Every January, FIRE staffers convene to compile our list of the previous year’s worst colleges for free speech. Reviewing the lowlights of the year reminds each of us that campus censors can be pretty creative. Just when you think you’ve seen everything — and over FIRE’s 20-year history, we’ve seen a lot — some enterprising college trots out a new way to clamp down on unwanted, unpopular, or simply dissenting speech.
And this year’s 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech list has a little something for everyone. No matter your political allegiances or partisan commitments, we’re willing to bet that some of you might find yourself uncomfortably sympathetic to the censors at some point reading the list.
As you’ll discover, targets of this year’s censors include an altered American flag, a sex educator, a fraternity skit, a couple of student newspapers, and two professors who testified on behalf of a former student accused of sexually assaulting a minor. So we fully anticipate that at least a few rage-tweets will soon be headed our way, as some outraged readers ask us how we can possibly stand up for that kind of expression.