Two Texas schools, including one in North Texas, have earned the dubious distinction of making the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education’s list of “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech,” which FIRE released today (Wednesday, Feb. 2).
Collin College in McKinney earned its spot on FIRE’s 10 Worst list by dumping four professors who dared criticize college administration. Professor Lora Burnett recently won her First Amendment lawsuit against the school after Collin College refused to renew her contract. And award-winning Professor Michael Phillips was notified in January that his contract would not be renewed. According to FIRE, Phillips is “gearing up for a lawsuit of his own.”
Tarleton State University in Stephenville made the list for “using a former professor’s bogus lawsuit threat as a justification to censor (and then seize control of) the student newspaper,” according to a FIRE press release.
Detailed descriptions of each college’s “speech-chilling misdeeds” can be found on FIRE’s website.
This year’s list includes other colleges guilty of many forms of censorship, including: suspending a student group for passing out stickers critical of China’s government; canceling 52 sections of a diversity course in response to social media rumors; punishing a student for sending a satirical email, and firing a Jewish professor for calling out the college president’s remark about “Jewish noses.”
The 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech, in alphabetical order, are:
Boise State University (Boise, Idaho)
Collin College (McKinney, Texas)
Emerson College (Boston, Mass.)
Georgetown University (Washington, D.C.)
Linfield University (McMinnville, Ore.)
Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.)
Tarleton State University (Stephenville, Texas)
University of Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
University of Illinois Chicago (Chicago, Ill.)
University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
“Each of these colleges had the opportunity to restore the student and faculty voices they censored — but leaders deliberately chose not to do so,” said Greg Lukianoff, FIRE president and CEO. “We don’t back down. If college leadership is willing to muzzle, censor, and punish their own students and faculty members, the public should know. And prospective students and faculty applicants should take notice of which colleges will go to outrageous lengths to silence their voices. FIRE will continue to advocate for free expression at these campuses and campuses across the country.”