University of South Carolina has consistently failed to live up to its commitment to free speech.
According to FIRE’s 2024 College Free Speech Rankings, USC ranked 246 out of 248 institutions. 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 contributed to the problem by sanctioning a student group and a scholar, as well as allowing 2 speakers to be disinvited from campus. Is it any wonder that students are intimidated to share their opinions?
USC’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 USC’s own declaration that it is “committed to fostering an environment where the open exchange of ideas and information is valued, promoted and encouraged.”
Tell USC to cultivate a better climate for free expression by endorsing a principled pro-free speech statement like the “Chicago Statement,” revising its problematic speech codes, and supporting students and faculty as they become embroiled in free speech controversies. Only then will USC bounce back from this year’s very poor ranking.