CCP, Kutztown U. Get Muzzle Awards for “Stifling Free Speech”

The list of 50 schools also includes such prestigious institutions as Princeton and Yale.

Community College of Philadelphia's Mint Building. (Photo by CCPedu via Wikimedia Commons)

Community College of Philadelphia’s Mint Building. (Photo by CCPedu via Wikimedia Commons)

In the movie business, one award that you don’t want to get is the Golden Rasberry. Known as The Razzies, they are bestowed upon the worst films to hit theaters. Well, it turns out that higher education has a similarly tongue-in-cheek award known as the Muzzles, and two Pennsylvania schools have made the cut.

Since 1992, the Virginia-based Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression has been giving out Muzzles to colleges and universities across the country where free speech and academic freedom have been jeopardized.

The Muzzles are divided into five categories: Censorship of Students, Censorship by Students, Efforts to Limit Press Access on Campus, Silencing of Outside Speakers, and Threats to Academic Freedom, and it is this latter category under which the Community College of Philadelphia was recognized.

CCP’s Muzzle Award stems from an incident we told you about in 2015. After speaking at a protest at CCP that included Black Lives Matter activists, adjunct English professor Divya Nair was suspended by the school. The protest centered on a policy that CCP had recently instituted, requiring all faculty, staff and students to use college identification to get into the various CCP buildings.

Nair never commented on the suspension, and she was reinstated shortly thereafter following a closed-door disciplinary hearing. For its part, CCP wouldn’t reveal its reasons for suspending Nair (and the school hasn’t commented on its Muzzle Award), and it remains unclear whether she was suspended just for taking part in the protest or for in some way violating school policy. Either way, she quickly became a symbol for those who believe that college campuses have become bastions of political correctness and anti-thought.

While Philadelphia’s other colleges and universities escaped unwanted Muzzles attention, Kutztown University wasn’t quite so lucky. The Berks County school received a Muzzle Award, because the administration banned Confederate flags from the campus last year, including from dorm rooms. That ban was quickly revoked, but not quickly enough for the Muzzles.

“Never in our 25 years of awarding Jefferson Muzzles have we observed such a concentration of anti-speech activity as we saw last year on college campuses across the country,” said Josh Wheeler of the Thomas Jefferson Center.

You can read the full Muzzles list here.

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