Jefferson Muzzles document disastrous 2015 for First Amendment on U.S. campuses

The Jefferson Center announced the recipients of the 2016 Jefferson Muzzle awards with five categories: Censorship of Students, Censorship by Students, Limiting Press Access on Campus, Threats to Academic Freedom, and Silencing of Outside Speakers. Students and administrations striking blows against free speech included those of the University of Oklahoma, the University of California, Yale, Amherst, University of Missouri, Smith, LSU, Northwestern, Williams, Oberlin, Harvard, UCLA, University of Southern California, Princeton, and the University of Minnesota. (The Washington Post, April 20, 2016, by Eugene Volokh)

Alarmed at the rampant attacks on free speech on university campuses in 2015, instead of selecting eight to 12 recipients, mostly government agencies, the Jefferson Center took the unprecedented step of awarding Jefferson Muzzles to 50 colleges and universities. “Today… the focus seems to be on limiting rather than promoting the open exchange of ideas. Students who once protested to have their voices heard now seek to silence those they disagree with or find threatening. Meanwhile, university administrators appear locked in a competition to determine which school will take the toughest stand against offensive, unpopular, and hurtful speech. First Amendment principles have given way to identity politics, trigger warnings, and so-called “safe spaces,” and the Free Speech Movement has, at many colleges, become the Anti-Speech Movement,” the Jefferson Center wrote on April 13.