Harvard University is the worst college for free speech: 'Abysmal' rating, report says


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  vic-eldred  •  3 weeks ago  •  17 comments

By:   Rick Sobey (Boston Herald)

Harvard University is the worst college for free speech: 'Abysmal' rating, report says
Harvard ranked last out of 248 colleges in a campus free speech survey, receiving the only "Abysmal" rating in the country.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Just as the school year kicks off and students return to campus, Harvard University has been ranked as the worst college for free speech in the country.

Harvard ranked last out of 248 colleges in a survey of more than 55,000 students across the U.S., receiving the only "Abysmal" rating in the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression and College Pulse free speech rankings.

"Each year, the climate on college campuses grows more inhospitable to free speech," said FIRE Director of Polling and Analytics Sean Stevens.

"Some of the most prestigious universities in our country have the most repressive administrations," Stevens added. "Students should know that a college degree at certain schools may come at the expense of their free speech rights."

The campus free speech rankings rely heavily on student responses and on how schools responded to deplatforming attempts.

Self-censorship is pervasive across the board, according to the survey. More than a quarter of students (26%) said they censor themselves at least a few times a week in conversations with friends, and 25% said they're more likely to self-censor now than they were when starting college.

Up to 72% of students opposed allowing a conservative speaker on campus, depending on the topic, while up to 43% of students opposed allowing a liberal speaker on campus.

At a time of national dialogue about abortion policy, 49% of students said they have difficulty discussing abortion on campus. The most difficult topics to discuss on campus are abortion, gun control, racial inequality, and transgender rights.

While Harvard ranked last in the survey, Michigan Technological University was the top college for free speech. The University of New Hampshire ranked third overall in the country.

"We are very pleased to see that a number of university presidents are taking the issue of freedom of speech and academic freedom seriously by signing on to free speech initiatives," said FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff. "However, they have a long way to go toward restoring public trust.

"After all, an environment in which you can actually get in trouble for the 'wrong' academic opinion is not one that can be depended upon to produce reliable knowledge," Lukianoff added. "It's especially disturbing that some of the worst performing institutions are among America's most influential schools, including Harvard, Georgetown, Northwestern and Dartmouth."

Here are the rankings for other Massachusetts colleges and universities:

  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute: 78, average
  • University of Massachusetts: 132, average
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 136, average
  • Brandeis University: 138, average
  • Williams College: 145, slightly below average
  • Boston University: 152, slightly below average
  • Mount Holyoke College: 155, slightly below average
  • Wellesley College: 167, slightly below average
  • Smith College: 168, slightly below average
  • Tufts University: 183, below average
  • Clark University: 188, below average
  • Amherst College: 195, below average
  • Northeastern University: 198, below average
  • Boston College: 229, poor


jrDiscussion - desc
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Vic Eldred    3 weeks ago

An American university is no longer the place for freedom of thought or ideas.

charger 383
Professor Silent
2  charger 383    3 weeks ago

Harvard just is not what it used to be

Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    3 weeks ago
FIRE has received major funding from groups which primarily support  conservative  and  libertarian  causes, including the  Bradley Foundation Sarah Scaife Foundation , and the  Charles Koch Institute .
Drinker of the Wry
Sophomore Expert
3.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  JohnRussell @3    3 weeks ago

Exactly and that makes all the difference.

Professor Principal
3.1.1  JohnRussell  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1    3 weeks ago

der giver en lort

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
3.1.2  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @3.1    3 weeks ago

They are in total denial.

Sparty On
Professor Principal
3.1.3  Sparty On  replied to  Vic Eldred @3.1.2    3 weeks ago

Denial is part and parcel for many of our friends on the left.

Drinker of the Wry
Sophomore Expert
4  Drinker of the Wry    3 weeks ago

"AT HARVARD, there are research areas that can’t be investigated, subjects that can’t be broached in public, and ideas that can’t be discussed in a classroom. So say a group of Harvard professors, now more than 120 strong, who have formed a Council on Academic Freedom to respond to perceived assaults on free inquiry and a climate of eroded trust that some faculty and students say stifles dissent. The group, formed this year, went public in early April when Johnstone Family professor of psychology Steven Pinker, one of the Council’s six co-presidents, and Harvard Medical School (HMS) professor of psychobiology Bertha Madras published an op-ed in the Boston Globe detailing the group’s commitment to “free inquiry, intellectual diversity, and civil discourse.” 

More at:

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @4    3 weeks ago

That should give us all hope.

Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
5  Sean Treacy    3 weeks ago

Encapsulates the state of American higher education 

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
6  seeder  Vic Eldred    3 weeks ago

I found this little gem at lunch:

I can't stop laughing

Professor Participates
6.1  Jasper2529  replied to  Vic Eldred @6    3 weeks ago

Biological differences are a "social construct"? That woman needs mental help!!

Sparty On
Professor Principal
7  Sparty On    3 weeks ago

I spent a 40+ year career being regularly underwhelmed by Ivy League grads so I’m not sure this is a new thing.     Maybe a more transparent thing but not new 

Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
7.1  seeder  Vic Eldred  replied to  Sparty On @7    3 weeks ago

We have a few veteran members on here who fought for this country.  As you must know, this is not what the courageous risk their lives for.

I hope it's not to late to turn it around.

Sparty On
Professor Principal
8  Sparty On    3 weeks ago

Oh and by the way.    Michigan Tech is my alma mater …..


Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
9  Sean Treacy    2 weeks ago

"This chart also demonstrates that Christian students are the most tolerant of opposing opinions while atheists are the least tolerant."

Another interesting finding in the survey.  Though its not a surprise to those who understand the history of fascism and other totalitarian regimes. 

Sparty On
Professor Principal
9.1  Sparty On  replied to  Sean Treacy @9    2 weeks ago

Nothing new there.


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