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Local Outlets Pick Up ’10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ List

By January 3, 2014

Last week, FIRE published our annual list of the worst colleges for free speech in The Huffington Post, highlighting some of the most egregious violations of student and faculty rights in 2013.

We’re happy to report that our list has received attention from a number of local media outlets surrounding the schools that appear on it.

Melissa Brown of AL.com, who covered FIRE’s efforts to fight the University of Alabama’s unconstitutional grounds use policies that were used to stifle peaceful, spontaneous protests, reports that the university’s failure to adequately revise its policies earned it a spot on this year’s list.

In Utah, The Independent (St. George, UT) noted Dixie State University’s appearance on the list, resulting from the administration’s inexplicable and stubborn refusal to follow the First Amendment and recognize a student group that uses Greek letters in its name.

StGeorgeUtah.com also reported on the list, joking that this is “the only time Dixie will ever be in a Top Ten list with Harvard” before asking a more serious question: “[I]s this who you want to be DSU?”

Finally, Nick Wojton of The Palladium-Times (Oswego, NY) wrote on Tuesday (subscription required) about the State University of New York College at Oswego’s inclusion on the list for its suspension and eviction of a student for soliciting honest opinions about the school’s hockey coach from other hockey coaches for a classroom assignment.

Increased local awareness of these free speech blunders can only help to raise the pressure on schools and their administrators to respect and uphold students’ speech rights. A place on this list is embarrassing, not only for the schools but also for the local communities that support them, and rightly so. If the media and local communities join us in asking their beloved institutions to honor their obligations to protect free speech, perhaps administrators will begin to understand that appearing on this list is something they should do their best to avoid in the future.

Image:“Newspaper Stack” – Shutterstock