Georgetown University has consistently failed to live up to its commitment to free speech.
According to FIRE’s 2024 College Free Speech Rankings, Georgetown ranked 245 out of 248 institutions. This is the second year in a row that Georgetown finished in the bottom five of the rankings, and the third time it has finished in the bottom ten since 2020. Students reported their discomfort expressing ideas, lack of confidence in the administration’s support for speech, and acceptance of students shouting down speakers.
The administration has only contributed to the problem by sanctioning one student and four scholars. Is it any wonder that students are intimidated to share their opinions?
Georgetown’s spineless stance toward free expression inspires little confidence among students and faculty that their university will stand up for them in their time of need. This has a chilling effect on student and faculty expression which flies in the face of Georgetown’s own statement that “it is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to judge the value of ideas, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting those arguments and ideas that they oppose.”
Tell Georgetown to cultivate a better climate for free expression by embodying the free speech values it espouses, revising its problematic speech codes, and supporting students and faculty as they become embroiled in free speech controversies. Only then will Georgetown bounce back from this year’s very poor ranking.