disinvitation report-2014-feat
New FIRE Report: ‘Disinvitations’ Skyrocketing

May 28, 2014

PHILADELPHIA, May 28, 2014—In the wake of high-profile controversies this month over withdrawn and disinvited commencement speakers including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde, and women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has released its first formal report on the phenomenon known as “disinvitation season” on campus.

FIRE’s report finds that since 2000, the number of reported disinvitations and demands that speakers be disinvited has skyrocketed—from six in 2000 to 29 in 2013, for a total of 192 such incidents. And while efforts to exclude speakers receive the most press coverage around graduation, they are a year-round occurrence, meaning that the full number of disinvitation incidents for 2014 (15 so far) cannot yet be known.

“FIRE has informally tracked disinvitation incidents for a long time, but the attention paid to the problem this year because of the prominence of the speakers at issue led us to systematically evaluate the problem,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “The data confirms what we and many others suspected: The desire to silence speakers on campus is strong—and disturbingly, ‘disinvitations’ are becoming more common.”

Other findings include:

More information is available in the full report, which represents FIRE’s first effort to gather reliable information on the topic from media reports. If you know of any incidents that you believe were not included, or that took place before 2000, please email a link to, scan of, or citation for a reliable media report about that incident to disinvitation@thefire.org.

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, freedom of expression, academic freedom, due process, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at thefire.org.

CONTACT:

Greg Lukianoff, President, FIRE: 215-717-3473; greg_lukianoff@thefire.org

Cases: Nationwide: Colleges Across the Country Disinvite Commencement Speakers