March 30th, 2023

Ilya Shapiro Testifies on Protecting Free Speech on Campus

NEW YORK, NY – Yesterday, the Manhattan Institute's director of constitutional studies Ilya Shapiro testified to the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development, as part of a hearing on "Diversity of Thought: Protecting Free Speech on College Campuses". His comments, excerpted from his full testimony, included:

"University presidents and law school deans are very good at instilling whatever values they care about: public service, inclusion, social-justice, entrepreneurship, whatever. ... They can do the same for free speech.

"Perhaps now we’re finally seeing a backlash against our illiberal inquisitors. But it can’t all be done from within, so we need external controls from state legislators and attorneys general, as well as congressional oversight tied to federal funding. You can absolutely require all recipients of federal higher-ed funds to certify that they will not violate the Constitution, for example, and that they will comply with the codified sense of Congress regarding the protection of student speech and association rights just as they certify compliance with a host of other rules and requirements.

"We also need exogenous shocks like the boycott of Yale for clerk-hiring by 14 judges, led by Fifth Circuit Judge Jim Ho. And we need public exposure: the day after the Wall Street Journal published John Sailer’s exposé of how Texas Tech used job applicants’ diversity statements as ideological litmus tests, the university announced it would end its use of such statements for faculty hiring.

"There’s still a long way to go before universities return to their mission of seeking truth and knowledge, and law schools return to their goal of teaching future lawyers to uphold the rule of law. But the battle has been joined."

Read the full testimony here. Or, watch it here.

Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of Constitutional Studies at the Manhattan Institute. For media requests, please contact press officer Nic Abouchedid at


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