The editorial board of The Daily Orange, the daily student newspaper at Syracuse University (SU), writes today of the effect that FIRE’s "red light" rating of the university’s speech codes may have on future admissions numbers:
If the trend of incidents involving free speech continues at SU, it may have an effect on application numbers. Students will not want to come to a school that has poor free speech rankings because it can make for an uncomfortable learning environment. The incidents at the College of Law and School of Education made headlines and applicants across the country could have heard about it.
The editorial, titled "Poor free speech ranking should be worrisome for SU officials," also calls for clarity in the school’s speech-related policies:
To help alleviate this issue and stop SU from continuing to be ranked as the worst school for free speech, individual school and college codes need to be more clearly stated. School and college administrators need to make clear to students where these policies can be found. While it is expected for codes and policies to vary from school to school – to fit the different majors and missions of the schools – clarity for students is key.
FIRE agrees that Syracuse should be worried about the state of free speech on its campus. The university was named one of last year’s worst colleges for free speech in our article in The Huffington Post, and has overseen two separate outrageous and embarrassing free speech cases in a little over a year.
Syracuse would do well to start making moves in the direction of promoting and protecting free speech before its lousy reputation becomes more widespread.