Home » News » 10 colleges make FIRE’s 2023 list as ‘worst for free speech’

By Dennis Hetzel, published on February 8, 2023

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Photo courtesy iStock: Ryan Herron

FIRE, an advocacy group that defends the free-speech rights of faculty, staff and students on college campuses, has released its annual list of America’s “10 worst colleges for free speech” under the headline “Dumpster Fire.”


“FIRE” stands for “Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression.” Here are the 10 schools that made this year’s list:


  • Collin College (McKinney, Texas)


  • Emerson College (Boston)


  • Emporia State University (Emporia, Kan.)


  • Hamline University (Saint Paul, Minn.)


  • Loyola University New Orleans (New Orleans)


  • Penn State University (State College, Pa.)


  • Tennessee Tech University (Cookeville, Tenn.)


  • Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas)


  • University of Oregon (Eugene, Ore.)


  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)


For example, Hamline University was cited for calling an art professor “Islamophobic” for showing a 14th century painting that depicted the prophet Muhammad, which is offensive to many Muslim practitioners. The professor warned students in advance.


Collin College was listed, among other reasons, for terminating the contracts of two professors who criticized the school’s COVID-19 policies.


At Texas A&M, according to FIRE’s news release, the school “stepped on the rights of all kinds of student groups, from the university’s preeminent student paper, to several LGBTQ rights organizations, to a freshman orientation club.”


Not all the schools accepted the criticism without responding. Penn State, for example, said its decision to cancel an event involving the Proud Boys was a “safety issue,” though others said the university could have taken stronger measures to ensure safety.




10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2023 | The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (thefire.org)


FIRE dings Penn State for free speech after Proud Boys event | Centre Daily Times


Checked it twice: ESU listed among 10 worst colleges for free speech in the U.S | News | esubulletin.com


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