(Robert Jonathan, Headline USA) Once considered the archetype of academic excellence, Harvard University has flunked out on campus free speech.
In fact, the Ivy League institution ranked 248th out of a list of 248 schools, according to a new survey of about 55,000 students across America conducted by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.
FIRE pointed out that Harvard has always fared near the bottom of its annual evaluation that is based on various metrics, including an openness to discussing or platforming challenging topics and/or visiting controversial campus speakers, whether the campus administration protects or penalizes free speech, and an evaluation of so-called speech codes.
“And this year, Harvard completed its downward spiral in dramatic fashion, coming in dead last with the worst score ever: 0.00 out of a possible 100.00,” FIRE revealed, even describing the zero classification as “generous.”
FIRE added that “This earns [Harvard] the notorious distinction of being the only school ranked this year with an ‘Abysmal’ speech climate.”
Although college traditionally provided a forum for the exchange all kinds of ideas, controversial, weird and otherwise, last-place Harvard’s track record includes “attempts to sanction students, student groups, scholars, and speakers for speech protected under First Amendment standards,” FIRE noted.
“The administration really sets the tone for a campus,” FIRE official Sean Stevens told Fox News.
Unfortunately, Harvard and other perceived prestigious educational institutions can still provide a crucial credential necessary for big jobs in government, the corporate sector, journalism, in Silicon Valley and in academia itself.
Joining Harvard at the bottom is another Ivy, the University of Pennsylvania, the second worst for free speech, along with University of South Carolina (which would seem to be a red-state surprise) Georgetown University and Fordham University.
As a practical matter, normal students who purse degrees on campuses captured by the far left, often have little choice other than the need to grin and bear (including self-censorship) the intolerance and indoctrination until they get their degree and can move on to their careers.
Along those lines, “More than half of students (56%) expressed worry about damaging their reputation because of someone misunderstanding what they have said or done, and just over a quarter of students (26%) reported that they feel pressure to avoid discussing controversial topics in their classes,” the FIRE report explained, in part, about its findings.
It’s also no wonder that some high school graduates are eschewing colleges and universities altogether given the woke factories that they have become.
Michigan Technological University is the top college for free speech in the rankings with a score of 78, followed by Auburn University, the University of New Hampshire, Oregon State University and Florida State University.
Stevens remarked to the New York Post that “I’m not necessarily surprised that a technological school has a better speech climate, primarily for the reason that they don’t really talk as much about controversial topics. They’re there to make things work as engineers.”
In what could apply beyond just the Cambridge, Mass-based university, FIRE asserted that “Only time will tell if Harvard can climb out of the hole it has dug for itself over the past five years. But one thing’s for sure: It must start with promoting free expression on campus, making room for more speech, not less.”
FIRE excluded six schools, including Hillsdale College, from the rankings because of policies that allegedly prioritize “other values over a commitment to freedom of speech.”