According to a recent report by Heterodox Academy, Georgetown ranks among the worst schools for viewpoint diversity. The list released by Heterodox Academy ranks the top 140 schools in the United States in terms of their commitment to diversity in intellectual thought. In particular, the study examines controversial campus issues and the policies of universities to foster an environment of open discussion and diverse thought.
Founded by NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, Heterodox Academy comprises an academically and politically diverse group of professors who seek to encourage intellectual diversity in the American university. Georgetown Law professor Nicolas Rosenkranz is among the group. Heterodox Academy seeks to address the lack of viewpoint diversity on college campuses today, despite strong institutional commitments to racial, gender and cultural diversity.
The University of Chicago sits at the top of the list, after recently sending a letter to incoming undergraduates outlining policies of free expression and condemning the use of “trigger warnings.” Heterodox Academy gave the University of Chicago a top score of 93.75 based on measures such the Chicago Principles on free speech and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) rating. FIRE evaluates university free speech codes and how restrictive they are of students’ free expression.
Georgetown University, however, ranks among the worst schools for viewpoint diversity with an overall score of 6.25. According to the report, Georgetown has not endorsed the Chicago Principles on free speech and has been named one of FIRE’s top 10 worst colleges for free speech. The rankings identify recent events such the removal of free condoms from doors by GUPD officers.
The ranking comes at a time of renewed discussion about the issue of free speech and expression on campus. While GUSA candidates and administration officials have long pledged to promote intellectual and viewpoint diversity on campus, there has been little progress in this regard. This fact is evidenced by the recent vandalism of Georgetown Right to Life’s chalk display.
Despite lofty language on the subject, the fact is that Georgetown is not a conducive environment for meaningful dialogue among differing viewpoints. Georgetown’s ranking in the bottom ten universities for free expression reinforces this fact and presents significant challenges for a university that constantly claims to celebrate diversity and freedom of thought.