Harvard ranked worst school for free speech, receives worst rating ever recorded by legal group

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released its free speech rankings which reported Harvard scoring a zero out of 100.

'Harvard, which on paper commits to protecting free speech, has a dismal record of responding to deplatforming attempts," according to FIRE.

Harvard University is at the bottom of the barrel in the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE)’s College Free Speech Rankings, scoring an “abysmal” 0 out of 100– the worst score ever recorded by the organization.

”Simply put, Harvard has never performed well in FIRE’s College Free Speech Rankings, finishing below 75% of the schools surveyed in each of the past four years,” the nonprofit states. “Harvard, which on paper commits to protecting free speech, has a dismal record of responding to deplatforming attempts — attempts to sanction students, student groups, scholars, and speakers for speech protected under First Amendment standards.”

[RELATED: Harvard profs launch Council on Academic Freedom]

FIRE noted that the 0 score was actually “generous,” with the Ivy League institution having an actual score of -10.69, far below the second-to-last school, the University of Pennsylvania, which scored 11.13.

FIRE’s report highlights Harvard’s “dismal record of responding to deplatforming attempts.” The rankings also revealed concerning student attitudes towards free speech, with 30% believing that using violence to stop campus speech is at least “rarely” acceptable. The report suggests that Harvard must take significant steps to improve its free speech climate.

In March, Harvard launched a new Council on Academic Freedom, a faculty initiative meant to promote free inquiry, intellectual diversity, and civil discourse. 

“Because Harvard is a university committed to the pursuit of truth, students and professors need to be able to express a broad range of ideas without suffering social or professional sanction,” Executive Director Flynn Cratty stated at the time.

[RELATED: Harvard profs launch Council on Academic Freedom]

Only 36 schools received a “green light” rating from FIRE in this year’s report, indicating that the school and its policies “do not seriously imperil speech.” Michigan Technological University was ranked #1, with Alabaman’s Auburn University and the University of New Hampshire following in 2nd and 3rd place.

Harvard was among 53 other schools that received a “red light’ rating, indicating that a school has at least one ”policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

Campus Reform reached out to FIRE and Harvard for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.