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Worst Colleges for Free Speech

Welcome to the "worst of the worst" in college censorship! Each year's "worst of the worst" list is presented in no particular order and includes both public and private institutions. Public colleges and universities are bound by the First Amendment; the private colleges on these lists, though not required by the Constitution to protect student and faculty speech rights, explicitly promise to do so.

people with mouths taped shut

FIRE's 10 Worst Censors of 2024

It’s that time of year again — time for the first spring showers, a forecasting groundhog, flowers and chocolates, king cake, and an annual skewering of America’s worst censors. Each year, FIRE names and shames the worst-of-the-worst silencers, bowdlerizers, and steamrollers of free speech. And for the first time since FIRE’s expansion into off-campus First Amendment defense in 2022, our annual “10 Worst” list goes beyond the worst in on-campus censorship and now includes off-campus censors as well. 

10 Worst Censors

The phrase "The 10 Worst Censors" surrounded by heart candies

Lifetime Censorship Award Recipients

Starting in 2018, FIRE also began awarding a Lifetime Censorship Award as part of these annual lists. This “honor” goes to the one college or university that is so frequently discussed as a contender for our annual worst colleges for free speech list that it deserves special recognition. Lifetime Censorship Awards are not given out every year — only in those years where there is a particularly worthy recipient.