University placed on list of schools worst for free speech

By Daily Illini Staff Report

The University was recently placed on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2014” list.

FIRE, a nonprofit educational foundation, released its yearly list on Tuesday, naming schools with first amendment violations.

The University was placed on the list as a result of the Steven Salaita controversy, according to a press release from FIRE. Salaita’s job offer to work in the American Indian Studies program was revoked after he posted controversial= tweets regarding the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Other schools on the list include Chicago State University, placed on the list for censoring a faculty blog, The University of Iowa and Brandeis University.

The University denied claims that it violated free speech, as members of the campus community have expressed a wide array of opinions on the hiring decision.

“This is the kind of free discussion that is the bedrock of our institution and all of higher education,” said University spokeswoman Robin Kaler in an email. “Anyone who has witnessed the vigorous and passionate debates that have taken place and are still taking place on our campus would appreciate that there is plenty of space for freedom of expression and opinion.”