FIRE Names Worst Colleges in America for Free Speech
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” list on Tuesday, featuring both public and private colleges across the country.
Among this year’s institutions that made the list, school officials were accused of censoring student newspapers, a fraternity skit, and professors who testified on behalf of a former student accused of sexually assaulting a minor.
The University of Kansas was one of the “winners” for 2019. According to FIRE’s report, the university removed an outdoor flag art display after Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer said it was a “disrespectful display of a desecrated American flag,” and demanded that it be taken down. FIRE also highlighted the University’s “restrictive” social media policies that were approved by the Board of Regents in 2014 as a threat to faculty free speech rights.
The University of Wisconsin System also made the list for retaliating against UW-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow after he invited former adult film star and sex educator Nina Hartley to deliver a lecture on campus as part of the school’s Free Speech Week programming. Gow later came under fire from the University of Wisconsin System president, Ray Cross, who started an audit of Gow’s discretionary fund.
Other institutions included in the rankings are the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Georgetown University Qatar, Syracuse University, Liberty University, Alabama A&M University, University of North Alabama, Plymouth State University and Dixie State University.
In a similar report released by the FIRE last December, it was uncovered that nine out of ten colleges in the U.S. restrict free expression among students and faculty. Three out of seven Ivy League schools – Harvard University, Princeton University, and Dartmouth College – were also found violating the free speech rights of their students.