This week, Minding the Campus issued its 2015 rankings of the five worst college and university presidents in the country. Yale University President Peter Salovey topped the list due to this failure to defend free speech rights following student protests responding to an email about insensitive Halloween costumes. Rounding out the top five are University of California at Berkeley President Janet Napolitano, University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, Marquette University President Michael Lovell, and former University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released a report last month giving a “red light” rating to Marquette University and the University of Missouri at Columbia for free speech rights on campus. Both campuses enforce at least one policy clearly and substantially restricting freedom of speech or barring public access to its speech-related policies by requiring a university login and password for access. The “red light” ranking is the worst ranking given by FIRE.
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“Any of the university presidents listed in the Minding the Campus report should be put on notice because they are contributing to a negative environment on college campuses that could stifle the fundamental rights of freedom of speech.
“The governing boards of UC-Berkeley, Marquette, Missouri, Virginia, and Yale should follow the lead of the University of Chicago, Purdue, and the University of Wisconsin system and pass the ‘Chicago standard’ resolution that reaffirms free speech rights on their campuses.”
“College and universities are institutions of intellectual curiosity. Any president who is against free speech is not fulfilling the institution’s mission and should be replaced.”
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