UM Student Who Claimed Discrimination Invited to White House
Taylor Powell, the University of Montana student who filed a complaint with the administration after she claimed her free speech rights had been violated has been invited by President Donald Trump to a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden on Thursday.
Powell, who is affiliated with a conservative organization called Turning Point, USA, provided details.
“A couple of weeks ago at CEPAC, the President announced that he was signing an executive order stating that college campuses in order to continue receiving federal funding through any avenue, that they would have to abide by the First Amendment allowing free speech,” said Powell. “So the invitation is to be there as he signs that executive order regarding higher education and free speech on college campuses.”
Powell explained why she specifically was invited by the White House to attend.
“I was invited because I had my free speech rights violated, and the university here goes against the first amendment and has a ‘free speech zone’ which is 100 percent unconstitutional. The organization that invited me, the Leadership Institute, is aware of the ‘free speech zone’. They reached out to me as my story was posted on their forum along with several other students across the United States that have all had similar stories to mine.”
Powell described what is termed a ‘free speech’ zone.
“Right now in university policy, the only ‘free speech zone’ is in a small outdoor area located between the University Center and the library right behind Main Hall along the parking lot which is a very secluded area of the campus,” she said. “The Facilities Use Policy is what the university will try to use for free speech policy, so right now the only thing in university documentation is the free speech zone.”
Powell said the complaint she filed has not yet been resolved, however, the professor, through a local attorney, claimed the incident never occurred.
Powell said she and her mother are traveling to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday at their own expense to attend the White House Rose Garden ceremony.
In a document found on the University website, the following phrase was found.
“No student may be excluded from campus, and no one may be excluded from campus based on political/religious affiliations, beliefs, or the content of their communications.”