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Liberty University named one of the worst colleges for free speech

The private university receives backlash for censoring student newspaper

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LYNCHBURG, Va. – Liberty University is among the worst colleges for free speech. 

That's according to FIRE's 2019 edition of the 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech, which criticized the university for repeatedly censoring its student newspaper, the Liberty Champion.

While the private college is not bound to protect the rights of the First Amendment, the university president, Jerry Falwell, Jr., stated that Liberty "promotes the free expression of ideas unlike many major universities where political correctness prevents conservative students from speaking out."

World magazine reported that the Champion cut a 2016 article criticizing President Donald's Trump's leaked "Access Hollywood" tape in which he described instances of sexual assault.

In 2018, the newspaper also removed an article discussing Liberty's policies regarding unmarried women who become pregnant while living in the dorms, according to World magazine. 

Student's articles must go through a two-or three-stage approval process before being published. This entails articles first being reviewed by faculty advisors, then a panel of faculty members and, if deemed necessary, Falwell will lastly review the articles himself. 

Additionally, students on the newspaper staff who receive scholarships must sign nondisclosure agreements that say their scholarships are conditioned on their "full and continuous compliance" with the newspaper's rules and must refrain from commenting on any social media regarding publication of the Liberty Champion.

Other universities on the list include: 

  • Alabama A&M University
  • Dixie State University
  • Georgetown University Qatar
  • Plymouth State University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic  Institute
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Kansas
  • University of North Alabama
  • University of Wisconsin System

Click here to learn why these schools made the list.