The Academic Freedom Podcast #5 with FIRE
A conversation with researchers at FIRE about the free speech climate on college campuses
This episode of the podcast features my conversation with two research scholars at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Sean Stevens and Komi German were the principal authors of the new database and report on "Scholars under Fire." The report assembles information regarding over 400 incidents of faculty being targeted for sanction by their employer as a consequence of their controversial speech. It pulls back the lens a bit on college free speech fights and gives some broader perspective on who is targeted, by whom, and for what kind of speech. The report and our conversation highlights that universities are being pressured to suppress faculty from across the political spectrum, with students being a significant but hardly the only source of such pressure.
We also discuss the findings of the new FIRE report on a survey of student perceptions of free speech on their campuses and FIRE's college free speech ranking.
We talk about how the reports were constructed, the findings, their implications, and what they tell us about the health of a free speech culture on college campuses.