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Report: Over 100 Professors Targeted for Their Speech in 2021

Report: Over 100 Professors Targeted for Their Speech in 2021

“In 2021, 111 scholars were subjected to a targeting incident.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education does amazing work protecting free speech. They just released a disturbing report on free speech in higher education.

From the FIRE blog:

REPORT: At least 111 professors targeted for their speech in 2021

Executive Summary

Over the past seven years, 537 incidents targeting a scholar for some form of professional sanction over constitutionally protected speech have occurred.[1] Almost two-thirds of these targeting incidents have resulted in a sanction, and just over one-fifth have resulted in a scholar’s termination. Our initial report covered targeting incidents from 2015-20, with minimal discussion of the targeting incidents which occurred in 2021. This report primarily focuses on the targeting incidents that occurred in 2021. Key findings include:

– In 2021, 111 scholars were subjected to a targeting incident.

– Scholars were most often targeted for expressing a personal view or opinion on a controversial social issue (65 incidents; 59%).

– Over one-third of targeting incidents occurred because of a scholar’s scientific inquiry (20 incidents; 18%) or teaching practices (27 incidents; 24%).

– Almost half of scholars were targeted for expression regarding race or racial issues (54 incidents; 49%).

– Scholars were also likely to be targeted for their expression on hot-button issues such as partisanship (28 incidents; 25%) or gender (26 incidents; 23%), or for their views on institutional policy (28 incidents; 25%).

– Targeting incidents occurred most often in the disciplines of law (12 incidents), English (12 incidents), political science (11 incidents), and medicine (9 incidents).

– More than 60% of targeting incidents resulted in some form of sanction being leveled against the scholar, including 28 investigations, 18 suspensions, and 14 terminations.

This was a key finding:

– Almost two-thirds of the incidents (76 incidents; 68%) came from individuals and groups to the political left of the scholar, compared to less than one-third (33 incidents; 30%) that came from the right of the scholar.

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Comments

Steven Brizel | March 3, 2022 at 10:17 am

How many of these individuals fought the sanction? I think that professors and lecturers who make such comments should have on speed dial a lawyer or a pro bono legal group that represents and will litigate the First Amendment rights of professors in such cases

henrybowman | March 3, 2022 at 1:27 pm

“Almost two-thirds of the incidents (76 incidents; 68%) came from individuals and groups to the political left of the scholar, compared to less than one-third (33 incidents; 30%) that came from the right of the scholar.”

Wow, I’d love to see a compilation of the latter… to see if they are as big a bunch of wankers as the leftists, or whether they’re just doing something right. I imagine some of these incidents would have to be similar to the “school board” parent activism we’ve seen lately.

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