Minnesota's Hamline University has been named as one of the worst colleges in the United States for free speech after the school fired a professor for showing a 14th-century painting of the prophet Muhammad in a class on Islamic art.
The other schools that made the top ten include transgender swimming star Lia Thomas' University of Pennsylvania, which was cited for trying to silence a professor's anti-immigration and anti-affirmative action comments.
The University of Oregon is included on the list for forcing staff members to 'pledge allegiance' to 'diversity, equity and inclusion.' The prestigious Texas A&M also made the top ten after school officials began taking control of traditionally student-run events on campus.
This is according to a new list published by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), a non-profit civil liberties group.
The foundation said of the list: 'Each year, FIRE bestows a special dishonor upon a select group of American colleges that go above and beyond in their efforts to trample expressive freedom.
'These are the schools that stopped at nothing to crush faculty rights, destroy student expression, and leave guest speakers in the dust.'
The full list of troubling institutions: Hamline University, Collin College, Emerson University, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Loyola University New Orleans (NOLA), Texas A&M, Pennsylvania State University, Emporia State University, Tennessee Tech University, and the University of Oregon.
Hamline attracted controversy stemming from an October 2022 incident in which adjunct art instructor Erika López Prater showed the 14th-century painting of the Prophet Muhammad to her students as part of a lesson on Islamic art after warning them beforehand and giving them an opportunity to opt-out.
She has sued the private liberal arts school over Miller's decision not to renew her contract.
López Prater said in her lawsuit that she warned her students ahead of time and on the day the images were shown because she knew that many Muslims consider visual depictions of the Prophet Muhammad to be a violation of their faith.
She said the school had subjected her to religious discrimination and defamation and damaged her professional and personal reputation.
After the class, Aram Wedatalla - a student who is also the president of the university's Muslim association - complained.
Wedatalla, who spearheaded the campaigning to get Lopez Prater fired, chose to remain online in the class.
Afterward, she and others promptly complained to school officials that the image 'blindsided' her and made her feel marginalized.
While leaders of some local Muslim groups criticized López Prater, the national office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said instructors who analyze images of the Prophet Muhammad for academic purposes are not the same as Islamophobes who show such images to cause offense.'
The faculty of the school has since called on President Fayneese Miller to resign.
In a letter published Wednesday in The Oracle, the student news site at Hamline, the representatives of several student groups said they strongly support President Miller.
Penn State's presence on the list was down by the school's cancellation of a comedy show that included Proud Boys' founder Gavin McInnes and controversial comedian Alex Stein on the bill.
The event was hosted by Uncensored America, a free-speech group based at Penn State. Since the evening was announced, there had been calls from protesters to cancel it. Those calls went unheeded by school officials.
Stein tweeted following the cancelation: 'Penn State Shut Down My Speech on Campus Today! Free Speech Doesn't Exist for Conservatives!'
Stein and McInnes were recorded in a video posted by Penn State's Collegian newspaper hurrying into a waiting car with a police escort.
Stein is the host of Conspiracy Castle on the little-watched BlazeTV. Prior to Monday's events, he was best known for sexually harassing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of the Capitol, telling her that she was his 'favorite big booty Latina.'
Tennessee Tech University and Texas A&M University are both on the list thanks to their actions taken to ban drag shows from taking place on campus.
In Tennessee's case, an investigation by school management found that the event was problematic as it was open to minors.
The school's theater team, dubbed Backdoor Playhouse, hosted a Christianity-themed drag show with the star dressed as a Catholic monk before stripping down to a corset and stockings.
While in Texas, the school maintained that its decision not to fund a drag event known as Draggieland as well as forcing the school newspaper to go digital was purely for monetary reasons.
Loyola University in New Orleans is included on the list after threatening the tenure of a professor who was accused of talking about controversial topics in class.
Professor Walter Block was forced to attend diversity training after using the terms 'Oriental' and 'atta girl' in class.
In addition to the top ten list, the foundation also gave a lifetime achievement award in censorship to Georgetown University for 'its longstanding commitment to, well, censorship — of everyone from an incoming libertarian lecturer to students campaigning for Bernie Sanders.'
Last year, Georgetown conducted a 122 day-long investigation into the director of constitutional studies Ilya Shapiro's tweet criticizing President Joe Biden.
FIRE was founded in 1999 and campaigns for freedom of speech on college campuses across the country.