The worst university for free speech in 2023 is Harvard University.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) published its annual rankings of college free speech on Wednesday, labeling the Ivy League institution’s free speech climate as appalling.
Sean Stevens, director of polling and analytics at FIRE, told The Post that he is not entirely surprised. Since they started compiling these rankings, Harvard has regularly placed close to the bottom.
Harvard, the most esteemed academic institution in the nation, received a free speech score of 0.00 on a scale of 100. This places it 11 points behind the next-worst school.
Given that Harvard’s real score was a -10.69, based on their calculations, FIRE claims the poor grade was generous.
The fact that a total of 9 professors and researchers at Harvard received requests to be reprimanded or dismissed due to what they had said or written and that 7 of the 9 were in fact professionally disciplined—lowered Harvard’s ranking.
The score is determined by a number of variables, such as the strength of the institution’s free speech regulations and the number of professors, students, and campus speakers who have faced legal repercussions as a result of their speech.
Bonuses are given if the school’s leaders defended the rights of those whose freedom of speech was in danger.
Harvard Students Fear Being Suspended for Speech, 27% Support Violence to Silence It
The rankings further take into account the opinions of students on free expression, according to a survey FIRE and the research firm College Pulse performed together.
Despite the fact that more than 100 of Harvard’s professors joined forces earlier this year to establish a Council on Academic Freedom to support free inquiry on campus, Harvard still received the lowest ranking.
The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia came in second place on the list, then Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and Fordham University in the Bronx and Manhattan.
Columbia University placed 214th out of 248 schools this time around, despite winning the award for worst school for free speech the previous year.
Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, was ranked as the best university for free expression. The school received 78.01 points out of a possible 100.
The top five schools were Florida State University, the University of New Hampshire, Oregon State University, and Auburn University.
The results of FIRE’s study of 55,000 current students at 254 universities were equally astounding.
56% of students fear being suspended for what they say, and 27% believe that, in some cases, using violence to silence campus speech is justified.