U.S. News can tell you which colleges and universities are ranked the "best," but what about your right to express yourself on campus? A critical part of the college experience is grappling with ideas that you might not agree with or that might even offend you. In fact, if you go through four years of college without ever being offended, you should ask for your money back.
While over the years we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have dealt with hundreds of examples of universities violating student rights (check to see if your school is one of them), the following 12 colleges have distinguished themselves for showing particular hostility to freedom of speech. Some schools have earned this distinction by refusing to undo punishments of students and faculty for their free speech, others by engaging in ongoing campaigns against student speech, and one for regulating student speech to the hilt. Private religious colleges like DePaul make the list because they promise free speech but fail to deliver time and time again. Is your college censoring speech, too? If so, let others know in the comments section.
Yale, despite its lofty promises of free speech, its exalted academic standing, and its name-brand recognition, has been a repeat offender against freedom of expression in recent years. Most egregiously, the university intervened to censor images of Mohammed in author Jytte Klausen's book, The Cartoons That Shook the World--a scholarly book about the cartoons from Yale University Press. Relying on a group of anonymous consultants, press director John Donatich chose censorship out of fear of "blood on my hands" if the images were included.Widespread criticism did not prevail. In a sillier case--but one that still teaches all the wrong lessons of censorship--a Yale dean interfered with the decision of the Freshman Class Council to distribute a shirt for the Harvard-Yale football gamethat quoted novelist F. Scott Fizgerald's line, "I think of all Harvard men as sissies." Arguing that the word "sissy" could be seen as a derogatory slur against homosexuals, the dean later claimed that she had financial and editorial controlover the Freshman Class Council.