And yes, for the exact reason that caused me to turn my diploma to the wall.
Here are the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s 2020 selections as the 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech:
Babson College (Wellesley, Mass.)
Babson College fired adjunct professor Asheen Phansey for a Facebook post parodying President Donald Trump’s (dumb) tweet threatening to bomb 52 cultural sites in Iran. The professor’s satire wasn’t exactly Dave Barry, but it was obviously a joke:
“In retaliation, Ayatollah Khomeni should tweet a list of 52 sites of beloved American cultural heritage that he would bomb. Um… Mall of America? …Kardashian residence?”
The post was shared by a local gossip blog, and Babson administrators suspended Phansey pending an “investigation,” intoning that the college “condemns any type of threatening words and/or actions condoning violence” and that it was “cooperating with local, state and federal authorities.” That was some investigation: less than a day later, Babson fired him.
FIRE protested to Babson earlier this month, pointing out that Phansey’s post was obviously a criticism, not an endorsement, of threats of violence, mixed with sarcasm about American culture.
Ethics Alarms covered the incident here.
Jones College (Ellisville, Miss.)
Last spring, administrators and campus police at Jones College twice stopped student Mike Brown when he tried to recruit students for a campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, telling him he needed the school’s explicit permission to speak on campus. When Brown and two others displayed a sign inviting students to give their opinions about legalizing marijuana, a staff member called campus police. Brown was taken to the police chief’s office and, according to Brown, was told he was “smarter than” to engage in such conduct on campus without permission. Two months earlier, a Jones administrator called campus police when Brown and a friend produced an oversized beach ball they dubbed a “free speech ball” for students to write messages while Brown talked to them about free speech and Young Americans for Liberty. The Horror. Yes, the police told them they were not allowed to have a provocative beach ball on campus without permission from the school.
Brown has filed a First Amendment lawsuit with FIRE’s help. The Department of Justice has piled on, telling the school that its policies are unconstitutional.
Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.)
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