Report: University of Texas One of Nation's Worst Campuses for Free Speech - Texas Scorecard

The University of Texas at Austin has been ranked as one of the worst campuses for free speech, according to a new report.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a national organization that works to protect free speech on college campuses, has issued their latest free speech rankings of 55 of “America’s largest and most prestigious campuses” according to a survey of students.

Taking the penultimate spot at No. 54 is the University of Texas at Austin.

On the individual components of the survey, UT received a 44.5 overall score, out of a possible score of 100. Students specifically gave the school low rankings on self-expression, or feeling that they could not express their opinions because of how students or administration may respond.

Recent years have seen conservative student organizations—such as Young Conservatives of Texas—targeted and harassed while holding events on campus.

Jordan Clements, chairman of Young Conservatives of Texas at UT, said:

FIRE’s rating is disappointing, but not surprising. While the students at UT tend to be more of a threat to free speech at UT than administration itself, they are given methods to silence conservatives through methods such as the reports to the UT Campus Climate Response team, who are an administrative body that investigates reports of “hate speech” and other “triggering” actions that students feel compelled to report. I have hope, though, that the new administration under President Hartzell will be more open to free speech and will roll back these Orwellian institutions.

Meanwhile, just a little over 100 miles away, Texas A&M University received one of the highest free speech scores, clocking in at No. 3 in the nationwide survey.

However, A&M’s overall score was a 56.2, still showing plenty of room for improvement for free speech advocates.

The University of Texas at Dallas was also included in the rankings, coming in at No. 33.

“These rankings provide proof that your choice of college can make a real difference in your ability to speak your mind,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley. “Campus leaders no longer have an excuse for remaining ignorant about students who feel muzzled on their campuses. One thing is for sure: colleges have a lot of work to do.”

The FIRE 2020 College Free Speech Rankings can be viewed here.