Former cop emphasizes free speech in congressional campaign

Retired police officer Kevin Cavanaugh is making the issue of free speech on college campuses a major focus of his campaign to represent Arizona’s 1st congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.

CD 1 encompasses the City of Flagstaff, home of Northern Arizona University, which has lately become a hotbed of liberal bias. Within just the past year, NAU professors have told students that Trump voters think “people of color are what’s wrong with America,” docked a student’s grade for using the word “mankind” in an English paper, and even demanded that another student stop reading his Bible before class.

During a February forum put on by the Political Science Department, moreover, NAU student Melissa Miller claims that she was publicly called out by a professor for her membership in Turning Point USA. Miller had already filmed most of the event, during which professors labeled President Trump a “neo-fascist” and the “rapist-in-chief,” but alleges that the professor waited until she temporarily left the room and stopped recording to claim that she had only come to the event in order to film fodder for TPUSA’s “Professor Watchlist” website.

[RELATED: Profs taunt conservative student in faculty-wide email chain]

Students have gotten into the act, as well, posting signs outside of on-campus restrooms calling attention to “pee privilege,” organizing a trip to the border to leave supplies for illegal immigrants crossing the desert, and indignantly insisting that the school’s president resign because she refused to make an open-ended commitment to “safe spaces” to protect students from “hate speech.”

Concerned by the widespread hostility toward, or at least ignorance of, First Amendment rights at NAU, Cavanaugh hosted a “Freedom Rally” at the campus on April 22 to call attention to the issue.

While The Lumberjack reports that the event was lightly attended, the subject matter was apparently deemed sensitive enough to merit precautions against possible protests, with the result that there were as many campus police officers on scene as there were NAU students.

[RELATED: Conservative students ARRESTED for handing out Constitutions]

Campus Reform recently sat down with Cavanaugh to learn more about some of the campus-related issues he plans to address during his campaign, which include “campus carry” legislation and the emergence of violent “antifa” protesters.

“The first thing [I’m campaigning on] is free speech, particularly on college campuses, but even at high schools,” Cavanaugh began. “Free speech on the part of conservatives, on the part of Christians, [and] on the part of moderates is being oppressed. If you identify yourself as a conservative, if you stand for pro-life, if you read your Bible before class like this young man did at NAU whom we discovered, you’ll be punished. And it’s wrong; it is not something that should happen in the United States of America.”

[RELATED: NAU prez rejects ‘safe spaces,’ students demand resignation]

“There’s a reason the First Amendment is the first, and it involves free speech; our country was founded on free speech,” he continued, noting that he chose to conduct his free speech rally at NAU because “outside of Berkeley, it’s one of the most liberal, speech-suppressing, free thought-oppressing places in the country.”

Cavanaugh vowed that, if elected, he will “propose legislation that penalizes institutions that receive federal money if they limit free speech on campus,” calling it “a travesty of justice” that so-called “anti-fascist” protesters were able to use violence to shut down speeches by Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley earlier this year.

“Look, this is socialist-Marxist ideology at work,” he asserted, recounting that “those same people were at our little rally up at NAU, with black masks and black hats and black gloves,” but declined the opportunity to speak when he invited them.

[RELATED: Prof arrested for bludgeoning Trump supporters with bike lock]

Cavanaugh also offered enthusiastic support for the “campus carry” laws that many states have passed recently, which allow individuals with concealed carry permits to exercise their Second Amendment rights on public college and university campuses.

“The Second Amendment says ‘the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,’” he explained. “My understanding of the Constitution is that it is a right-to-carry permit that extends from New York to California, from sea to shining sea.”

Relating the story of “a young woman who was going to quit NAU and go somewhere else because of the things that were happening,” Cavanaugh said his advice was to “stay and fight; stand and fight,” an approach that he believes is necessary in order to effect change on any significant issue.

“If you realize that good conservatives...are standing together to fight against liberalism, Marxism, [and] socialism on college campuses and throughout this country,” he concluded, “we can beat this scourge back.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @shannadnelson