Colleges Struggle Financially After Refusing to Uphold Free Speech Principles

Vacancy sign
Flickr/ Jeremy Brooks

Institutions of higher learning including the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College have faced significant financial repercussions following their decision to tolerate radical calls to curb free speech rights.

A report published by Fox News on September 1 argues that prospective students and parents are growing wary of universities that are bowing to the demands of leftist faculty and students who want to de-platform speakers and label certain ideas as “off-limits.”

Both the University of Missouri and Evergreen State College have faced serious financial repercussions in response to decisions that were made over left-wing protests. These repercussions in include effects on institutional reputation, which affects all students as they go out into the world and seek employment.

The University of Missouri has closed five dormitory buildings following a series of protests that took place in 2015. The university’s residential life director, Frankie Minor, announced in April that three additional dorm buildings would be “taken offline” for Fall 2017 academic year due to a decrease in first-year enrollment. This was announced in an email that informed student employees who work in residential life that they may be transferred to another job on campus due to the lack of enrollment. Most assumed that the drop in enrollment was in response to a serious of protests that took place on the campus in 2015. Most memorably, then-Professor Melissa Click called for some “muscle” to remove a student journalist was documenting the protests with his camera.

More recently, Evergreen State College faced a similar drop in enrollment and a massive $2.1 million budget shortfall following a series of chaotic protests over Professor Bret Weinstein’s email about a planned activism event at the college.

Jacqueline Pfeffer Merrill of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni told Fox News that the way an institution approaches free speech matters greatly to prospective parents and students. “When they look to what college to pick, parents and students are thinking of the largest investment their family is likely to make beyond the purchase of a home,” Pfeffer Merrill said. “Across the political spectrum, one of the most essential assets is [the opportunity] to be exposed to a wide range of views.”


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