Ouch: Georgetown rates near the bottom on free speech…

Ranked #200 among 203 universities rated.

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.


The 2022 Results

First, the best of the best:


  • 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.


At the other end of the spectrum:

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


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.



Top & Bottom 25



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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