Harvard is named WORST school for free speech – scoring BELOW zero – after nine professors and researchers faced calls to be disciplined or fired for voicing ‘controversial’ opinions
Harvard University has been ranked as the worst free speech school in the US – with the Ivy League school awarded zero points out of a possible 100.
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression publishes a list of freedom of expression rankings at U.S. institutions of higher education each year.
Before 2023, Harvard — which has never performed well by FIRE’s standards — was called a “terrible” place for free speech.
Despite being arguably the most elite academic institution in the country, Harvard’s 0-point score was a whopping 11 points behind the next worst school on the list, fellow Ivy League institution, the University of Pennsylvania.
FIRE added that Harvard’s result was “generous” and that the actual score according to the calculations was less than zero, at -10.69.
Harvard’s score fell for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the nine professors and researchers at Harvard who faced calls to be punished or fired based on things they said or wrote in recent years .
The school’s score fell for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the nine Harvard professors and researchers who faced calls in recent years to be punished or fired based on things they said or written.
Seven of the nine eventually received disciplinary action.
The director of polling and analysis at FIRE, Sean Stevens, told the New York After that Harvard consistently ranks in the bottom tier of schools on the list, but was surprised that a school could “get below zero.”
“They’ve had so many sanctions against scientists,” he said.
A school’s score is calculated based on factors such as how strong its policies are in favor of free speech and how many professors, students and visitors to campus are targeted by school authorities for their public positions.
Harvard has seen some of its seven free speech incidents in the past five years, including the school’s decision to withdraw acceptance from conservative activist Kyle Kashuv over racist remarks he made as a 16-year-old. on social media, for which he apologized.
Since 2019, Harvard has sanctioned four scientists, three of whom have been fired.
David Kane, a former government professor at the university, was fired after hundreds of students signed a petition for his removal over an op-ed he wrote about his alma mater’s acceptance criteria and claimed that “more than 90 percent of black students would not have been admitted to Williams if they weren’t black.”
FIRE’s director of polling and analysis, Sean Stevens, said Harvard consistently ranks in the bottom tier of schools on the list, but he was surprised that a school could “go below zero.”
Michigan Technological University at Houghton ranked number one in the US for its treatment of free speech on campus
Points are awarded when school administrators defend the rights of those whose speech is threatened.
The score is also influenced based on the results of a poll conducted by FIRE in conjunction with College Pulse on general student sentiment around fees.
Harvard’s shocking stance comes despite the fact that about 100 professors banded together earlier this year to create the Council on Academic Freedom to champion open research on campus.
“Many, many people are threatened with — and even face — disciplinary action for their exercise of free speech and academic freedom,” said Harvard Law School professor Janet Halley. ‘We are currently in a time of crisis.’
Harvard and Penn were the only two Ivy League schools to complete the bottom five of the list of 248 schools. They were followed by the University of South Carolina, Georgetown University and Fordham University in New York.
Columbia University in New York City was ranked the worst school for free speech last year, but this year it ranked 214th out of 248.
Major public universities fill the top five best environments for free speech according to the FIRE ranking
Last year, Columbia University took home the award for worst culture of free speech on campus. This year, the New York City school rose to 214th place out of 248 schools
In the other direction, Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan took the number one spot on the list for the best culture of free speech on campus, with a score of 78.01.
Stevens said he “wasn’t necessarily surprised that a tech school has a better speech climate, especially since they don’t talk about controversial topics that much.”
“They’re there to make things work like engineers.”
But no Ivy League university was included in the top five colleges on the list; all were large public universities.
Auburn University, the University of New Hampshire, Oregon State University, and Florida State University were celebrated for their apparent commitment to the principles of free speech.
In addition to the clear results, the survey of 55,000 students, which included opinions from 254 universities, found that 56 percent of students are concerned about being “cancelled” because of something they say, and 27 percent believe is that it is acceptable to use force to stop the campus speeches in some cases. circumstances.