The order is “a solution in search of a problem”, and seems designed to undermine trust in higher education and science, said Julie Schmid, executive director of the American Association of University Professors in Washington DC, in a statement.

“It is also troubling that in his remarks the president sought to drive a wedge between students and faculty, casting his executive order as a ‘clear message to the professors’ that their funding was now at risk while also raising the specters of ‘political indoctrination’ and ‘coercion,’” Schmid wrote…

Sigal Ben-Porath, a political philosopher at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, says that the order might not have significant practical implications. “It reads to me more like a declaration and a message to some parts of the voting population than an actual regulatory or legal change,” she says Ben-Porath.