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Auburn recognized as second-best campus for free speech in U.S.

Auburn University has been recognized as the second best college campus for free speech  after a survey polled 55,000 students throughout the U.S.

The survey, conducted by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and College Pulse, ranked 248 of America’s largest and most prestigious universities in their allowance of free speech. The rankings are available here.

Auburn was joined by the three schools in the University of Alabama System in the rankings. UAB was ranked 43, UAH came in at 72, and the University of Alabama was 154.

“We are very pleased to see that a number of university presidents are taking the issue of freedom of speech and academic freedom seriously by signing on to free speech initiatives,” said FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff. “However, they have a long way to go toward restoring public trust. After all, an environment in which you can actually get in trouble for the ‘wrong’ academic opinion is not one that can be depended upon to produce reliable knowledge.

“It’s especially disturbing that some of the worst performing institutions are among America’s most influential schools, including Harvard, Georgetown, Northwestern and Dartmouth.”

FIRE Director of Polling and Analytics Sean Stevens spoke about the encroachments upon free speech at today’s colleges.

“Each year, the climate on college campuses grows more inhospitable to free speech,” he said. “Some of the most prestigious universities in our country have the most repressive administrations.

“Students should know that a college degree at certain schools may come at the expense of their free speech rights.”

The top colleges for free speech:

1. Michigan Technological University
2. Auburn University
3. University of New Hampshire
4. Oregon State University
5. Florida State University
6. University of Virginia
7. Texas A&M University
8. George Mason University
9. University of North Carolina at Greensboro
10. University of Colorado

The worst colleges for free speech:

239. University of Texas, Austin
240. Dartmouth College
241. Duquesne University
242. Northwestern University
243. Skidmore College
244. Fordham University
245. Georgetown University
246. University of South Carolina
247. University of Pennsylvania
248. Harvard University

Some of the major conclusions drawn from the survey include:

  • Michigan Tech comes in first and the University of Virginia makes the top 10 while Harvard ranks dead last with the lowest score ever.
  • At Oberlin College, only a little more than half of students think it is never acceptable to use violence to silence a campus speaker.
  • Deplatforming attempts at the five lowest ranked colleges have an alarming 81% success rate.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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