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FIRE Announces 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2016

February 17, 2016

PHILADELPHIA, February 17, 2016—Nearly half of America’s top colleges maintain speech codes that blatantly violate First Amendment standards. But every year the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) takes a closer look at the past year’s incidents of college censorship to determine the nation’s 10 worst abusers of student and faculty free speech rights.

This year’s list of the 10 worst colleges for free speech—published with detailed descriptions at The Huffington Post—includes many public colleges or universities bound by the First Amendment. Some of them, on the other hand, are private colleges that, though not required by the Constitution to respect student and faculty rights, nonetheless promise to do so. This year’s list features:

  • Mount St. Mary’s University
  • Northwestern University
  • Louisiana State University
  • University of California, San Diego
  • Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
  • University of Oklahoma
  • Marquette University
  • Colorado College
  • University of Tulsa
  • Wesleyan University

Among the institutions on FIRE’s annual “worst of the worst” list are a university that fired two faculty members for criticizing the university president’s plan to oust low-performing freshmen, a college that suspended a student for making a six-word joke on social media, and even one university that punished a student for something someone else saidand then went after the student newspaper for reporting on the story.

“This past year, free speech on campus took center stage and became international news,” said FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff. “For those of us who have worked for years on the frontlines, the threat to free speech on campus isn’t a new story. Too often students find their voices silenced, and increasingly their professors are finding themselves in the same boat. If this year’s ‘worst’ list proves anything, it’s that even tenured faculty members aren’t safe from the censor’s muzzle.”

FIRE is a nonpartisan, 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:

Nico Perrino, Director of Communications, FIRE: 215-717-3473; media@thefire.org

Schools: Mount St. Mary’s University University of Tulsa Marquette University Louisiana State University – Baton Rouge University of Oklahoma Wesleyan University Northwestern University Colorado College University of California, San Diego