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The New Guard

Sens. Marsha Blackburn and Tom Cotton Launch Senate Campus Free Speech Caucus with Young America’s Foundation

By

Karalee Geis

July 19, 2023

After a successful launch of the House Campus Free Speech Caucus in June 2021, longtime Young America’s Foundation (YAF) allies Senators Marsha Blackburn (TN) and Tom Cotton (AR) have partnered to create an officially recognized corresponding caucus in the United States Senate, as exclusively announced by Fox News.

The Senate Campus Free Speech Caucus will be announced in tandem with the introduction of Senator Cotton’s Campus Free Speech Restoration Act and Senator Blackburn’s Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2021 in the United States Senate.

Founding members of the group include Senators Mike Braun (IN), Steve Daines (MT), John Boozman (AR) and Roger Marshall (KS). The Senate Campus Free Speech Caucus will aim to drive legislation supporting students’ First Amendment rights and educate other legislators about the clear bias against free speech on campuses across the country.

Senators Blackburn and Cotton will work alongside Representatives Jim Jordan and Kat Cammack, chairs of the House caucus—which now boasts nearly 40 members—to meet with YAF leadership and students monthly to learn about the latest attacks on free speech, sharing their stories with fellow members of the House and Senate.

A 2020 Knight Foundation/Gallup Poll revealed that 81 percent of students support a campus environment where students are exposed to all types of speech, even if they may find it offensive. However, a 2019 poll conducted by Young America’s Foundation revealed that 46 percent of students stopped themselves from sharing their ideas and beliefs in the classroom citing their unwelcoming campus environments.

Campus bias is a pivotal issue facing millions of students across the country. The creation of this caucus will ensure that free speech violations garner national attention through bicameral policy-making and robust discussion.

“Free speech is under attack on college campuses,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn. “We must fight to ensure that our students are not silenced. The Campus Free Speech Caucus I am leading alongside Senator Cotton, our colleagues, and friends at YAF will champion this essential freedom for students in Tennessee and across the nation.”

“Universities should encourage a variety of viewpoints—but today, colleges and students often silence classmates and faculty who disagree with ideas like Critical Race Theory and the 1619 Project. Senator Blackburn and I started The Campus Free Speech Caucus to return free speech to higher education across the country,” said Senator Tom Cotton.

“Free speech is guaranteed in our Constitution. It should be revered on our college campuses. Sadly, this is where it’s most at risk,” Young America’s Foundation President Governor Scott Walker said. “The Campus Free Speech Caucus will help us fight back and ensure all voices can be heard on campus!”

YAF has been at the forefront of the campus free speech battle for decades, routinely fighting for students’ rights in the classroom, media, and the courts.

This caucus, as a bicameral force, is key to ensuring America’s leaders understand the fight at hand.

Click here urge your Senator to join this important caucus.

To request an interview with YAF President Governor Scott Walker about the Campus Free Speech Caucus, contact YAF Spokeswoman Kara Zupkus at [email protected] or 800-872-1776.

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