Grad season looms, with gowns, gear, and gifts. If you like living in a free society and following evidence rather than living by rules about not offending toxic snowflakes, here
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, N.Y.) You can’t “eminent domain”
awaystudents’ free speech rights. But this college tried. Eastern New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute was an easy choice for our 2018 list of worst colleges for free speech. When we learned that students passing out buttons and flyers critical of RPI’s administration were told by campus security officers to “vacate” the sidewalk because of “eminent domain,” we knew the school was likely to be on this year’s list, too. And here it is.
To be clear, “eminent domain” — the power of the government to take private land for public use — is a legal concept with no bearing on the situation whatsoever. Rather than chalk it all up to a misunderstanding and pledge to revisit its policies, RPI’s administration cited a policy that it claimed requires students to get “prior authorization” before they “distribute materials on campus.” (It doesn’t.) RPI has a long history of relying on poorly-written policies to censor speech whenever controversy arises. “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2019” at FIRE
This is your academic home
With any luck, you will be shouting down empty halls.
Has any university you give money to signed the Chicago Statement yet?
See also: Social sciences: Putting a respectable face on persecuting the hoaxers
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