Congressman Peter Roskam

Representing the 6th District of Illinois

Chairman Roskam Takes on Campus Political Correctness

Mar 3, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, Way & Means Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Peter J. Roskam held a hearing on Protecting the Free Exchange of Ideas on College Campuses.

Chairman Roskam released the following statement:

“The ‘PC culture’ that exists on many of our nation’s colleges campuses has gotten out of control. Students and faculty across the country are routinely intimidated or literally excluded from the marketplace of ideas if their speech is deemed ‘politically incorrect.’

“American taxpayers give colleges and universities special tax breaks and tax-exempt status because we want to encourage scholarship, research, and the free exchange of ideas. It’s simply unacceptable for institutions to hide behind the tax code to shield their preferred viewpoints from criticism.

“I thank the witnesses for their testimony and look forward to continue exploring the relationship between campus speech codes, academic freedom, and the tax code.”

Watch Chairman Roskam’s opening statement here and read the remarks here.

What they’re saying:

Joseph Lawler, The Washington Examiner:

Critics of rising campus illiberalism have a new champion in Congress: Peter Roskam, the Illinois Republican who is chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee.

On Wednesday, Roskam stepped into the raging controversy over free speech on college campuses, warning in a subcommittee hearing that colleges are increasingly "shutting down the marketplace of ideas" by instituting free speech codes and requiring reporting of "micro-aggressions" — subtle or unintended slights toward minority groups that reinforce stereotypes.

Naomi Jagoda, The Hill:

The chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee expressed concern Wednesday that colleges are stifling students’ political speech because they are incorrectly worried that such speech could jeopardize the schools’ tax-exempt statuses.

Through provisions in the tax code, “taxpayers give financial benefits to schools based on the educational value that they offer to our society,” Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said at a hearing. “When colleges and universities suppress speech, however, we have to question whether that educational mission is really being fulfilled.”

Roskam asked students, faculty and administrators who have had their speech suppressed to share their experiences with the committee by emailing campus.speech@mail.house.gov.

Katy O’Donnell, Politico:

The Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee weighed in on college speech codes and “micro-aggressions” today, using universities’ tax exemptions as a backdoor into the roiling debate over free speech on campus.

“Look, colleges are using 501(c)(3) to stifle free speech…Taxpayers give financial benefits to schools based on the educational value they offer our society. When colleges and universities suppress speech, however, we have to question whether that educational mission is really being fulfilled,” Roskam said.