The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has released its annual list of the worst colleges in the country for free speech. FIRE covers both public and private schools and comprised this list of the 10 most egregious offenders of free speech rights.
In no specific order, FIRE named these schools the worst for free speech in the country:
- Texas State University (Texas)
- Drexel University (Pennsylvania)
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (New York)
- Los Angeles Community College District (California)
- Northwestern University (Illinois)
- Fordham University (New York)
- Evergreen State College (Washington)
- Albion College (Michigan)
- University of California, Berkeley (California)
- Harvard University (Massachusetts)
Bonus: DePaul University received FIRE’s Lifetime Censorship Award. Administration at DePaul has been censoring its students for years. They’ve called critical posters “propaganda,” denied recognition to a student group they disagreed with and recently forced student groups to pay for security at “potentially controversial” events. They also blocked an event featuring a conservative speaker.
FIRE details how these schools earned their spots among the worst of the worst.
- Some of these schools censored their students and faculty (Rensselaer, Northwestern, Texas State University, Drexel, Evergreen, Albion, Fordham)
- Some gave in to pressure from “pre-offended” students over guest speakers. (Harvard, Berkeley)
- Some enforced “free speech zones” by silencing students who expressed themselves outside of the designated expression areas. (Los Angeles Community College District)
- Some allowed students to run the show through violent protests and property destruction (looking at you, Berkeley).
All colleges and universities have a duty to their students, their faculty and society to respect the First Amendment, treat opinions and people with dignity, and to encourage debate on the merits of an argument rather than silencing those with whom one disagrees.
College should be the place we learn what we believe, why we believe it and how to justify those beliefs. The anti-free speech actions endorsed by the institutions in FIRE’s top 10 list harm not only the students, but the world they enter after college.