Harvard Ranked Worst University In The US For Free Speech

An annual report from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) has ranked Harvard as the worst university in the United States when it comes to the issue of free speech.

On Wednesday, FIRE released its annual report that ranked 248 college campuses across the U.S. — analyzing factors such as speech codes or reactions to guest speakers. The report was titled “2024 College Free Speech Rankings: What Is the State of Free Speech on America’s College Campuses?”

The non-profit civil liberties group also included a survey of roughly 55,000 college students in the report — which found that up to 72% of respondents believed conservative speakers should not be welcome on campus.

The most shocking conclusion from the report was that Harvard, one of the nation’s top law schools, received the lowest score ever recorded — a zero out of 100.

FIRE Director of Polling and Analytics Sean Stevens released a statement following the report.

“Each year, the climate on college campuses grows more inhospitable to free speech,” Stevens wrote. “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 climate for speech at Harvard was ranked as “abysmal” after more than 200 students were surveyed about their experience at the university. One student who graduated from the Ivy League School in 2023 reportedly told FIRE that they had been required to begin every class by stating their pronouns, while another student explained that they were scared to be open about their opinions.

“I often avoid posting controversial takes on social media tied to my name because I am afraid that they might be misconstrued by my classmates or admin,” a student from the class of 2024 reportedly told the nonprofit during the survey.

The topics that students in the worst five schools in FIRE’s rankings were most afraid to have an “open and honest conversation about on campus” included abortion, gender inequality, transgenderism, gun control, police misconduct and religion.

Harvard was not alone in its anti-free speech leanings, as several other colleges ended up at the bottom of FIRE’s rankings as well — including the University of Texas (Austin), Dartmouth College, Duquesne University, Northwestern University, Skidmore College Fordham University, Georgetown University, the University of South Carolina and the University of Pennsylvania. Stanford University also landed at 207 out of 248 — and at 237 for disruptive conduct, which is not surprising considering the fact that a Trump-appointed judge was shouted down by students earlier this year while trying to give a speech on campus.

Michigan Technological University ranked at number one on the report, followed by Auburn University, the University of New Hampshire, Oregon State University, Florida State University, the University of Virginia, Texas A&M University, George Mason University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the University of Colorado Boulder.

FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff celebrated the top-ranked universities in a statement, while condemning the low-ranked universities for fostering environments where students can “get in trouble for the ‘wrong’ academic opinion.”

“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,” Lukianoff wrote. “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.”