The head of the U.S. Department of Education spoke about free speech and answered students’ questions at a Constitution Day student town hall event in Old City Philadelphia.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivered remarks and took questions from middle, high school and college students in the audience Monday morning at the National Constitution Center.
DeVos specifically focused her remarks on what she called a "civic sickness" of blocking free speech on college campuses. Some of the questions she faced included how she balances her job with her personal life and President Trump's use of Twitter.
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DeVos said some university administrators are trying to shield students from ideas they "subjectively decide" are offensive. She said that part of the problem is that as a nation "we have abandoned truth" and that many see truth as a personal point of view.
She urged students to approach others with respect and to engage with those who have differing views.
Monday marks the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787. The museum is offering free admission Monday to celebrate the monumental date.
DeVos’ appearance came days after a court ruled that the education department's move to freeze an Obama-era policy meant to boost protections for students defrauded by for-profit schools known as borrower defense was "arbitrary and capricious." That decision dealt a severe blow to DeVos' efforts to ease regulations on the for-profit college industry.