Take a Look at Where Harvard Places In Annual College Free Speech Rankings
In a new report released on Wednesday, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) ranked Harvard University dead last in its annual college free speech rankings. The report, which is based on a survey of 248 colleges and universities, found that Harvard had an “abysmal” rating on the free speech climate at the school.
Harvard, one of the nation’s top law schools, scored a zero out of 100, the lowest score ever recorded, according to FIRE.
The report cited several factors in its assessment of Harvard’s free speech climate, including the number of professors and students who have been punished for their speech, the level of student support for free speech, and the school’s policies on speech.
“Each year, the climate on college campuses grows more inhospitable to free speech,” said FIRE Director of Polling and Analytics Sean Stevens. “Some of the most prestigious universities in our country have the most repressive administrations. Students should know that a college degree at certain schools may come at the expense of their free speech rights.”
One student from the class of 2023 reportedly said that they were required to start every class stating their pronouns, while another said they were afraid to be open about their opinions.
“I often avoid posting controversial takes on social media tied to my name because I am afraid that they might be misconstrued by my classmates or admin,” a student from the class of 2024 reportedly said.
The FIRE report also found that Harvard has a number of policies that restrict free speech, such as a policy that prohibits “hate speech” and a policy that allows students to be punished for “creating a hostile environment.”
“We are very pleased to see that a number of university presidents are taking the issue of freedom of speech and academic freedom seriously by signing on to free speech initiatives,” said FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff. “However, they have a long way to go toward restoring public trust. After all, an environment in which you can actually get in trouble for the ‘wrong’ academic opinion is not one that can be depended upon to produce reliable knowledge. It’s especially disturbing that some of the worst performing institutions are among America’s most influential schools, including Harvard, Georgetown, Northwestern and Dartmouth.”
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) September 6, 2023