Early this morning, the U.S. Senate held a hearing regarding the state of free speech on college campuses in light of the recent rash of violent protests fueled by political correctness gone berserk. The hearing, titled “Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses” sought to gain insight on how to best tackle this increasingly contemptuous environment. A panel of students and free speech experts spoke before the committee, as Senators also put in their two cents.

Regardless of whatever conclusion comes of the Senate’s hearing, the question on what the government’s role should be in this situation is a tricky. While on the one hand, I don’t believe government, federal or state, should have ever involved itself with America’s education system in the first place. On a constitutional basis, it’s a state-based issue as the federal government has no authority over education. On the other hand, I recognize that is the scenario we currently live under and while private universities and colleges have every right to determine their own speech codes, public universities don’t share in that luxury. As public universities receive government funds and are in essence, entities of the government, they are bound by its same limits. Therefore, if the government has any legitimate function, it’s to issue the equal protection of individual rights.

In any instance, free speech, even speech that’s quite offensive and hurtful, must be protected, with or without government involvement (preferably without). And the more university administrators continue to give in to this climate of political correctness in response to violence and intimidation, the more damage will be done against the rights of students to speak freely.

For more thoughts on liberty, check out my blog at Libertyonthemind.com!