Mitt Romney: Congress Shouldn’t Use Laws to Regulate Speech at Colleges

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said on Sunday that Congress should not resort to policy to regulate the rise in hate speech on college campuses, arguing politicians should instead model good behavior.“Not by creating law, but by creating example,” Romney told NBC’s Kristen Welker when asked about Congress’ role in combating hate speech after incidents of

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Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) said on Sunday that Congress should not resort to policy to regulate the rise in hate speech on college campuses, arguing politicians should instead model good behavior.

“Not by creating law, but by creating example,” Romney told NBC’s Kristen Welker when asked about Congress’ role in combating hate speech after incidents of antisemitism and Islamophobia on campuses. “Recognize that the people we choose as our leaders are not just going to write law and effectuate policy. They’re also setting the character of the country.”

The outgoing senator’s remarks came a day after University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned following her testimony to a congressional education committee alongside presidents from Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When pressed by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the three would not unequivocally state whether calls for the genocide of Jewish people violated their universities’ codes of conduct, setting off a firestorm against all three schools and resulting in the withdrawal of a $1srcsrc million gift to Penn.

Stefanik has since celebrated Magill’s resignation, which came two days after the House Education and the Workforce Committee opened an investigation into the schools. “One down. Two to go,” she wrote in an X post on Saturday, adding: “These universities can anticipate a robust and comprehensive Congressional investigation of all facets of their institutions negligent perpetration of antisemitism including administrative, faculty, funding, and overall leadership and governance.”

There are a whole series of dimensions in which we’re diverse. That’s who we are.

Colleges and universities nationwide have faced a torrent of political speech on their campuses since the conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out in October. Instances of violent rhetoric against Jewish people have increased as student groups condemn Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, resulting in multiple lawsuits, while Islamophobic remarks have been pervasive on other campuses, according to PEN America. At the same time, debate has festered over the right to free speech on such campuses.

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has also opened an investigation into several K-12, colleges, and universities, including Penn and Columbia University, over “the alarming nationwide rise in reports of antisemitism, anti-Muslim, anti-Arab and other forms of discrimination,” it said in a news release last month.

Romney said on Sunday that former President Donald Trump has affected the country’s character, allowing instances of anger and retribution to rise among younger generations in place of respect for others’ humanity.

“There are a whole series of dimensions in which we’re diverse,” Romney said. “That’s who we are. May not like it, [but] that’s who we are, and the only way a nation as diverse as us is able to be strong is if we recognize the divine nature of humanity. We recognize one another and their faults and we don’t attack each other. Tearing down other Americans, retribution, revenge, anger—that is not the future of a great country.”

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