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Op-Ed: The ASSU tries to chill free speech

This past week, the ASSU debated a bill authored by the Director of Academic Freedom, Zintis Inde, that would force every student club to include a mandatory 120-word statement on all advertisements for their event. A paragraph-long statement may have to be included in every email, flyer and Facebook post regarding a speaker your club brings in the future, if this bill passes. If a club forgets to include the statement just four times over the span of two years, it could receive a “one year ban on funding,” according to an early draft of the bill. The statement itself is pretty basic: it notes that the ASSU does not necessarily endorse the speakers it funds, while simultaneously supports the value of free speech in campus dialogue. Even if we set aside for the moment the ethics of compelling groups to include this lengthy statement, one must question the necessity of the requirement itself.

In response to Trump’s proposed executive order

On Saturday, President Trump announced  his intention to issue an executive order requiring American universities to maintain “free speech” on their campuses and threatened to withdraw federal funding from noncompliant institutions. Practical considerations aside – it’s not clear how this plan would be enacted – Trump’s message should trouble Stanford students because of the ways it mischaracterizes the state of free speech at schools like our own. These mischaracterizations feed into a narrative that has the potential to stifle, rather than protect, free speech on Stanford’s campus.