Sen. Plummer joins fight for free speech on campuses as University of Illinois is named in suit
Illinois state Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) is reminded every day of his long-held position on freedom of speech.
“I have a plaque hanging on the wall in my office from George Orwell that reads, ‘If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear," Plummer told the Metro East Sun in trumpeting his support for a resolution put forth by state Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) that would prohibit public universities that limit the free speech of students and faculty from being able to receive taxpayer funding. “Some people in academia and media feel they’re the gatekeepers of free speech. It’s completely contrary to the fundamentals of our country. If certain institutions expect to receive taxpayer money, they better not try to restrict the speech of taxpayers.”
Mazzochi recently took to the House floor to tell members about the importance of everyone having the right to have a voice. Her push comes after the Virginia-based group Speech First recently filed suit against the University of Illinois in U.S. District Court in Urbana, alleging that its right to free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment has been violated by university officials. In the 29-page filing, the group asserted that the school systematically targets several groups through its policies, including conservative student groups.
“Even in this body, we often hear speech that is rude, biased, wrong, hurtful, emotional, offensive, hateful and sometimes even vile, and the answer to that is never to suppress speech but to counter it with more speech,” Mazzochi said from the floor. “And to follow any other path renders our society less free, accountable and less able to seek the truth no matter how much that truth may hurt.”
Plummer is in total agreement.
“I would say that I think there has been a movement in some quarters to restrict freedom of speech and media, and we can’t allow that," he said.