America is experiencing two disturbing simultaneous trends: the rise of mob censorship to shut down speaking events on college campuses, and an attempt to justify it as merely the exercise of “more speech.”
Last week, FIRE released our annual “Scholars Under Fire” report. The report documents attempts from 2000 to 2022 to sanction scholars for speech that is — or in public settings would be — protected by the First Amendment. We found more than 1,000 sanction attempts, with more than 600 ending in sanction, and more than 200 resulting in the termination of the targeted scholar’s employment.
Our findings were met with a range of positive responses and were covered by more than a dozen publications. However, we want to address one specific criticism that received a fair amount of attention and seeks to delegitimize the purpose of the report.
Amid criticism from FIRE and its student chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, Black Hills State University has changed its free speech policy to ensure speakers with controversial views won’t be censored.
Pitzer College recently made headlines for painting over pro-Palestinian artwork and messages on the college’s “Free Wall,” — an outdoor brick canvas designated for spontaneous student expression not subject to the college’s typical approval procedures.