Columbia is worst college in nation for free speech: report


If you like free speech, don’t go to Columbia.

A leading free speech organization ranked the best and worst college campuses for freedom of speech and New York’s top school, Columbia University, came in dead last.

On Wednesday, The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) released its third annual College Free Speech Rankings for the 2022-2023 school year. In partnership with College Pulse, they surveyed nearly 45,000 students from more than 200 colleges — making it the largest ever survey about campus expression.

The University of Chicago came first for campus free speech, scoring 77.92 points out of 100. Four public universities rounded out the top five: Kansas State University, Purdue University, Mississippi State University and Oklahoma State University.

The University of Chicago has been widely celebrated as a champion of free expression since publishing the Chicago Principles in 2014, which stated that, “the University has a solemn responsibility not only to promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation, but also to protect that freedom when others attempt to restrict it.” The principles have since been adopted by dozens of other institutions, including Princeton and Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, Columbia University came last and was the only school to be slammed with a Speech Climate rating of “abysmal.”
Columbia ranked last — and was the only school slammed with a Speech Climate rating of “abysmal.”
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression

Meanwhile, Columbia University came last and was the only school to be slammed with a Speech Climate rating of “abysmal.” Scoring just 9.91 out of 100, New York City’s Ivy was dragged down by its high number of scholars who were sanctioned for expressing their views. Between 2019-2020, seven academics faced investigation or disciplinary action for tweets or comments deemed unacceptable. Columbia did not immediately respond to The Post for comment.

The University of Pennsylvania was second to last, with a score of 14.32 out of 100. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Georgetown University and Skidmore College also ranked in the bottom five. 

The University of Chicago topped FIRE’s College Free Speech Rankings in 2022, scoring 77.92 points out of 100.
The University of Chicago topped FIRE’s College Free Speech Rankings in 2022, scoring 77.92 points out of 100.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“The situation for freedom of speech and academic freedom has been in trouble on campus since before FIRE was founded in 1999,” FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff said in a press release. “That situation has gotten far worse in the last few years.”

College students across the nation have made headlines in recent years for shouting down speakers or disinviting them from campus for controversial beliefs. In the report, 62 percent of students said it’s “at least sometimes acceptable” to shout down a speaker, and one in five students said using violence to stop a campus speech is “sometimes acceptable.”

A shocking 63 percent of students said they fear their reputation will be damaged if they speak their minds, and nearly a quarter report that they are often self-censoring. And while only 13 percent of liberal students say they “often” cannot express their opinions freely, nearly half of conservative students say the same. The issues students feel the most discomfort expressing include abortion, racial inequality and vaccine mandates followed by transgender issues, gun control, mask mandates and police misconduct.

After University of Chicago professor Dorian Abbot (pictured) was disinvited from giving a lecture at MIT over his opinion on affirmative action, his college stood by him. The Chicago institution is renowned for defending freedom of speech.
After University of Chicago professor Dorian Abbot was disinvited from giving a lecture at MIT over his opinion on affirmative action, his school stood by him.
Matthew Gilson

“That so many students are self-silencing and silencing each other is an indictment of campus culture,” said FIRE Senior Researcher Sean Stevens, one of the authors of the report. “How can students develop their distinct voices and ideas in college if they’re too afraid to engage with each other?”

Since launching the rankings three years ago, Stevens said administrators from multiple schools have contacted FIRE for advice on how to improve their rankings and the state of free speech on their campus. He said he hopes his research and advocacy at FIRE will continue to inspire meaningful change.

“We hope that schools will recognize these trends themselves — or feel some pressure from current students, faculty and alumni — and make changes if they’re lower in the rankings,” he told The Post. “We hope this report will be used to push schools to change their policies to foster more open expression on campuses.

“We want to provide information to parents and prospective students deciding on where to go to college,” Stevens added. “If the ability to express their views and free expression on campus is something that matters to them, these rankings give them information about what campuses might be better for them.”



Source link

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: