- The Washington Times - Monday, October 24, 2016

Prospective college students looking to attend a school where they will not be harangued by classmates or disciplined by administrators for holding different opinions need look no further than a new scorecard measuring universities by how committed they are to intellectual diversity.

Released in its first edition last week, the Heterodox Academy Guide to Colleges re-ranks the top 150 universities listed in U.S. News and World Report based on how open they are to debate and discussion.

The scorecard’s methodology considers university policies toward speech, ratings issued by outside advocacy groups, and recent events on campus to determine which universities foster the most open and tolerant climates toward the free exchange of ideas. Each university receives a score between 0 and 100.

Not surprisingly, the University of Chicago — which has spearheaded resistance to the trend of designating physical “safe spaces” on campus free from uncomfortable ideas — tops the list with a score of 93.75.

But the drop-off after Chicago is dramatic. The vast majority of universities receive a grade of 50 or worse, reflecting the close-minded state of American higher education.

Although Ivy League schools tend to top college rankings, Princeton is the only university from the elite cohort to receive a passing grade, coming in tied for third with a score of 62.5.

Yale’s score of 12.5 attests to an academic year marred by race protests over (among other things) Halloween costumes, which resulted in the resignation of two faculty members who stood up for the right to wear obnoxious outfits. Harvard manages to do even worse, coming in tied for 143rd with a score of 6.25.

The only two schools to receive a 0 are the University of Missouri — where campus race protests were catalyzed last fall — and the University of Oregon.

Heterodox Academy, a bipartisan group of scholars looking to reform the intellectually homogeneous climate at America’s college and universities, said it plans to release a ranking addressing the top 50 liberal arts colleges shortly.

• Bradford Richardson can be reached at brichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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