Young Conservatives of Texas chairman attends Trump’s signing of executive order protecting free speech at universities

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Photo Credit: Rena Li | Daily Texan Staff

Young Conservatives of Texas chairman Saurabh Sharma was one of the students present at the White House on Thursday when President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at protecting free speech on college campuses.

In remarks before the signing, Trump said he decided to take executive action on the issue in response to practices by some universities that hinder free expression. Public universities that do not follow the free speech guidelines laid out by the Trump administration will be at risk of losing grants from the federal government.

“Under the guise of speech codes and safe spaces and trigger warnings, these universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity and shut down the voices of great young Americans like those here today,” Trump said. “Taxpayer dollars should not subsidize anti-first amendment institutions.”

Sharma, who is chairman of both the Young Conservatives of Texas state board and the organization’s UT chapter, was joined at the signing by other student activists.

“I was selected for the event because of the numerous battles myself and other chapters of YCT have fought for campus free speech rights,” Sharma said.

Sharma also said he was happy to see the president take a firm stance on the issue.

“It’s a historic level of action on behalf of the president, and frankly, most people in government,” Sharma said. “Very few political actors have been willing to put real teeth in a campus free speech policy, this does so.”

In addition to addressing free speech on college campuses, the executive order also includes a provision asking the United States Department of Education to recommend policies to the president that would incentivize student loan organizations to make their clients aware of the financial risks of accepting a loan.