Violence, intimidation, censorship, among offenses against students’ freedoms…
(Brendan Clarey, Liberty Headlines) The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on Monday released its annual list of ten worst colleges in America, because of their limitations on free speech.
Many well-known universities and colleges made the list based on incidents during 2017 such as censorship, free speech zones, bias response teams, and attempts to disinvite speakers from campuses, according to the FIRE website.
Harvard ranked third on the list (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Drexel University took first and second), making it on the list for a fourth year in a row.
FIRE highlighted the university’s decision to rescind admission of ten applicants for sharing memes on Facebook, a move which violates Harvard policies for students.
The list also faults Harvard for backing down on a fellowship it offered to traitor Chelsea Manning, after the university received criticism for the decision.
Fordham University ranked fifth on the list after making it on last year as well.
FIRE singled out a dean’s decision to deny a potential chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine because he couldn’t “support an organization whose sole purpose is advocating political goals of a specific group, and against a specific country.”
FIRE wrote to the school, and eventually the students filed a lawsuit against it, but Fordham stuck to its decision.
“Fordham defended its actions in court by offering a shifting array of justifications for its behavior, each less believable than the last, eventually claiming that the students could start a group, so long as it didn’t use the ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ name — a claim that directly contradicts the university’s written explanations for why it denied official recognition to the group,” FIRE said.
The University of California, Berkeley ranked ninth on the list because of protests resulting from a planned appearance by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
“Protesters set fires, hurled Molotov cocktails, and allegedly assaulted other members of the crowd,” FIRE said of the Berkeley incident. “Their efforts were successful. The speech was canceled. There was $100,000 worth of damage.”
After the riot, Berkeley worked to improve the campus’s approach to free speech.
“After its initial failure in securing and investigating the Feb. 1 riot, the Berkeley administration has admirably reasserted the right to free speech on campus: It provided the necessary security for the aforementioned campus speeches; It hired a new chancellor who declared a “Free Speech Year;” And it unveiled a new policy that eliminates some of the hurdles to hosting an on-campus event.”
DePaul University received FIRE’s new “Lifetime Censorship Award,” for “its decade-long rap sheet of censorship spanning the ideological spectrum.”