Harvard Hits New Low In Free Speech Ranking

It comes as little surprise that a recent ranking of free speech on college campuses nationwide found Harvard to be the most oppressive. What should be a surprise is the lowest-ever ranking of -10.69 of a possible score of 100.

“We’ve done these rankings for years now, and Harvard is consistently near the bottom,” director of polling and analytics, Sean Stevens said in an interview with The New York Post. “I thought it would be pretty much impossible for a school to fall below zero, but they’ve had so many scholar sanctions.”

The poll conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) asked students to describe their experiences discussing sensitive topics on campus. Ivy-league campuses such as Harvard attract a specific type of student and certain expectations about conduct exist in the social fabric on campus. Harvard has a strong conservative background that is not in alignment with many of the questions presented by pollsters.

Students were asked to share their political views on topics such as gun control and reproductive rights among numerous other left-leaning controversies. Nationwide, 49% of students reported that it is very hard to have an open and honest conversation about reproductive rights which ranked at the top of the topics.

According to the polling data, 44% of students would ban speakers who claim that transgender individuals have a mental disorder, and 42% would ban speakers who believe Black Lives Matter is a hate group.

Harvard is believed to be the first school to earn a negative ranking and receive an “abysmal” label from the polling group. Last year, the same poll found that Columbia University ranked lowest. Columbia received a “below average” label with a score of 34.60.

More than 100 professors began an effort to defend freedom of speech at Harvard. The Council on Academic Freedom (CAFH) positions itself to aid and assist Harvard students who are threatened or slandered for expressing scholarly opinions. The group founders wrote in announcing the group in April that the organization “will lend our personal and professional help.”

Among the significant issues identified by the Council and exposed in the freedom of speech poll is the tendency for students who hold unpopular opinions to self-censor. Both sources said there has been an increase in self-censorship in recent years and that it directly presents a threat to the concept of freedom of speech on college campuses.

Stevens said freedom of speech on college campuses generally has reached a stagnant point and may be getting worse. Members of CAFH agree. History lecturer and CAFH executive director Flynn Cratty said that Harvard faculty and students are afraid to speak their minds due to the cancel culture backlash they receive from others.

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