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Harvard ranks worst for free speech, scoring zero in new report

Harvard ranks worst for free speech, scoring zero in new report
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Harvard University has been ranked the worst institution for free speech in 2023. This ranking comes from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), which published its yearly college free speech ratings on Wednesday. The report describes the state of free speech at the Ivy League school as “abysmal.”

Harvard receives worst free speech ranking, FIRE says zero ranking was generous given the actual score in negative

“I’m not totally surprised,” Sean Stevens, director of polling and analytics at FIRE, told The Post. “We’ve done these rankings for years now, and Harvard is consistently near the bottom.”

“I thought it would be pretty much impossible for a school to fall below zero, but they’ve had so many scholar sanctions,” Stevens said.

Despite its prestigious reputation as the top academic institution in the nation, Harvard received a dismal free speech rating of 0.00 points on a 100-point scale. This places Harvard a significant 11 points behind the next lowest-ranked school.

According to the FIRE, the given score of 0.00 was actually quite generous when considering Harvard’s true score, which they calculated to be a shocking -10.69.

Among the other institutions in the bottom 5 were the University of Pennsylvania, the University of South Carolina, Georgetown University, and Fordham University. As for the Top 5, the list had Michigan Technological University in first place, followed by Auburn University, the University of New Hampshire, Oregon State University, and Florida State University.

Professors and researchers at Harvard face consequences due to statements and writings

Nine professors and researchers received demands for punishment or dismissal due to their statements or writings, which affected Harvard’s low score. Seven out of those nine individuals faced professional consequences.

“We are in a crisis time right now,” Janet Halley, a Harvard Law School professor told The Post in April. “Many, many people are being threatened with. And actually put through — disciplinary processes for their exercise of free speech and academic freedom.”

The score is determined by considering several factors. These factors include the strength of the school’s free speech policies and the number of professors, students, and guest speakers who have faced repercussions for their speech.

Additional points are awarded when school administrators actively defend the rights of those who have had their free speech challenged or threatened. These points contribute to the school’s overall score.

About the author

Brendan Taylor

Brendan Taylor was a TV news producer for 5 and a half years. He is an experienced writer. Brendan covers Breaking News at Insider Paper.

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