Tag: campus free speech

FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings Find Increased Student Support for Censorship

 

Last week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), working alongside College Pulse and RealClearEducation, published the second rendition of our College Free Speech Rankings. Among the takeaways? Prospective college students who want a college with a strong culture of free expression should consider Claremont McKenna College or the University of Chicago, which come first and second (with CMC taking the top spot held by UChicago last year). By that same token, they might want to think twice about DePauw University, which finishes last for the second consecutive year.

When we published our first edition of the rankings last year, the nearly 20,000 students at 55 institutions made it the largest survey of college student attitudes on free speech ever conducted. Nowhere to go from there but down? Nonsense. This year, we surveyed nearly triple the number of schools (159) and nearly double the number of students (over 37,000). The report takes into account the varied dimensions of free expression on campus, including the ability to discuss challenging topics like race, gender dynamics, and geopolitical conflicts; whether students hold back from openly sharing their views; and official campus speech policies.

The rankings found that more than 80% of students report self-censoring their viewpoints at their colleges at least some of the time, with 21% saying they censor themselves often. Only a third of students say that their college administration makes it either very or extremely clear that it will protect free speech on campus. What’s more, some illiberal streaks among the student population seem to be trending in the wrong direction. For instance, 66% reported some level of acceptance for speaker shout-downs (up 4 percentage points from FIRE’s 2020 report), and 23% agreed that it’s acceptable for people to use violence to stop certain speech (up 5 percentage points). Additionally, students generally showed much greater intolerance for campus speakers with conservative positions.

Let the Sun Shine In

 

As Mark Davis says “Trump makes everyone better.” President Trump just issued an executive order linking federal grants to real protection of free speech on college and university campuses. Unlike Obama administration “Dear Colleague letters,” this will be a publicly taken presidential action, with clear political accountability. This move suggests two other actions the president can and should take, in short order.

Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities

Issued on 21 March 2019, this executive order addresses the importance of free and open debate and the outrageous cost, with subsequent debt burden, of higher education.

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A brief note from FIRE to any college faculty Ricochet readers out there: FIRE is currently taking proposals from faculty interested in presenting at our fall academic conference. The conference will be held this year from October 31-November 2 in Boston, Massachusetts. As with previous iterations of the conference held in 2017 and 2018, we’re […]

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Formidable to Tyrants Only

 

The title comes from the Declaration of Independence. Third on the list of grievances, Ol’ Tommy J. has this to say:

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

On this AEI Events Podcast, Amy Wax of the University of Pennsylvania Law School joins AEI to discuss the state of debate and disagreement in academia today, reflecting on the value of reasoned dialogue and civil debate.

Illiberalism is ascendant in academia. Reasoned dialogue and civil debate, once considered the essence of university life, are giving way to ad hominem mudslinging and appeals to emotion.

Does Texas Need Campus Free Speech Legislation? A Look at the Goldwater Institute Model Bill on Campus Free Speech

 

The Texas Senate State Affairs Committee Chair recently held hearings at Texas State University on whether Texas should enact legislation protecting free speech on state college campuses. The Senate Committee asked fourteen speakers to testify on registration requirements of student organizations and obstacles for students to invite speakers to appear on state campuses, such as arbitrary security expenses. In addition, the Goldwater Institute submitted written testimony explaining the Goldwater Institute’s model bill called the “Campus Free Speech Act.”  The model bill was co-authored by the Goldwater Institute and Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The Basics of the Bill

The Campus Free Speech Act affirms the principle that state universities should remain neutral on public controversies to encourage dialogue and debate on campus. To do so, the Act would extend the protections of the First Amendment to entire state college campuses by treating all public areas as a traditional free speech forum, thereby eliminating so-called “free speech zones.”

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I just watched this press conference/release from Milo about his free speech week at Berkeley. Depending on the detailed facts, it could be very interesting. If Berkeley really has gone the road of trying to find criminal complaints in order to intimidate their own students due to ideological differences, then that is really bad. To […]

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In this AEI Events Podcast, a panel of academics, hosted by AEI’s Ryan Streeter and Samuel J. Abrams, discusses the experience of conservative professors on campus and the role faculty play in addressing the campus political climate. The panelists touch on a variety of topics, including the prevalence of confirmation bias and the necessity of including all ideas to avoid decline in the quality of research and education, as well as risks of overstating the current campus climate, and they disagree about whether the campus climate will lead to tangible societal change.

The panel features Samuel J. Abrams (AEI), Gerard Alexander (University of Virginia), Eliot Cohen (Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies), James Gimpel (University of Maryland), and Samuel Goldman (The George Washington University). It is moderated by Pete Peterson (Pepperdine School of Public Policy).

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We all know what has happened to the University of Missouri after their impotent response to the whacky protests of a year or two ago.  Could this story be a sign that the tide is finally turning?  Real free speech on campus? http://nypost.com/2017/07/19/finally-a-college-cracks-down-on-the-lefts-snowflake-fascists/ Preview Open

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I had an anxiety dream the other night  – mine are always about the start of new semester.  Usually I don’t have the syllabus done, or I’m being randomly told to teach a class I know nothing about or some such.  This one was a little different. In the dream, I had two classes. I […]

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Do modern campuses actually value ideas and intellectual discourse? Should there be limits on capitalism? Is modern architecture bad? Sir Roger Scruton and Christina Hoff Sommers join ‘Viewpoint’ on the AEI Podcast Channel to discuss each of these topics and more.

This conversation originally aired on the AEI YouTube Channel on March 22, 2017.

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In his classic allegorical novel Animal Farm, George Orwell describes the gradual transformation of the pigs from downtrodden farm animals taking part in a livestock uprising into oppressors indistinguishable from the humans who previously ruled. Today, on our college campuses, the erstwhile victims of cultural conformity and rigid societal expectations, the philosophical descendants of the […]

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As a parent with 3 kids their schooling and college is often on my mind.   Usually its because of stress over the high cost of college. Lately its because I am concerned about what my family’s money will be paying for when we send our youngest off to college.  As the first person in […]

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Campus Free Speech Legislation Proposed—Finally

 

“The Campus Free Speech Act gives the First Amendment bite,” said Jim Manley, Senior Attorney at the Goldwater Institute and a co-author of the Act and report. “Where this bill becomes law, there will be real consequences for anyone—including protestors, administrators, or professors—who tries to prevent others from expressing their opinions. The legislation also provides robust due process protections for anyone accused of trying to silence speech.”

Following legislation that was passed in 2016 in Arizona regarding free speech on campuses, we now have hope of a state-level laws protecting free speech at public universities. The law, developed by the Goldwater Institute with the help of Stanley Kurtz at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, was based on the University of Chicago’s 1967 Kalven Report and the 2015 Stone Report .

The legislation proposed is comprehensive and addresses the following areas: