tanks funded in part by the Koch brothers and Robert Mercer created a model bill, on which many of the state bills are based, that calls for harsh penalties, including expulsion, for students who disrupt guest speaking events.
While enabling hate speech at colleges and universities, billionaire mega-donors are cracking down on students who publicly object to such speech. Meanwhile, the same wealthy conservatives’ family foundations fund ideological higher ed programs that serve their business interests. The Charles Koch Foundation, for example, gave $142 million to hundreds of colleges and universities from 2005 to 2015, largely toward free-market centers, professorships and courses. From these programs, Koch-funded think tanks and political groups recruit their favorite students to join the Kochs’ mass libertarian sociopolitical movement.
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