UChicago Ranked as Top Free Speech School While Columbia, Georgetown, Penn Rank at the Very Bottom

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), in partnership with College Pulse, has released the third annual College Free Speech Rankings, ranking the speech climates of 203 of America’s largest campuses. I am happy to report that my alma mater, the University of Chicago, took the top position in protecting free speech. At the bottom of the list is Columbia university. George Washington University does not fair well. It is 171 out of 203 near the bottom of the ranking.

I have long praised UChicago for its courageous stand in favor of free speech at a time of rising intolerance for opposing views on our campuses.  I also have praised Purdue University, which is ranked third after Kansas State University.

I have also been a critic of my other alma mater, Northwestern University, which has been equally prominent in its anti-free speech culture.  Northwestern ranks 197 out of 203.

The top five are filled out by Mississippi State University and Oklahoma State University.

The bottom five are also familiar universities for readers of this blog, which are routinely the subject of anti-free speech controversies.  That includes Skidmore College (199) (here and here), Georgetown University (here and here and here and here), and University of Pennsylvania (202) (here and here and here).

There is clearly no penalty or deterrent for university presidents or faculties who have created such environments of intolerance and orthodoxy.  They have turned their faculties and classes into echo chambers of an increasingly narrow views and values. Despite polls of students who express fear of expressing themselves, professors dismiss such concerns while continuing to reduce the diversity of viewpoints on their faculties and in publications.

The fact is that the reduction of viewpoint diversity is not just a reflection of intolerance and intellectual rigidity.  It also offers greater opportunities for faculty in access to conferences, publications, and speaking events. Other faculty, including some who have contacted this blog with accounts or controversies, are fearful of being publicly targeted by their colleagues or students. In three decades of teaching, I have never seen this level of intolerance and the general lack of support for free speech on many campuses.

The only way to reverse this trend is for students and families to take note of these rankings in both applications and donations. Free speech is not some tangential element to education; it is the very life’s blood of our profession.  These faculties are doing lasting damage to higher education with their bias and intolerance. The only hope is to use economic pressure, particularly on university presidents, to support the policies of universities like UChicago in standing firm on free speech.

41 thoughts on “UChicago Ranked as Top Free Speech School While Columbia, Georgetown, Penn Rank at the Very Bottom”

  1. From the Survey
    Student Voices: Please share a moment where you personally felt you could not express your opinion on your campus.

    From Harvard University:
    “I’d rather not say because I might receive repercussions.”
    – Class of 2023

    ‘Nuff said about the Leftist Indoctrination Entities (“LIEs”).

  2. Imagine paying to learn and being partitioned off from 1/2 of the information available. Turning out limited intolerant minds.

  3. Jonathan: Well, it turns out Judge Cannon is a Trump political hack after all. Yesterday, she appointed Judge Raymond Dearle as special master but told the DOJ they could not use the material seized at Mar-a-Lago in their criminal investigation of Trump. Cannon also bizarrely claimed Trump might have a “possessory interest” in top secret docs. The DOJ is appealing Cannon’s order to the 11th Circuit so will see whether Cannon’s order goes down in flames.

    In your column on 9/3 you applauded Cannon’s appointment of a special master to “force critical reviews and rulings on issues from attorney-client privilege to executive privilege”. “Executive privilege”? Apparently, you did not read the DOJ filings, or the opinions by virtually all legal experts, that Trump was no longer president when he purloined top secret material. He was a private citizen. Only the sitting president can claim the privilege. Oh well, facts don’t matter in your defense of Trump.

    Trump is his own worst enemy in this dispute. He “rage” is causing his lawyers all sorts of problems in defending him. Trump is making incriminating statements that will come back to haunt him if he is indicted by the DOJ. On Hugh Hewitt’s podcast the host asked Trump whether he thought he would be prosecuted. Trump’s response? He said the DOJ was “sick and deranged”. Trump also said the search of his residence was illegal “because, you know, it’s 4th Amendment stuff”. Trump conveniently forgets the search warrant approved by Judge Reinhart was based on “probable cause”. No violation of the 4th Amendment there.

    In the Hewitt interview Trump went on to falsely claim it is “common” to try to substitute alternative electors for those chosen by the voters. It’s not “common”. It’s unprecedented! Trump made other incriminating statements like “Everything was declassified”–even though Trump has never offered any evidence he declassified anything he took–a fact pointed out in the DOJ’s filings. And Trump ignores the fact that he could not take even arguably “declassified” material. Facts don’t matter in Trump world.

    With all the important developments and legal issues surrounding this dispute you have remained strangely silent. Even Alan Dershowitz has weighed in (Newsweek, 9/8) defending Judge Cannon’s order. No, you rather discuss a right-wing political poll ranking universities on “free speech”. They “silence is golden” but your silence is really perplexing.

    1. Why the long winded, mindless comment? Just simply say, “I hate Donald Trump and I want our esteemed Two-Tier System of Justice to punish him.” It’s short, accurate, and to-the-point.

    2. “Yesterday, she appointed Judge Raymond Dearle as special master but told the DOJ they could not use the material seized at Mar-a-Lago in their criminal investigation “

      Dennis Dearle was acceptable to both parties, so why the complaint? The DOJ has to stop reviewing the records until Dearle looks at them. That is what he is there for. What is wrong with that?

      “The DOJ is appealing Cannon’s order to the 11th Circuit so will see whether Cannon’s order goes down in flames.”

      Or the DOJ appeal goes down in flames.

      How could Trump steal anything. Did you see him return to the White House after Biden took office?

      “He “rage” is causing his lawyers all sorts of problems in defending him.”

      How many meetings have you had with his attorney’s? None. Then how would you know?

      “He said the DOJ was “sick and deranged”.”

      That is how they have been acting.

      “In the Hewitt interview Trump went on to falsely claim it is “common” to try to substitute alternative electors for those chosen by the voters. It’s not “common”. It’s unprecedented! “

      You are wrong.

      “Trump has never offered any evidence he declassified anything “

      He doesn’t have to. The DOJ has to prove its case. (Side note: If the President decides not to declassify something, that is not criminal.)

      By the way, since we have similar interests in art, Among the other things from south of our border, I should have mentioned Ernesto Guttierez a Peruvian artist. I have a large oil of his. If you look at his works you will see there is something in common, people who are not part of the elite.

  4. Meanwhile, scenes from a Chicago neighborhood. No college administrators were harmed in the making of this video.

    1. Is this video showing up as age restricted for you too? When you go to youtube, are you required to sign in to view it?

      This video is a short, powerful example of political speech. If the video is disturbing, it is because it represents an actual, unfiltered view of conditions in a neighborhood in Chicago and their impact on an unfortunate citizen-victim. The video is a prime example of speaking truth to power. For calling the powerful to account. For calling out the costs that their policies impose on disempowered victims.

      Youtube’s treatment of the video is Example A of an ostensibly content neutral policy which, as applied, is anything but content neutral. It is online censorship of disfavored political speech.

  5. Filter the list for “Hillsdale College” and you get.

    “Warning Schools
    The following schools have policies that clearly and consistently state that it prioritizes other values over a commitment to freedom of speech. These colleges were excluded from the rankings and were scored relative to one another.”

    So, a leftist survey patting themselves on the back for their commitment to free speech. Remember that Berkeley was the founding location of the “Free Speech Movement” and you will know all you need to know.

    1. FIRE is not leftist. It is made of both conservatives and liberals. The only requirement is a commitment to free speech.

      FIRE today is doing what the ACLU used to do – in the realm of Free Speech.

  6. The really scary fact about this survey is the schools at the bottom are where all the Deep Staters come from. It’s no surprise but Americans need to wake up. Academics like to talk about diversity but the least diverse institutions in the country are academia and government.

  7. I would have liked for the Survey to add a category: does this school have a diversity, equity, and inclusion office as an official part of campus Administration?

    1. I believe every single institution which accepts Federal monies (every college/uni in USA except Hillsdale, Grove City, Patrick Henry, and Thomas Aquinas) is required to have the whole DEI apparatus to maintain eligibility. Yes, the source of the problem is, at root, the Federal Government!!

      1. If you search Hillsdale on the list, it will show that Hillsdale was excluded because “it values other principles than Freedom of Speech.” This is total BS. Hillsdale is committed to personal responsibility, accountability and our constitution. Excluding them from the ranking tells you all you need to know about the survey.

  8. OT

    The Train Robbers used to be John Reno, Jessie James, Butch Cassidy, Black Jack Ketchum et al.

    Nowadays, America, its trains and railroads are robbed by the lazy, greedy, striking, communist railroad “workers” unions.

    In the old days, the government used to shoot or hang train robbers.

    Nowadays, the train robbers are totally supported by the communist government in the “fundamentally transformed” United States of America.

    1. Americans are free to “pursue happiness” by starting a business or accepting employment.

      Americans are not free to deny private property rights, trespass, harass, intimidate, damage property, assault and batter, commit mayhem or murder.

  9. As posted noted, Edward Levi, the then-President of U of Chicago, dealt harshly (but justly) with student “protesters” in the late 1960’s. It appears that they still take a no-nonsense approach to bad behavior by students. Courage is what is called for.

  10. Interesting ranking. Purdue at #3 and tuition frozen for nearly 10 years and just set a record for most students enrolled for the year, all time. My daughter has bs and ms in aerospace engineering from Purdue. Superb university. Indiana university down the road is at 80 but liberal arts mainly. Same state. Both state universities but very differently run. Different presidents and different board of trustees and it matters.

  11. wharton is all business no time for foolishness maybe that is restrictive but I listed to Communist but they stayed on track ” economics” facts not BS

  12. These institutions are minting new graduates some of whom are radicalized. They go into the work place (we hope) and are the next in the lineup of workers, professionals and leaders Think about a newly licensed attorney being asked to fairly represent a client who does not agree with them politically? If they even agree to hear out their new potential client, what will with left-leaning law firm think? Will they be allowed to go forward?

    We are witnessing our future. Some of the new graduates are exceptional. Hopefully, some of the students will will grow past their radicalized septuagenarian professors who want to pass on their 60s-70s ideology to the next, unsuspecting generation. If you are a student or a new graduate, take a step back, search for truth, search for facts and carefully form your own opinion, or as my late father used to say, “Engage your brain!”

    There is a scene in Field of Dreams when the character Terence Mann is trying to shoo Ray Kinsella away. “Get back to the 60s!….” It is time for a new guard. The elite academics and politicians can’t seem to let go. They must be addicted to power. Don’t they know that they are at the “jumping off place” and maybe they should consider retiring?

    https://youtu.be/1kt3Q00iJVU

    1. Someday Americans are going to realize that “schools” like Harvard (which has an ugly history of discrimination against white gentiles and Asians) and Yale (the ultimate jewified safe space where you can’t question jew theocracy, but can certainly attack Christians and main street Americans), are bloated and overrated, and that schools like the U of Chicago and Perdue represent the future. Harvard wallows in its wokeness and discriminatory practices; leave that cesspool to further lose its way, and support schools that are busy representing what is best (or supposed to be best) in American higher education. Choose wisely, and be discerning about where you send your money. Any institution that serves one tribe above all others, or insists that certain subjects are off-limits, is not an educational institution at all.

  13. There needs to be an organizer effort to make the changes you suggest. From where is that effort going to come?

  14. Igor Danchenko, a Russian Oligarch and paid FBI informant, created the Steele dossier. IOW, the dossier was created by the FBI. Check out the filings by John Durham yesterday.

      1. What is your argument here ?

        As a guide employees are paid for their time, in the hope it will be productive.
        Most everyone else is paid for what they have produced.

      2. Anonymous says:
        Learn the difference between what an informant is paid for and what an employee is paid for.

        I’m sure what the informant lack’s in gidda’s he’s well compensated by the authorities by turning a blind eye to his criminal activity.

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