The University of Texas at Austin received an abysmal ranking of 54th place in the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s free speech rankings of 55 of “America’s largest and most prestigious campuses” according to student responses in a survey.
FIRE is one of the leading free speech organizations in the country and is known for its efforts to protect students’ freedom of expression on college campuses across the nation.
Brandon Waltens of Texas Scorecard broke down why UT Austin received such a dismal score:
On the individual components of the survey, UT received a 44.5 overall score, out of a possible score of 100. Students specifically gave the school low rankings on self-expression, or feeling that they could not express their opinions because of how students or administration may respond.
Texas’s flagship public university merits such a low score based on its recent behavior. The university has let leftist organizations harass groups like the Young Conservatives of Texas during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings
Jordan Clements, the chairman of Young Conservatives of Texas at UT, offer his take on FIRE’s score regarding UT’s respect for speech or lack thereof:
FIRE’s rating is disappointing, but not surprising. While the students at UT tend to be more of a threat to free speech at UT than administration itself, they are given methods to silence conservatives through methods such as the reports to the UT Campus Climate Response team, who are an administrative body that investigates reports of “hate speech” and other “triggering” actions that students feel compelled to report. I have hope, though, that the new administration under President Hartzell will be more open to free speech and will roll back these Orwellian institutions.
On the other hand, UT Austin’s archrival, Texas A&M University received one of the best free speech rankings, landing in third place according to the nationwide survey. A&M’s overall score was a 56.2, which indicated that he still has room to improve on free speech policies. The University of Texas at Dallas was also featured in the rankings. It was ranked in 33rd place.
“These rankings provide proof that your choice of college can make a real difference in your ability to speak your mind,” declared FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley. “Campus leaders no longer have an excuse for remaining ignorant about students who feel muzzled on their campuses. One thing is for sure: colleges have a lot of work to do.”
Texas universities getting bad scores for freedom of speech is revelatory. The Lone Star State has gradually become more leftist in the last few decades and it’s beginning to show in its public institutions such as universities. The overperformance of Democrats in the 2018 elections should serve as a wake-up call to Republicans. Texas is much more competitive than ever.
If Republicans don’t take action, the state could potentially flip. That means everything from free speech to sensible tax policies could be discarded if the Left comes to power and decides to fully implement its agenda. Now is the time for conservatives to fight back and not Left gain more ground. And it starts in education institutions.
The FIRE 2020 College Free Speech Rankings can be read here.
City of Denver Unanimously Votes to Rename Columbus Park “La Raza Park”
There might come a time when nothing in the US is named after Christopher Columbus.
The Denver City Council unanimously voted to rename Columbus Park last week Monday, and now it will be named “La Raza Park.”
“La raza” is Spanish for “the race,” which has connotations with Latino identity politics. A Denver Post article tells us that the phrase “viva la raza” (long live the race) was the “rallying cry of the Chicano movement in the 1960s and ’70s.” The Chicano Movement encouraged Mexican ethnic and cultural solidarity with a particular emphasis on their indigenous heritage. The movement, however, rejected assimilation and thus the term “Mexican-American,” essentially branding themselves as the Hispanic version of the Black Power movement.
Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval claims that the unanimous vote was an act of officially naming a park that has “always” been unofficially called by its new name. “La raza is a word of unity and about celebrating community,” she said without a hint of irony.
The reason for officially renaming the park is about what you’d expect, namely because Christopher Columbus is irredeemably associated with colonialism and genocide and is thus not fit to be honored in any way, shape, or form.
Arturo Gonzalez, a retired professor, said that “Mexican Chicanos and Indigenous peoples have suffered genocide over the last 500 years. We live with that trauma. We continue to live with that trauma.”
Renaming parks, buildings, and schools that were previously named after so-called “problematic” or “white supremacist” historical figures is nothing new, of course, but the practice has accelerated over the past several months due to the hysteria following the George Floyd riots.
Big League Politics has covered many instances of this phenomenon. One of the most recent instances included a San Francisco school district renaming Abraham Lincoln High School because black lives apparently “didn’t matter” to him:
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