RPI named to worst colleges for free speech list
Feb 14, 2019 12:30 pm
Rick Karlin is reporting for the Times Union Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has been named to the list of the Worst Ten Colleges for Free Speech, released by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. This is the second year in a row that RPI has been named to the list, based on several suppressive episodes at the school. FIRE cited action taken by the school administration to quash protests against policies instituted by President Shirley Jackson, including a move to take control of the Student Union. RPI’s Student Union has historically been administered by students at the school. In February 2018 students were removed from the sidewalk outside a hockey game by school security officers who claimed eminent domain laws permitted them to force the students to leave. The students were handing out leaflets critical of the Student Union policy as well as literature for Renew Rensselaer, a group of alumni and others who are critical of Jackson. “Officers exercised authority they did not possess, for the cynical purpose of exercising authority, while referencing a legal term...that sounds authoritative but has no comprehensible relationship to their roles as private security officers,” FIRE wrote. FIRE also cited an incident in which RPI paid Troy police to videotape students who participated in an October 2017 protest against the Student Union takeover.Other schools on FIRE's most recent list include Syracuse University, Alabama A&M University, Dixie State University, Liberty University and the University of Wisconsin system. Read the full story in the Times Union.