Commentary: The Worst Campus in America for Free Speech is Indiana’s DePauw University

For the second straight year, survey data shows that a small private school in western Indiana is the nation’s worst college for free speech.

DePauw University again finished last in the 2021 College Free Speech Rankings, the second annual campus-speech-related survey and rankings project sponsored by the research firm College Pulse, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), and RealClearEducation. More than 37,000 students at 159 colleges and universities participated in the survey, and their responses helped determine each school’s place in the 2021 rankings.

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Study: Efforts to Cancel University Faculty Skyrocketed in 2020, Often Ended in Punishment

University punishment of faculty for their speech has exploded in the past five years, most often prompted by their expression on social media or in the classroom, a new report claims.

More than 60% of the cancelation campaigns came from the professor’s political left, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Those were overwhelmingly driven by undergraduates, followed by fellow scholars and graduate students.

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College Volleyball Player Says She Was Kicked Off Team for Conservative Views

A former volleyball player at the University of Oklahoma, Kylee McLaughlin, is suing the school and her coaches because she claims they excluded her from the team after McLaughlin voiced conservative viewpoints. 

The lawsuit filed in Oklahoma City federal court alleges that the former high school volleyball player of the year was forced by coaches to redshirt and undergo “diversity” training.

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Head of the Boston College Network of Enlighted Women Chapter Senior Julia Canzano Talks Being a Conservative in College

Boston College

Friday morning on the Tennessee Star Report, host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed a Senior at Boston College Julia Canzano who is the head of the Network of enlightened Women on campus to talk about the experience in college as a conservative and her plans for the future.

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Free Speech Bills Making Their Way Through the Tennessee General Assembly

The General Assembly is considering several bills to further expand upon the protected rights of free speech. These bills address free speech in areas of public life such as college campuses, social media, state governments, and elections.

Several legislators proposed a bill to create accountability for social media companies and the government entities that use them. State Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains) and State Representative Jerry Sexton (R-Bean Station) introduced legislation that would prohibit state agencies from utilizing any social media platforms that censor the free speech of others on the basis of political ideology, viewpoint discrimination, or personal animus. The language of the bill claimed that using those platforms was a “tacit acceptance” of the practice to limit or censor free speech and therefore a violation of the state constitution. That legislation is in committee currently in both the House and Senate.

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Pharmacy Student Sues University of Tennessee for Alleged Free Speech Violations

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) initially expelled a student for content on her personal social media accounts. Officials claimed that the nuclear pharmacy student, Kimberly Diei (’23), used speech that violated the university’s conduct policies, though Diei has claimed they never informed her of which specific policies she’d violated. Neither of her profiles or any of her content identified Diei as a UT student or mentioned the school in any capacity. Only after Diei obtained legal help did the university reverse her expulsion.

Diei was investigated by the school’s Professional Conduct Committee on two separate occasions based on anonymous complaints. The first investigation occurred during Diei’s first month on campus in September 2019 regarding her Instagram and Twitter accounts in general. Following its review, the committee required Diei to write an apology letter. About a year later, Diei came under investigation again and was expelled for posting several explicit tweets referencing pop culture.
Diei was investigated by the school’s Professional Conduct Committee on two separate occasions, instigated by anonymous complaints from other program students. The first investigation occurred during Diei’s first month on campus, September 2019, regarding her Instagram and Twitter accounts in general; the committee required her to write an apology letter. About a year later, Diei came under investigation again and was expelled for posting several explicit tweets referencing pop culture.

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Middle Tennessee State University Free Speech Center Releases First Amendment Report for Students

There are nine practices that could significantly improve the climate of free speech on American college campuses nationwide. This, according to a report released by Middle Tennessee State University’s (MTSU) Free Speech Center last week, aimed at offering best practices for First Amendment advocacy, activism, and engagement amongst college students.

The nine practices proposed were: physical environments incorporating the First Amendment, social media engagement, cultural boundary bridging, writing exercises, case studies, targeted campus events, hands-on engagement, building bridges, and a combination of assessment and iteration. Examples of these practices included establishing monuments enumerating the First Amendment rights, or offering exercises where students experience loss of these rights momentarily by exchanging their First Amendment freedoms for a free lunch.

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Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case on Georgia Student Prohibited from Sharing Gospel on Campus

A Georgia Gwinnett College student appeared before the Supreme Court on Tuesday to defend free speech on campuses. The student, Chike Uzuegbunam, was prohibited by campus officials from speaking about the Christian faith on campus twice in 2016, following alleged complaints from other students.

A day before the Supreme Court hearing, Uzuegbunam published an opinion piece recounting his experience at the college and throughout the subsequent court hearings. Uzuegbunam explained that he was barred from passing out fliers and discussing his faith with fellow students publicly. According to his account, he was having one-on-one conversations with students when he was stopped by a campus official and told he needed to file a request for a speech zone.

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U.S. Senate Passes Marsha Blackburn Co-Sponsored Bill to Protect Free Speech on American College Campuses

This week the U.S. Senate passed the Concerns Over Nations Funding University Campus Institutes in the United States (CONFUCIUS) Act by unanimous consent, which U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) co-sponsored.

The legislation addresses concerns about Confucius Institutes suppressing free speech on American college campuses. John Kennedy (R-LA), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also co-sponsored the bill.

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Sen. Blackburn Introduces Resolution to Protect Freedom of Speech at Universities

  U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday about her newly introduced resolution to encourage free speech and inclusive debate on college campuses. Video of her remarks on the Campus Free Speech Resolution of 2019 is available here. College campus protests in the 1960s framed Americans’…

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‘Free Speech on College Campuses’ Seminar Hosted by Americans For Prosperity Next Week in Franklin

Americans For Prosperity –Tennessee, the grassroots organization that played a key role in bringing an end to the Hall Income Tax in Tennessee, is hosting a no-cost seminar on the topic of “Free Speech on College Campuses.” Sam Nienow, AFP Middle Tennessee Field Director, describes the event as “a fascinating…

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