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The 10 Worst Colleges For Free Speech: 2017


Replies to: The 10 Worst Colleges For Free Speech: 2017

  • HuntHunt Registered User Posts: 26,871 Senior Member
    FIRE sometimes makes decent points, but they always stack the deck by leaving out restrictive religious colleges. For example, it's a laugh to include Harvard for restricting students rights of free association, while leaving out many other colleges that restrict student organizations much more tightly.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,370 Senior Member
    I've read that their point there is that some colleges SAY they restrict speech so it's OK. But i agree, @Hunt .
  • CorinthianCorinthian Registered User Posts: 1,432 Senior Member
    @hunt, as you presumably know, unlike public universities, which are of course government actors, private universities are not legally obligated to uphold the First Amendment rights of students on campus. Among private universities FIRE considers whether the private university holds itself out as a bastion of freedom of speech and academic freedom. Many religious colleges are very clear that they do NOT promise free speech rights.
    For example, Brigham Young University (BYU) is quite forthright in its stated policies that students entering BYU are not guaranteed robust free speech rights. One BYU policy says the following about free expression: “[T]he exercise of individual and institutional academic freedom must be a matter of reasonable limitations. In general, at BYU a limitation is reasonable when the faculty behavior or expression seriously and adversely affects the university mission or the Church.” It would be clear to anyone attending BYU that they are not entitled to unfettered free speech on campus. If a private college clearly does not promise free speech, and the college makes this known publicly and consistently, entering students have given informed consent and have voluntarily chosen to limit their own rights-in much the same way students entering military academies or theological seminaries understand that they are relinquishing many rights they would enjoy at a state college.
    https://www.thefire.org/in-court/state-of-the-law-speech-codes/. Harvard by contrast claims that "The principles of free speech and the free interchange of ideas are fundamental to the Harvard community." http://osl.fas.harvard.edu/events-policies-and-resources#freespeech. So Harvard opens itself up to criticism about whether it is delivering on its promise. You can argue about the validity of that criticism, but my point is that FIRE has a clear reason for leaving out many restrictive religious colleges from its criticisms.
  • MassDaD68MassDaD68 Registered User Posts: 1,453 Senior Member
    Most schools require you to check your rights at the door as a stipulation for entry. Don't agree, then don't come.

    My 18+ year old son asked be the other day if he could carry some Advil in his backpack in case he needed it. I informed him that the school has a zero tolerance policy on drugs and although he was a legal adult in every way like the teachers, he was unable to because he was a "student". They set up these rules with good intentions but sometimes it does lose it in translation.
  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,610 Senior Member
    FIRE is not really a "free speech" defense but astroturf, funded by extraordinarily wealthy individuals and special interest groups that are deeply against freedom and are actively working on profoundly anti-American causes.

    You keep on using that word anti-American. I do not think it means what it you think it means.
  • exlibris97exlibris97 Registered User Posts: 778 Member
    @Zinhead "Anti-American" is a term without meaning. It never has had meaning. I'd argue that the term is anti-American!
  • CorinthianCorinthian Registered User Posts: 1,432 Senior Member
    edited February 23
    @hunt Consistent support for the principle of freedom of association leads FIRE to (1) criticize Harvard for blacklisting members of sororities, fraternities and finals clubs, and (2) recognize that religious colleges (and those who voluntarily attend them) may exercise their right to decide for themselves whether to subordinate free speech values to other values. Here's a link to the full page ad FIRE took out in the Harvard Crimson. https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3455129/Dear-Harvard-PrintAd.pdf
  • marvin100marvin100 Registered User Posts: 9,014 Senior Member
    @Corinthian - literally every criticism FIRE has made of decisions made by private colleges is not about free speech.
  • emilybeeemilybee Registered User Posts: 12,138 Senior Member
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 10,370 Senior Member
  • fragbotfragbot Registered User Posts: 237 Junior Member
    Harvey Silverglate was one of FIRE's founders. Astroturfing? Nah, just a gadfly to those who'd expect to define civility on only their terms.
This discussion has been closed.