U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.) announced he will introduce a bill to limit free speech or “hate speech” at universities and colleges and force the schools to report hate crimes to local law enforcement.
His logic behind the bill is to require universities to demonstrate they have programs in place that will define for students “what is acceptable speech and what is not acceptable speech.” Brown said funding will be set aside in a grant for institutions unable to secure the resources to create the programs.
Brown, speaking at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center at the University of Maryland, said that although there are requirements already in place for universities to report “hate crimes,” many schools don’t comply, which has led to underreporting.
“If you want to see things change, or at least change in government, you first have to know they’re happening,” he said. “That’s why we have the reporting requirement.”
Brown also used the speaking engagement as an opportunity to deride President Trump.
He opened his speech talking about Heather Heyer, who was killed at the Charlottesville White Nationalist rally, and Bowie State University student Richard Collins, whose stabbing death in May is being investigated as a possible hate crime. Collins was black and the student who stabbed him is white and is reported to be a member of the Facebook group, “Alt-Reich Nation.”
The Democratic Rep. summed up each death as “a heinous, despicable and unprovoked crime of hate,” and commented that he believes there’s a direct link between President Trump’s election and the increase of racism and anger he believes exists within some segments of the white community. He said Trump used this hate to carry him into the White House. The “alt-right,” according to Brown, saw Trump’s election as “a sign of rising white consciousness.”
“I think you’d have to be purposely obtuse not to see [it],” he stated.
Although Brown admits the bill alone will not stop “hate speech,” he said, “we think it’s part of the solution.”
According to a press release distributed by the university, the event was organized following the fatal stabbing of student Richard Collins as part of “campus-wide actions, dialogues and healing for the University of Maryland community.”