Ouch: Georgetown rates near the bottom on free speech…

Ranked #200 among 203 universities rated.
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Each year, FIRE (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education publishes a “comprehensive comparison of the student experience of free speech on their campuses.”

Schools are evaluated along 7 measures of “the free speech climate on the schools’ campus”:

  • Openness to discussing challenging topics on campus;
  • Tolerance for allowing controversial Liberal speakers on campus;
  • Tolerance for allowing controversial Conservative speakers on campus;
  • Administrative Support, which is students’ perception about whether their college protects or punishes free speech;
  • Comfort Expressing Ideas, which measures whether students have ever withheld their ideas due to how the expression would be received;
  • Protest Acceptability, which is how accepting students are of controversial protest activity on campus;
  • Speech Code Policies, scores colleges’ written policies and how well they uphold fundamental principles of free speech and academic freedom.

These 7 measures are combined into an overall score and schools are ranked.

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The 2022 Results

First, the best of the best:

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  • My b-school alma mater, the University of Chicago — which is hardly considered a conservative enclave — bagged the top ranking for freedom speech.
  • Four of the Top 5 are midwestern schools … the 5th (MSU) is southern.

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At the other end of the spectrum:

My beloved Georgetown ranked #200 on the list. “out-worsed” only by Columbia (“abysmal”), Penn and RPI.

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GU’s ranking is disappointing but understandable given the university’s close ties (physically, philosophically, financially) to the liberal DC political establishment.

As one survey respondent put it:

“A lot of people at Georgetown are very liberal and outright shame you if you deviate from there views even slightly. I am a registered Democrat so I am liberal, but people can’t even respect the smallest viewpoint variation.”

Factoid: FIRE estimates (based on students’ self-classification) that GU’s ratio of liberal to conservative students is 3.3 to 1.

Ouch.

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Top & Bottom 25

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Which football conference’s schools rank highest on freedom of speech?

FIRE offers a complete interactive list of the freedom of speech rankings.

For fun, click on the “Conference” filter to see which conference gets the best freedom of speech rankings.

Spoiler Alert: It’s not the Ivy League

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