DeVos decries lack of free speech on campuses, says US has ‘abandoned truth’
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Monday lamented what she sees as a lack of free speech on college campuses, and said Americans have “abandoned truth.”
DeVos was addressing high school and college students at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for Constitution Day.
In her remarks, DeVos criticized university administrators, suggesting that officials are silencing unpopular views in a “patronizing” way.
“[Universities] too often attempt to shield students from ideas they subjectively decide are hateful or offensive or injurious or ones they just don’t like,” she said in her speech, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “This patronizing practice assumes students are incapable of grappling with, learning from or responding to ideas with which they disagree.”
She also said that Americans have “abandoned truth,” instead seeing truth and objectivity as a personal point of view, according to Bloomberg.
The secretary said that conservative speakers have been prevented from expressing their views at universities, and said that she has had similar experiences, referencing a “heckler’s veto,” according to the Inquirer.
DeVos has faced a number of protests during her time as education secretary.
She called on students to engage with each other in person on difficult topics, and also encouraged them to “develop an interior life. Be still, pray, reflect, review, contemplate.”
“It’s easy to be nasty hiding behind screens and Twitter handles,” she said. “It’s not so easy when we are face to face.”