Harvard Listed Among 2020 Top 10 'Worst-Of-The-Worst' for Freedom of Speech by FIRE


Harvard University made an annual list that highlights the worst colleges for free speech in the U.S.

The list is put together by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and includes 10 schools it believes have hampered free speech. FIRE chooses schools based on documented instances of free speech violations.

This was the fifth time Harvard made the list. Its transgressions included the fact it blacklisted students who were part of “single-gender clubs” from being eligible for certain scholarships, firing a professor for defending Harvey Weinstein and requiring events with “controversial” speakers to have an unbiased moderator.

Harvard’s inclusion is particularly notable because it enjoys the esteemed company of Ivy League schools and is considered one of the nation’s — and the world’s — best colleges.

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The top 10 universities listed by FIRE for “worst-of-the-worst” for freedom of speech include, in no specific order:

  • Babson College
  • Doane University
  • Harvard University
  • Jones College
  • Long Island University Post
  • Middlebury College
  • Portland State University
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Scranton

In recent years, free speech issues have become a major topic of conversation on campuses across the country. FIRE says it hopes one day its list — which is used to highlight free speech intrusions — is no longer necessary.

“Our hope is that one day creating this list will be difficult, not because of the sheer number of contenders, but because of how few colleges and universities are eager to censor,” said Robert Shibley, FIRE’s executive director. 

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Isaac Saul is a senior politics reporter, editor and founding member at A Plus, the positive news oulet founded by Ashton Kutcher. He also writes the independent, non-partisan, ad-free politics newsletter Tangle. His reporting focuses on Congress, elections, immigration and climate change. His writing has appeared in CNN, The New York Daily News, The Forward, Yahoo!, The Huffington Post, Quartz, and been cited by The Washington Post, The New York Times and Fox News, among others. Before A Plus, he was an Associate Editor at The Huffington Post and the sports editor at The Pitt News.

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