SILENCED: America’s 10 WORST Colleges For Free Speech

Each year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) releases a list of the worst schools in the country for free speech. These could be schools that have restrictive free speech codes or schools that have made headlines for their violations of rights.
“Some — we’re looking at you Harvard, DePaul, and Syracuse — are regulars and have appeared four or five times. Others have slunk away in embarrassment after being listed. But all have one thing in common: They had the chance to do the right thing when it came to free speech, but chose otherwise,” FIRE wrote in a post about the list.
FIRE doesn’t list the schools in order of bad to worst. Instead, the schools are listed alphabetically. Below are the 10 worst for 2020:
Babson College (Massachusetts)
Professor Asheen Phansey made a joke on his private Facebook page and was fired. His joke may or may not be funny to you, but it was an obvious joke and not an actual threat. Still, the school conducted a “thorough investigation” – which last about one day – and fired Phansey. Here’s his joke, which was made after President Donald Trump threatened to bomb 52 Iranian sites, including potentially some cultural sites:
In retaliation, Ayatollah Khomeni should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb. Um… Mall of America? …Kardashian residence?
Jones College (Mississippi)
Michael Brown, a former student of Jones College, was trying to raise interest in Young Americans for Liberty. His former college twice told him to stop exercising his free speech rights, so he sued. The lawsuit gained so much attention even the Department of Justice filed a Statement of Interest in the case.
Harvard University (Massachusetts)
Harvard has been cracking down on single-gender clubs and removed law professor and Ronald Sullivan as faculty dean of Winthrop House because he did his job as a defense attorney and agreed to take Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein as a client. Weinstein is charged with rape and sexual assault.
Harvard students were upset that a criminal defense attorney was defend someone charged with a crime, and the university obliged.
University of Scranton (Pennsylvania)
Students attempting to register a chapter of the conservative group Turning Point USA were denied by the student government simply for being a right-leaning group. The school stood by the student government’s decision instead of standing up for the students’ First Amendment rights.
Middlebury College (Vermont)
Middlebury was the scene of one of the most high-profile instances of student aggression back in 2017. Last year, the school decided it hadn’t proved itself hostile enough to free speech by canceling a lecture by Polish scholar and politician Ryszard Legutko that was organized by faculty, not students.
Long Island University Post (New York)
The school investigated student Jake Gutowitz for possessing “forbidden flyers.”
“These flyers, which had been appearing on campus throughout the school year, were labeled ‘Common Sense’ à la Thomas Paine and contained parodies and poems criticizing LIU Post and its administrators, particularly President Kimberly Cline,” FIRE wrote.
Gutowitz denied any involvement in distributing the flyers and was told he would receive a letter resolving the investigation – but he never did, even after he graduated.
University of Connecticut
Irresponsible students playing that game where one person shouts a “taboo” word and the other tries to out-do them were recorded playing the game in a parking lot. Eventually, the students shouted the n-word and campus police were sent to find them. An investigation ensued and they were charged under a century-old statute. They also face disciplinary charges at the university.
Syracuse University (New York)
Syracuse denied recognition to students trying to start a chapter of Young Americans for Freedom because it was a conservative group. The school also suspended all fraternity activities for a semester because of an alleged racial incident at one fraternity that involved someone who wasn’t even a member of that fraternity.
Doane University (Nebraska)
“A faculty librarian displayed the university’s own historical photos — and got suspended,” FIRE reported.
The librarian selected photos that would spark a discussion about offensive Halloween and party costumes. Two of the university-owned photos she selected included students wearing blackface at a masquerade party in 1926. The librarian was suspended and later reinstated, but the school has not adequately responded to that issues of free speech.
Portland State University (Oregon)
Campus police canceled a socialist group’s meeting out of fear that a single “Patriot Prayer” leader might attend. This same campus police organization then stood by while a protester with a cowbell disrupted a College Republican meeting.
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