Trump to order colleges to back free speech or lose funding

President Donald Trump is expected to order U.S. colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal funding.

White House officials say Trump on Thursday will sign an executive order requiring colleges to certify that their policies support free speech as a condition of receiving federal research grants.

Trump initially proposed the idea during a March 2 speech to conservative activists. The Republican president highlighted the case of activist Hayden Williams, who was punched in the face while recruiting at the University of California, Berkeley.

RELATED: Violence at pro-Trump march in Berkeley, Ca.

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Violence at Pro-Trump march in Berkeley, California
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Violence at Pro-Trump march in Berkeley, California

A demonstrator in opposition of U.S. President Donald Trump sets a hat on fire during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

An injured demonstrator walks away after a "People 4 Trump" rally turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A man is pulled away from a scuffle as scattered fights break out between supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A bloodied supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen after a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-protest turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) scuffles with a counter-protester during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator falls to the ground as a fight breaks out during a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-demonstrations in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A police officer gestures as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and counter-protesters scuffle during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A bloodied supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen after a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-protest turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A man (L) punches a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump swings a stick towards a group of counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Counter-demonstrators (L) and supporters (R) of U.S. President Donald Trump fight for a U.S. flag during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

Two supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump are seen wearing U.S. flags during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) swings a stick towards a counter-protester during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump swings a stick towards a group of counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017.

(REUTERS/Stephen Lam)

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Berkeley and other colleges have countered that they already have policies protecting free speech and don't need an executive order.

The new order will not jeopardize schools' access to student financial aid that covers tuition.

Officials say implementation details will be worked out in the coming months.

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