Free Speech, Giving Students Their Voices Back On College Campuses: North Carolina Lt. Governor Dan Forest passes legislation to protect students’ First Amendment Rights at Universities.
Air Date: 10/09/2017
Guests: Lt. Gov Dan Forest, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
You’ve found yourself at the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re discussing today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and culture all from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective
That conversation today is with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Also with Tim Barton, president of WallBuilders and national speaker and pastor.
My name’s Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator. Check out our websites at WallBuildersLive.com and also WallBuilders.com. A wealth of resources at both websites.
Later in the program, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest from North Carolina will be with us so stay tuned for that.
When we get to it right now with David and Tim and guys, obviously culture war is often the arena of ideas and we think of college campuses a lot for that. That used to be a place where you really debated things and it was the free flow of ideas. You respected the other person and had discussions. Kind of that come let us reason together. Now it’s more like come follow me or else you’re kicked off campus or you have one little corner of the campus where you can say what you believe but it’s not the way it used to be.
Well, you used the word “debate.” Rick, you said that we used to debate things on campus and debate by definition includes two sides or actually more than one side.
what has happened on campuses now is they don’t want to hear more than one side. Matter of fact, you may have seen what happened in Berkeley recently where they set up counseling for anybody who might be offended by hearing Ben Shapiro give a second side.
Berkeley and Ben Shapiro
Now, wait a second. Berkeley said this is not just about Ben Shapiro. I mean this could be all conservative ideas.
Yeah, that’s right.
Let’s not just limited it to this Jewish man coming on campus who apparently this Jew is also a pro-Nazi guy. Apparently, according to Berkeley, which is weird. I don’t think generally Jews supported Nazis.
Yeah, strange thing. Seems odd. But you have to think in order to understand that. At Berkeley is not where they want you thinking.
I wish I could be a fly on the wall in one of those therapy sessions; I don’t know, professor or therapist or whatever. I’m just really– I’m so hurt because he was so smart and sharp that I couldn’t counter any of his arguments; I don’t know how you meet–
Well, now remember, too, that having a conservative thinker on campus was going to be such a problem for Berkeley that– what they put into him $600,000 for security?
Six hundred thousand dollars.
And think about this perspective, too, because that’s a conservative speaker. So who does not support conservatives would be whether you argue with the left, it’s progressives, it’s liberals, the Democrats whoever you want to argue.
Wait a second. You’re putting up six hundred thousand dollars worth of security to protect against people that don’t support this position which is arguably– whether we’re talking about liberals or progressives or Democrats or the left. I thought they are the tolerant ones. Why do we need? Why do we need armed security, $600,000 worth?
Wait why did you call those four different categories? That sounded like you were being redundant.
Yeah, that’s right. It was very similar. Simple nuance.
That’s what you get in a thesaurus. Sorry. You get all these synonyms that go together they all mean the same thing.
So, I’m sorry, Tim. No, you were making the point, though. I mean that doesn’t happen when a left winger speaks on campus. You don’t have to get security guards to protect from the conservatives storming the stage. Right?
No. And I really cannot point to a single incident where that’s happened. But we can point to multiple incidents where you’ve had a conservative voice come into a college campus. And actually, Steven Crowder, Louder with Crowder recently didn’t exposé on ANTIFA and points out how their design and their intention is to be violent at these protests to cause trouble even though most of the national media doesn’t talk about it.
They don’t want to put them in this box. Ultimately, this is the design and intent from people on the other side. They want to violently oppose and suppress any kind of conservative voice.
Now let’s take even from what Tim just said there with ANTIFA and how they want to be violent. What you have right now when you look at why parents say they send their kids to college. There’s a couple. One is they want to be able to get a good job which is not happening right now. Only 27 percent of those who graduate from college find a job and their degree field. So only 27 percent. They’re not getting a good job going to college and are coming out with a lot of debt.
By the way, the average is $37,000 a student to get a degree that he can’t get a job in. we’re paying a lot of state money for the college’s first, then parents, and kids on top of that and come out with something they can’t use. But that’s the number one reason they send their kids to college.
Reasons Parents Send Kids To College
Number two is to help them become active and informed citizens. Now in this particular country where we live, we do have what’s called a Constitution. And to be an active and informed citizen you need to know something about our particular form of government. What you find right now is one thing that you will not get at universities is any kind of First Amendment free speech courses. That just doesn’t happen.
Which is why you have to have security if you want an alternate opinion other than what the professors have. as it exists right now, the free speech stuff on campus it’s about I think the numbers I saw were 53 percent of students at college think there should be serious restrictions on free speech. And 19 percent of the students support violence in response to free speech. So that’s what you get in the colleges. The two things parents sending kids to get at college, they’re not getting.
Well, let me point out one of the reasons that a lot of this behavior is encouraged even by these professors at universities is because they say, “Well we want to make a change. We want to change the system and that’s why people take a knee at the anthem.
So many liberals and college professors praise this behavior from these NFL players because what we’re trying to do is have a voice in the midst of this. Well, if we really do live in the Constitution– which last I checked we do. Although, Rick, as you point out it’s the “court”stitution and out of control judges. But it’s still– we have a Constitution in America. If you want to have students that you are preparing to help them make a difference in culture how about we teach them how city councils and school boards work? How about we teach them how to run for local office, how to work on a campaign, how to get involved in elections, how to elect our representatives who are the ones who set these policies and put these policies in place.
But no, what they’re told is well, the best way to make a change is to have protests. This is the best way to change things is to protest. Well, how about you become an informed citizen? You get engaged. You vote.
We elect new leaders who have new policies and that will change things also according to the Constitution. But because we don’t teach Constitution we don’t even know basic provisions about, “Hey, let’s let’s be an informed citizen and actually vote in this electorate deal we have going on.”
No, we just want to protest and throw a fit. And that’s how we’ll bring change.
Burning NFL Tickets
Rick, in the last week I’ve done a couple of meetings for political entities. I spoke to the one state I spoke to their entire legislative caucus, House members, Senate members, etc., and then went to another state and state Senate there and with the state senator and the meetings he had lined up. As we were talking even about the flag thing, the protest was going on. By and large, the country is not liking that. And as a matter of fact polling shows that 36 percent of viewers are less likely to watch the NFL because of that.
And you have all these lifetime fans that are burning their tickets and jerseys and everything. They don’t like what’s happening there. But I pointed out to the state senators there, that look, what’s happening is every one of these guys that’s taken a knee is a fairly young person. And they’re every one of them kids that have been in college. They were playing football at college before they came to the NFL. What you’re seeing at the NFL is a reflection of what they learned in college. And the senators go, “Oh my gosh! I hadn’t thought of it that way.”
Yeah. This is a reflection – not of the culture necessarily. This is a reflection of what’s being taught in colleges.
That’s right. So you’re saying we shouldn’t be surprised. I mean we should know that for decades.
We should not be surprised. We know polling-wise professors are one of the highest anti-traditional American groups there. They don’t like the nation.
You get all these books, “The Myth of American Exceptionalism” all these things where they attack America saying, “America is not a special country, shouldn’t be a special country. If you consider it a special country you’re nuts.”
And this is what the kids get indoctrinated with– because again, you don’t have that debate on campus you have one side on campus. And if you’re going to have a debate you actually have to provide counseling now for people who might hear the second side. How crazy is that?!
No kidding. Quick break. We’ll be right back.
Again, later in the program, Dan force will be with us– Lieutenant Governor from North Carolina where they’re fixing some of these very problems on campus. Stay with us. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton here as well.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Too often a history education excludes great black heroes from the American founding such as Lemuel Haynes. Haynes, abandoned as a baby, pioneered churches across upper New England.
He became the first black American to pastor a white congregation, to receive an honorary master’s degree, and to be ordained by a mainstream Christian denomination, The Congregationalist.
Black American Hero
He was a soldier during the American Revolution and in his churches on George Washington’s birthday, he regularly preached sermons honoring George Washington. Even late in his life, he expressed his willingness to go back to battle if necessary to protect America which he called a sacred ark.
American History is filled with numerous examples of black heroes who are largely ignored by mainstream education today. For more information about Pastor Lemuel Haynes and other Colonial Patriots go to Wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back. WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us Sharon us live. We’re with David and Tim Barton talking about the whole campus craziness.
And David, you made a great point in last segment about the fact we’ve sown this. We’ve literally had decades now of sending our kids. So they grow up in our churches, in our family, we teach moral values. And as a culture, we’ve sent them off to these colleges because it’s our favorite football team or whatever the reason. And they’ve been indoctrinated with this left wing philosophy and now we’re seeing that distrust or hatred of the American system come out even in these football protests in other areas.
Pro-Family Legislators Conference
Yeah. And by the way Rick, little blurb here. We’re just a few weeks away from the Pro-Family Legislators Conference. And we work already with hundreds of legislators across the nation. Every fall we get together have a conference and we watch things that are going on across the nation. We try to get on the front edge that. Get these guys equipped with model legislation and stuff to go back to their states to work on this.
And this year, one of our big focuses is going to be on the issue of what’s going on in college campuses and how state legislatures can affect that. What they can do. And that’s what we’re going to talk about with Dan Forest in a little bit here.
We’re in a fairly liberal society as it exists right now. But even saying that, when you look at what the courts do with free speech and what the courts define the First Amendment free speech to be what you have is even at a fairly liberal society with protection for whatever we want to call free speech today. Just about five years ago, 90 percent of college campuses would not allow on campus what liberal courts allow and the rest of society.
Now courts have always said that once you get past 18, you’re an adult and therefore, while you can’t have prayer in the classrooms of lower schools you can when you get to university because you’re adult. But they say when you’re in high school you’re not an adult, yet.
So even the court has drawn the standard that when you get to college you’re an adult and you can be exposed to everything else that society can be exposed to. Except, we had about roughly 90% of these universities that had what is called a, “Speech Code.” Now, FIRE, which is the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education, that’s a group that we work with at the Legislators Conference and other times.
They have been able to knock a lot of these down because they keep suing the universe is over it and they keep winning in court. So as of this year we’re down to somewhere between 40 and 49 percent of these universities still having speech codes.
The speech code, there’s several ways they express it. They draw a little five foot box over in the back corner of campus, the hardest corner to get to, they put it under an oak tree, and they say, “This is where you can have free speech,” but nowhere else on campus.
“If you want to talk about pro-life you go back there where nobody can see you and you can talk all day long.” Well, you can’t do that and the rest of society you get even in front of abortion clinics pro-life protesters can be in front of abortion clinics. Even though they’ve got some of these bubble zone laws you still of course are routinely throwing them out.
So, we’re not allowed on campus, the other thing we’re having is what is now called, “Biased Reporting Teams.” What happens with biased reporting teams is, of course University determines what constitutes bias.
Micro aggression, if you say something maybe about one’s gender, or about Islam, or if you say something about liberalism, or anything, if you seem to have a bias toward what the university supports then you can report it.
So, there’s all these signs for students, “See it, hear it, report it.” They’ve got these phone numbers that report bias discrimination. And the problem with this is this is exactly what America was facing before the American Revolution.
Back then we called the Admiralty Courts, High Commissioner Courts, and Star Chamber Courts. But that’s where someone could report a violation and you never got to have due process, you never got to call an attorney to represent you, you didn’t get to call witnesses on your behalf, simply because you were reported they took that hearsay evidence and went and prosecuted you over it.
That’s where we are with campuses now. Somebody reports that Tim said something that was ungainly about whatever it is. And they turned him into a biased reporting team and they don’t ever check him, he didn’t get to confront the witness who turned him in, he didn’t get to call witnesses on his behalf. They say, “You’re out of school because you violated the bias.” That’s crazy man. That’s why we have the Fourth Amendment through the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.
But again, universities are not teaching that. So that’s why what North Carolina has recently done has been a real good step in moving back in the right direction. They’re starting to protect free speech.
There’s over 40 major campuses in North Carolina and the state legislatures put their foot down saying, “No, you get to practice the Constitution when you’re a college. You get free speech, you get the first amendment right, we’re not going to have any State University that won’t give you constitutional rights.” That’s a huge step.
The fact they’re doing this is part of why we’re seeing this number down now from 90 percent down to about 40-49 percent which is still way too many. But it’s moving in the right direction. Again, if you’re a legislator or if legislators encourage them to come to the Pro-family Legislative Conference. We’re going to really dig into this this year, go out with five or six pieces of legislation they can use to start getting the constitution back on campus across America.
Tim, I don’t know if you heard that example your dad gave but I can tell when he’s definitely been reading a lot of the Founding Fathers writings he’ll use a word like, did he say, “ungainly?” Am I just showing my own poor grammar here?
No, that is the word he used. And only because of the context and the content we were talking about that I have an idea of what that word probably meant.
Ok, good I’m not alone.
I was using the context clues there. Every now and then I have to stop and say, “Dad, that’s not common vernacular and no one knows what that means.”
What happens when he’s reads all these documents of the seventeen hundreds. But that’s why he’s our encyclopedia on the Founding Fathers.
That was before they had speech codes and they used big words.
We’ll be right back in a moment, we’ll try not to say anything ungainly, is that right David? Did I say that right?
You said it right. You even pronounced it right. That’s really good for a south Texan.
Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, our special guest. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
Hey, guys, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. I know you hear my dad and Rick talk a lot about our Founding Fathers about the original intent of our nation, a constitutional heritage that we have. And really we’ve seen how far we slipped away from that. And I know a lot of us as we hear my dad and Rick talk think, “I wish there was a place that I could go where I could see these documents and I could read and learn about the Founding Fathers firsthand. See the things they did.”
I want to give you some websites today that can help you accomplish that very thing. If you get online you can go to places like Library of Congress and you can look under their century of lawmaking or historical documents. You can go to the Avalon Project, to the Founders Constitution, Google Books, or even the internet archives.
Or you can just go to WallBuilders.com. We have a section for our WallBuilders Library. And under that section we have different subgroups for historical documents, historical writings, even a place where you can get helpful links to find out more information about other websites. Where you can do research for yourself and find the truth for yourself. Friends, this is the time that we need to know who we are and where we came from. WallBuilders.com is a great place to go.
Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live! Back with us, Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, Dan Forest. Always good to have you, Sir. Thanks for coming back on the program.
Lt. Governor Forest:
Thanks for having me back on!
Restore Campus Free Speech Act
Last time we had you we had a laundry list of all the good stuff that has come out of North Carolina. The conservative legislation that’s been passed is really getting back to right principles in so many different areas.
Now you’ve got another, and it’s a big one, that we’re really hoping will be an example to others across the country. A lot of legislators, and pastors, and others listen to the show, we’re hoping they pick up on this from you guys. Governor, you guys did this Goldwater proposal, this deal on the free speech, I guess called the, “Restore Campus Free Speech Act.”
Lt. Governor Forest:
That’s right. We’ve actually been working on it for several years. I think this goes back to early 2015 if I’m correct. We started working with Stanley Perts, and Goldwater Institute, and others to try to tackle this issue that we’re seeing pop up all over the country. It’s highlighted certainly in places like Berkeley but obviously coming to a neighborhood university near you, if we don’t get a handle on it. We really decided to hit it hard this past session and we actually got it passed.
State Involvement on Campus
Some people might say, “Why is the state involved in what’s happening on the campus?” They don’t realize how much goes into these public universities in tax dollars. Even though your tuition bill, parents, is outrageous, in addition to that, our state legislators are giving billions and billions of dollars to these universities who turn around and undermine the very values that we stand for and then don’t even let students have free speech. You guys as public officials getting involved on this is absolutely appropriate and desperately needed.
Lt. Governor Forest:
On top of that, what you see is that we end up having to ask these kinds of bills all over the country to protect what’s already should be protected in the Constitution. Kind of a shame that you have to do that but remind people that free speech is actually the First Amendment of the constitution. Even applies to college campuses, it really should apply there the most, and it hasn’t been as of late. So, we really needed to step in and do something about it. And this bill really does tackle a number of issues.
You mentioned Berkeley, I don’t remember if it was last year or two years ago on Constitution Day one of the students was prevented from handing out free pocket constitutions because he was in the little safe space on the corner of the campus wherever they pointed out.
That’s one of the things you guys are stopping with this bill is saying, “Look, you can’t make free speech something that happens only in a particular little bitty designated area. It talks about the whole public domain of the campus.”
Lt. Governor Forest:
We’re getting rid of free speech zones. I think we’re all pretty clear that America is free speech zone and that clears our college campuses getting rid of these safe spaces for free speech on college campuses, things like that.
Also, trying to eliminate the hecklers speech veto. What we see with folks like Ben Shapiro going out to Berkeley and then you have riots and people burning the town down because they don’t want to hear somebody speak. Certainly keeping somebody from speaking is not considered free speech. We’re trying to provide in this bill a time, place, and manner for people to be able to speak freely.
The university can’t just go out and disinvite somebody because they don’t like the things they talked about. That’s not singling out any ideology, that’s across the board. Somebody gets invited to come speak on campus and the university needs to provide a time, place, and manner for it. And they need to provide a time, place, and manner for the protest. But that’s certainly not in the facility itself where that speech is going on people can shout them down.
Yeah. And it even sets up a parameters for saying, “Look if you’re a student and you engage in this…” I can’t even– it’s hard for me to fathom– I think in the last two big ones out of Berkeley it was like six hundred grand that the school spent trying to have safety for Ben Shapiro. And then that other, Mylo, whatever his name is went out there as well. And he– another eight hundred grand or so. It’s just ridiculous.
He says to the students, “You can’t be preventing your fellow students or a guest speaker from having their free speech.”
I mean the idea of shouting down the opposition is the opposite of what a university is supposed to be about where we can engage in these ideas and have thoughtful conversation.
Protecting Free Speech On Campus
Lt. Governor Forest:
That’s exactly right. It should be the kind of the birthplace of free speech and these kind of free flow of ideas, if you will. And we’ve done a couple of things here. One is we have in freshman orientation we’re making it mandatory that the university communicates with the freshman class about what is allowed and what’s not allowed related to free speech on college campuses.
What is free speech, what’s not free speech. And outlining– the Board of Governors is responsible for outlining what the sanctions are related to those students. So we had a provision in there that if you do this once, you serve and get punished. But you do it twice you get expelled from the school.
The university didn’t like that a whole lot. And they actually got that one kicked out. But the Board of Governors is going to have a report that goes to the general assembly and to the governor every year related to free speech on college campuses. And that if we find that there are students that are doing– are responsible for these kind of things more than once and I’m sure the General Assembly will go back and do what it needs to do to take action if the universities aren’t doing that.
Well, I appreciate even y’alls approach and saying we’re not going to get rid of the bill because we can get everything we wanted. We got really, really close. That was one thing that could have been stronger. But like you said, come back next time and maybe make that stronger. The bill got so many good things in it. It’s just a positive step. Like I said, we’re hoping other legislators across the country will jump on board and do the same thing. And it needs to happen and we’ve got to rein in the madness on these on these campuses across the country.
So, Governor, thanks for your leadership on it. Really excited to see this happen and looking forward to the next call. I’m sure something else is going to get passed in North Carolina that we’re going to be celebrating here on WallBuilders Live.
Lt. Governor Forest:
Well we’re looking forward to it.
So tell David Barton I said hello. I just saw him on Saturday of this week. He came up to North Carolina and did a presentation is out here. A huge hit as always.
Well we appreciate you. Keep up the great work and we’ll look forward to having you on again soon.
Lt. Governor Forest:
Sounds great. Take care now.
We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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Welcome back and thanks for staying with us her on WallBuilders Live. We appreciate Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest for speaking with us from North Carolina. Back with David and Tim now.
And guys, stuff like this is actually hard to get through the legislature because the university spends so much money lobbying and then you have your personal loyalties from all these members that went to that school or the school in the in the states. This is a big victory the fact that they were able to get this through and it takes leadership like Governor Forest to do that.
But hopefully, we’ll see some other states do it and I’m sure we’ll be talking about it at the legislators conference.
Free Speech, It’s Our Inalienable Right
There are other states doing it and we hope to send a bunch of legislators back to their states with legislation in hand to do this. And of course, what the university says, “Oh, you’re interfering with academic freedom.”
No we’re not. We’re protecting constitutional rights. Rick, you even asked the question. Why is the state even involved with what happens on campus?
The answer that question is because the Declaration says the primary responsibility of government is to protect inalienable rights. The inalienable right to free speech and freedom of association. That is the right to have a conservative come on a liberal campus and associate in a meeting with that conservative that’s a constitutional right.
Protect Rights Of Free Speech
And the state has a responsibility to respect and to protect every one of those inalienable rights. There’s no question that if a legislator brings this to the floor of the legislature, they’re going to try to get their brains beat in by all the Ph.D.s lined up, “You’re interfering with academic freedom.”
That’s like judges saying, “Well, you’re interfering with judicial independence.”
No, we’re not. We’re just trying to make you accountable. And that’s all we’re doing. And that’s all this measure does.
Kudos to Dan. He’s in a situation where they’ve had a change of governor there in the last election. He’s now working under Democrat governor. Still, the legislature is still highly Republican, highly conservative and sure, they’re able to push this stuff through. But what they’ve done in North Carolina is a model for all the rest of the nation that people need to take to their own legislators and say, “We want this in our colleges here in our state.”
Get more on our website WallBuildersLive.com. We appreciate you listening today to WallBuildersLive.