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Palm Beach, November 18, 2023

Paul du Quenoy, President of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute, is delighted to announce that Cherise Trump, Executive Director of Speech First, has been awarded the 2023 Paul du Quenoy Prize! Speech First files litigation on behalf of students against universities that violate their free speech rights, educates students on their legal rights, and advocates on their behalf. 

The Paul du Quenoy Prize was created in 2019 by a group of Professor du Quenoy’s friends and admirers to honor individuals who have exposed absurd or unethical practices in academic institutions or media organizations. It is awarded every year on his birthday, November 15. Past recipients include the late British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, veteran National Security Agency cybersecurity specialist Dr. Leslie Gruis, former Princeton University Professor Joshua Katz, and constitutional law scholar Ilya Shapiro. 

“I am honored to be recognized by Professor du Quenoy for Speech First’s work in rooting out and holding accountable bad actors on college campuses who threaten the liberties our country holds dear,” said Mrs. Trump (who is not related to former U.S. President and current Republican presidential frontrunner Donald J. Trump). “Our litigation and advocacy hit universities where it hurts most, their reputations and their pocketbooks. We take them to court and force them to go on the record defending their unconstitutional policies while we simultaneously launch aggressive media campaigns that expose them to the public. I am very encouraged that a public intellectual of Prof. du Quenoy’s stature, and an organization like PBFI under his leadership, is recognizing those who are truly making a difference, and I look forward to our continued work together.” 

In addition to her role at Speech First, Cherise Trump hosts its podcast, Well Said, where she interviews experts, activists, professors, and students about free speech, higher education, and American culture. Previously, Mrs. Trump worked at the Heritage Foundation as associate director of coalition relations. Her writing has appeared in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the American Conservative, The Federalist, The Washington Examiner, Washington Times, the Daily Signal, the Epoch Times, and Townhall. She has made a number of appearances on Fox News, Fox Business, Newsmax, OANN, the Larry O’Connor Show, and Victory News, as well as a number of radio and podcast shows to discuss the state of free speech on college campuses. She received her B.A. in Government and International Relations from George Mason University and her M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, where she was a Rumsfeld Graduate Fellow. 

“Under Cherise Trump’s outstanding leadership, Speech First has repeatedly proved itself the best and most effective organization defending campus civil rights from slimy administrators increasingly unable to defend their cheap intimidation tactics before the majesty of the law,” said Paul du Quenoy upon awarding his Prize. “Each victory that Speech First wins in court is another blow to our failing system of higher education as its lurches toward its well-deserved collapse. As the Ivory Towers crumble to dust, I raise my glass to each and every episode in their humiliation and ruin. That’s a tall order, but fortunately Palm Beach has no shortage of champagne.” 

According to Gallup, between 2015 and 2023, public confidence in higher education fell more dramatically than in any other American institution, with only 36% of those surveyed now expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in U.S. academia. It is widely believed that figure has fallen further in the wake of Hamas’s terrorist attacks on Israel last month, after which many colleges and universities were criticized for tolerating pro-Hamas and pro-terrorist sentiments. 

A March 2023 Wall Street Journal study found that 56% of Americans no longer believe a four-year degree is worth the price. That figure includes 42% of respondents who themselves hold four-year degrees.

Questions may be directed to president@palmbeachfreedom.org.

Palm Beach, September 21, 2023

Palm Beach Freedom Institute Joins 58 Other Organizations in Demanding the Resignation of Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon

On Thursday, September 21, the Palm Beach Freedom Institute joined 58 likeminded organizations to demand the resignation of Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon.

Lhamon is a radical leftist attorney who is believed never to have worked in any academic institution. Beginning in 2011, when she held the same office under the Obama administration, she circulated federal guidances that severely curtailed the constitutional rights of respondents in Title IX investigations, which her office distorted to police alleged cases of discriminatory harassment, including supposed sexual harassment. The suppressed rights included the right to counsel, cross-examination, evidence, open hearings, and appeal.

As a direct result, America’s students, teachers, professors, and academic and non-academic university staff have been deprived of basic rights as a condition of study or work. In about 75% of Title IX’s biased proceedings, respondents, who are virtually all male, are found guilty and subjected to sanctions – the same percentage as at the height of the Terror during the French Revolution.

In 2017 and 2020, the Trump administration revised Title IX guidelines to restore many constitutional protections to respondents. Led by Lhamon, the Biden administration will soon release revised guidances that are expected to reverse the Trump-era reforms and again reduce constitutional protections, while also expanding the legal definition of “gender” to include “gender identity.”

Along with its partner organizations, in PBFI’s analysis Lhamon’s expected guidances will usurp Congressional authority by altering the legal meaning of “gender” as determined by Congress, and endanger rights guaranteed by the First (free speech) and Fourteenth (due process) Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. “These actions prospectively, and despicably, appear to violate Lhamon’s oath of office,” says PBFI President Paul du Quenoy. “This vile, sexist authoritarian swore to ‘defend’ and ‘bear true faith and allegiance’ to the Constitution, but by denying its basic rights she clearly has no interest in doing either. As she has so malevolently done before, she is again actively seeking to deny the rights of your sons, brothers, and fathers, and, if you are present in any way on a college campus, your own. Don’t let her. It is time for her to go.”

The demand letter was formally delivered to the Department of Education’s offices in Washington, D.C. by an agent dressed in a kangaroo costume in honor of the victims of the kangaroo courts Lhamon’s critics say her interpretation of Title IX has imposed on the country’s educational institutions. The letter was received by an unidentified individual who was slovenly dressed and wearing a mask, apparently in the false belief that it will combat the spread of Covid-19.

Palm Beach, July 20, 2023

Palm Beach Freedom Institute Puts Top Colleges on Notice to Abandon Illegal Race-Based Admissions

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 majority ruling outlawing the use of race in college admissions on June 30, 2023, Palm Beach Freedom Institute President Paul du Quenoy has sent a letter to the presidents of the 100 most selective colleges and universities informing them “that it is unlawful for any U.S. college or university … to admit students by any standard involving race.” Dr. du Quenoy added that federal, state, and sometimes local civil rights laws already expressly ban discriminatory standards based on race, national origin, or sex in university programs and in faculty hiring, promotion, and tenure.

As ranked by U.S. News & World Report, the top 100 most selective institutions contacted by PBFI have admissions rates of 30% or lower and are therefore more likely than other institutions to have relied on race-based admissions standards that are now unlawful.

Dr. du Quenoy’s letter further maintained that:

  • Principles of free speech, free inquiry, and academic freedom require your institution and its personnel to respect the views of applicants, students, faculty members, employees, and visitors who express agreement with the Supreme Court’s decision and the constitutional principles informing it; who disagree with the use of race, national origin, or sex in academic admissions, hiring, tenure, and program participation; or who observe disparities in educational or professional achievement among demographic groups or members thereof.

Dr. du Quenoy called upon the college presidents to comply with federal law, announce the immediate termination of all race-based processes and programs, and issue guarantees protecting free speech on matters of race and race-based preferences.

PBFI established that institutions, trustees, and executive leaders of non-compliant institutions will be “fully complicit and liable if they engage in, authorize, sanction, or fail to prevent the use of” the illegal factors. PBFI further pledges to use its robust public advocacy, media outreach, and legal defense fund “to support victims of discriminatory, biased, and now illegal policies in America’s colleges and universities” and “use any information thereby obtained to ensure accountability under the law.”

For more information, contact PBFI at president@palmbeachfreedom.org

Palm Beach, February 28, 2023

The Palm Beach Freedom Institute Applauds the Rejection of Wokeness by three US Governors and the College Board

The Palm Beach Freedom Institute, America’s most prominent think tank addressing wokeism and cancel culture, applauds the elevation of its vital cause in February by three prominent elected officials after U.S. Governors Chris Sununu, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Ron DeSantis came out swinging: 

  • New Hampshire Gov. Sununu decried the prevalence of “woke cancel culture,” which he claimed sows “divisiveness” in American schools and communities. During an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, Sununu noted that the government was unlikely to fix a “cultural problem.” Sununu said that cancel culture has created an “us versus them” binary in which “everything’s a war.” He added: “That’s a cultural problem we have to fix in America and it starts with good leadership, good messaging, more hopeful and optimistic.”
  • Arkansas Gov. Sanders, in her response to President Biden’s State of the Union, accused the Biden administration of pursuing “woke fantasies,” adding that “we are under attack in a left-wing culture war.” Sununu said he agreed with Sanders’s claim during her response to the State of the Union that there was a culture war being waged by “a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is.”
  • Florida Gov. DeSantis grabbed headlines this month with his continuing promotion of the Stop-Woke (Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees) Act, which prohibits educational institutions and businesses from teaching students and employees anything that would cause anyone to “feel guilt, anguish or any form of psychological distress” due to their race, color, sex or national origin. In addition, DeSantis organized what some critics have called a “hostile takeover” of the New College of Florida, the University of Florida system’s Honors College, by appointing six right-leaning trustees to reform its structures and personnel. 

In addition, the College Board revealed changes to its curriculum for its pilot African American Studies course earlier this month following backlash from Gov. DeSantis and conservative politicians, who claimed the original course plan included content that ranks race and gender in a way that they claim is “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.”

“The Palm Beach Freedom Institute salutes these elected officials for pushing back against wokeism whenever it rears its ugly head,” said Dr. Paul du Quenoy, PBFI’s president.

According to a March 2021 Harvard CAPS-Harris poll, 64% of Americans – including 48% of Democrats – view cancel culture as a threat to their personal freedom. In October 2022, an identical percentage blamed “woke politicians” for recent increases in crime. Only 32 percent of Americans identify as “woke.”

About The Palm Beach Freedom Institute

Palm Beach, December 16, 2022

Paul du Quenoy, President of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute, is delighted to announce PBFI’s first music commission! In partnership with the Washington, DC-based Common Sense Society, PBFI has engaged the composer Bright Sheng to produce a symphonic overture. Sheng’s new composition will receive its premiere at the Palm Beach Symphony in November 2023, at the opening concert of the Symphony’s 50th anniversary season.

Bright Sheng is the Leonard Bernstein Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of Michigan and a celebrated composer of contemporary classical music. His compositions have been performed by almost every major orchestra, and his work has been commissioned by the White House and the Olympic Games, among other prestigious venues and institutions. Alongside his many other honors, Sheng has been awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellowship, fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, and was twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music.

In September 2021, Sheng showed his class a film adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Othello starring the late Laurence Olivier, who appeared in blackface. As a result, Sheng was removed from teaching and subjected to a disciplinary investigation by the university’s Title IX office for alleged “discriminatory harassment.” Dozens of his University of Michigan colleagues and students publicly called for his dismissal. Leading mainstream media outlets raised concerns about academic freedom, but still condemned Sheng for screening the classic film. After a public outcry, including an op-ed by Prof. du Quenoy in his Newsmax column, the investigation was dropped, and Sheng subsequently returned to teaching.

“What happened to Bright Sheng at the University of Michigan was an outrageous case of the cancel culture that is poisoning our society, destroying our academic institutions, and threatening all of our freedoms,” Prof. du Quenoy said. “We are thrilled that we could bring Bright’s case to national attention and force his vile persecutors to back down from the same despicable tactics he experienced in his early life in Communist China. Along with our friends at the Common Sense Society, we look forward to celebrating the premiere of his overture here in our free state, where “woke” goes to die.

Sheng, who was born in China, completed his studies at Shanghai Conservatory after suffering relentless persecution during that country’s Cultural Revolution, when millions of people were subjected to extreme punishments without evidence or due process. Sheng’s family’s piano was confiscated by the Maoist Red Guards, and he was exiled for seven years to a distant part of the country, where he was forbidden to study Western music.

“I am very grateful to the Palm Beach Freedom Institute for commissioning Bright Sheng to compose an orchestral work to open the Palm Beach Symphony’s 50th anniversary season,” said Gerard Schwarz, the Symphony’s music director, who was formerly director of the Seattle Symphony and the Mostly Mozart Festival at New York’s Lincoln Center. “Bright Sheng is one of the greatest living American composers and our relationship goes back many years. He has always stood for the highest level of music making and has a unique and remarkable voice. All of us at the Palm Beach Symphony are so excited to premiere his new work.”

Questions and comments may be directed to president@palmbeachfreedom.org.

Palm Beach, November 15, 2022

Paul du Quenoy, President of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute and President and Publisher of Academica Press, is delighted to announce that Ilya Shapiro of the Manhattan Institute has been awarded the 2022 Paul du Quenoy Prize! The Paul du Quenoy Prize was created in 2019 by a group of Professor du Quenoy’s friends and admirers to honor individuals who have exposed absurd or unethical practices in academic institutions or media organizations. It is awarded every year on his birthday. Past recipients include the late British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton, veteran National Security Agency cybersecurity specialist Dr. Leslie Gruis, and former Princeton University Professor Joshua Katz.

“I am honored to receive this prize,” Shapiro said. “While I’ve long been an advocate for free speech and due process, particularly in their constitutional dimensions, I never sought to be an exemplar of their necessity. Still, I’m happy to seize the moment and use the platform I’ve been given to shine a light on the rot in legal academia.”

Ilya Shapiro, who will address the Palm Beach Freedom Institute in March 2023, is Senior Fellow and Director of Constitutional Studies at the Manhattan Institute. Previously, he was Senior Lecturer and Executive Director of Georgetown Law’s Center for the Constitution, Vice President of the Cato Institute, Director of Cato’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, and publisher of the Cato Supreme Court Review. Shapiro is the author of Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court (2020) and coauthor of Religious Liberties for Corporations? Hobby Lobby, the Affordable Care Act, and the Constitution (2014). He has written for the Wall Street Journal, Washington PostLos Angeles TimesUSA TodayNational Review, and Newsweek, and appeared on the Colbert Report. Earlier, Shapiro was a special assistant/adviser to the Multi-National Force in Iraq, practiced law at Patton Boggs and Cleary Gottlieb, and clerked for Judge E. Grady Jolly of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. He holds an A.B. from Princeton University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School.

In January 2022, Shapiro vaulted to international attention when he criticized on his private Twitter account President Biden’s decision to restrict his first U.S. Supreme Court nomination to bases of race and gender. In response, Georgetown placed Shapiro on administrative leave before he even started his job and subjected him to two investigations to determine whether he had engaged in “discriminatory” speech and conduct. After four months, Georgetown ultimately alleged that Shapiro’s comments were “harmful” and had caused “pain,” but found that he could not be sanctioned because he made them before he was an employee. Rather than continue in such absurd working conditions, Shapiro demonstratively resigned just three days after his full instatement at Georgetown and joined the Manhattan Institute.

“Ilya Shapiro’s case proves once again that American academia continues its pathetic, self-destructive slide to ruin,” says Paul du Quenoy, a Georgetown alumnus whose family withdrew a major prospective naming gift from the university in 2016 due to concerns about institutional integrity and free speech commitments. “It is no surprise that more than half of Americans no longer believe a college education is vital for success. Thanks to cases like this, we can see exactly whose fault it is and the sick, un-American ideology driving it.”

According to Gallup, between 2015 and 2019, public confidence in higher education fell more dramatically than in any other U.S. institution, with only 48% of adults expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in academia in the final year. That five-period corresponds broadly to the adoption by universities of critical race theory, radical gender ideology, and speech and behavioral policing, such as the heavily criticized and widely challenged Title IX mandate, which promotes investigations of so-called “discriminatory harassment” without due process and other basic legal rights and protections.

A separate study of 2020 found that only 45% of Americans believe a college degree is important for success, down from 95% in 1980. It is widely believed that the figure has fallen lower since 2020, as college enrolments figures and student satisfaction have tanked.

“Georgetown, my financially and reputationally troubled alma mater,” du Quenoy continued, “has again proved itself a national disgrace, and I am delighted to illuminate its disgusting culture of grievance and hysteria by honoring my friend Ilya with my Prize. I look forward to welcoming him to speak at the Palm Beach Freedom Institute, where he is free to say anything he wants without having to worry about the emotionally crippled lowlifes who staff academia’s dying institutions. Their day of reckoning will come, as it has to all of history’s inquisitors. Fortunately, with academia’s latest statistics, we won’t have to wait long.”

Questions and comments may be directed to president@palmbeachfreedom.org.

Palm Beach, November 19, 2021

Paul du Quenoy, President of the Palm Beach Freedom Institute, is delighted to announce that Professor Joshua Katz of Princeton University has been awarded the 2021 Paul du Quenoy Prize! The Paul du Quenoy Prize was created in 2019 by a group of Professor du Quenoy’s friends and admirers to honor individuals who have exposed absurd or unethical practices in academic institutions or media organizations. Past recipients include the late British philosopher Sir Roger Scruton and veteran National Security Agency cybersecurity specialist Dr. Leslie Gruis.

“I am honored to follow the late Sir Roger Scruton and Dr. Leslie Gruis as the third recipient of the annual Paul du Quenoy Prize,” Katz said, “Our treasured institutions are in trouble, and at a time when so many are working to tear everything down, I pledge to do what I can to build and rebuild.”

Dr. Katz is Cotsen Professor in the Humanities and Professor of Classics at Princeton, where he has taught since 1998 and won multiple teaching awards. In July 2020, Dr. Katz vaulted to international attention when he published an article in Quillette that dared disagree with a public letter signed by hundreds of his Princeton colleagues that called for new “anti-racism” measures at the university. Their proposals included establishing Gestapo-like faculty committees to police and sanction the work and personal behavior of their colleagues for “discriminatory content.” They called for faculty members “of color” to receive – possibly in violation of federal and state civil rights laws – greater access to sabbatical leaves, finance compensation, and university resources than their white colleagues. They further demanded a course “requirement focused on the history and legacy of racism in the country and on the campus” and a program of “anti-racist campus iconography, beginning with the removal of the [Founding Father and early Princeton president] John Witherspoon statue.”

Believing that “independence of thought is considered the hallmark of academia,” Dr. Katz wrote in his article that he fully supported his colleagues’ right to make these demands, and equally expected that he would enjoy the right to disagree with them in a public forum. Instead, Dr. Katz was angrily denounced as a racist. His private life was subjected to unconscionable violations in a veritable witch hunt that sought out any frail shred of evidence of wrongdoing. Earlier this year, Dr. Katz was included in Princeton freshman orientation materials that appear to present him as a racist and a part of Princeton’s alleged history of racism. The attacks on Dr. Katz are continuing despite his distinguished career and more than 20 years of dedicated and heavily rewarded service to Princeton.

The Palm Beach Freedom Institute condemns Princeton’s actions with regard to Dr. Katz in the strongest possible terms. “Joshua Katz’s case proves that American academia is failing disastrously in its mission to foster freedom of thought and expression,” says Professor Paul du Quenoy. “It is no surprise that the percentage of Americans who believe a college education is vital for success has fallen from 95% to 45% in the past 40 years. Thanks to cases like this, you can see exactly whose fault it is. Princeton has proved itself a national disgrace, and I am delighted to illuminate its slimy and despicable behavior by honoring Professor Katz with my Prize. I look forward to welcoming him to speak at the Palm Beach Freedom Institute, where he is free to say anything he wants.”