Education

Report: 74% of professors targeted for unpopular speech or research end up punished by administrators

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Attempts to sanction scholars for their speech, research or teaching practices has skyrocketed since 2015, with about three in four campaigns leading to some form of professional sanction — including termination — according to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Such attacks are “on the rise and are increasingly coming from within academia itself—from other scholars and especially from undergraduate students,” FIRE research fellows Komi German and Sean Stevens state in their report.

A total of 426 incidents occurred between January 1, 2015, to July 13, 2021. They included efforts to either investigate, penalize, demote, censor, suspend or terminate college faculty for their unpopular or controversial speech, research or teaching practices.

“A staggering three-fourths of the incidents (314 out of 426) resulted in some form of sanction, the most common being investigation, termination, and suspension,” according to the report.

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