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Cancel Culture Cancer on Campus

Students Feel Ostracized and Attacked at Ohio Universities
By The Editors
October 3, 2023
On The Record

Ohio, we have a problem.

Our public universities have become hotbeds of censorship and bastions of cancel culture. 

Too many of our students are living in fear of retaliation if they dare speak their minds.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression recently released their 2024 College Free Speech Rankings. This yearly study uncovers how open students are to expressing their thoughts on campus.

There is no good; only bad and ugly. Out of 248 campuses surveyed and ranked from barely tolerable to terrible, here is how Ohio’s 5 largest public universities ranked:

Ohio State: 52 
Ohio University: 56 
Miami: 102 
Kent State: 113 
University of Cincinnati: 222 

Seeing UC near the bottom may be most shocking, but the rankings clearly show that far too many students at all of our biggest universities are learning the wrong lesson about our most fundamental freedom.

Perhaps even more illuminating than the abysmal rankings are the comments. 

A University of Cincinnati student was "asked if I was a Republican and, when I said I lean more that way, I got attacked and called ignorant, racist, homophobic and more.” A different student claimed a professor made him or her “feel small. Like my concerns and what I felt didn’t matter.” 

An Ohio State Buckeye stated, “One of my professors said something that I very strongly disagreed with but I knew if I said anything I would get ostracized." A different student at OSU felt "I cannot share many views without the risk of getting cancelled even though I agree with people just with a more nuanced approach.”

At Ohio University, a student said “I felt I couldn’t express my feelings during a lecture on caring for patients while including preferred pronouns.” Another Bobcat reported, "I have had a few professors who make their political standing very clear. This turns me off from engaging in some conversations because I don't want to get on their bad side."

The implication is apparent: students cannot speak (or even think) for themselves at our public colleges. If they dare, there may be consequences that will dog them for life. If they do speak up, their grades and career prospects may suffer. If they don’t, what have they really learned?  

Regardless of one’s political persuasion, we can all agree that no one on campus should feel ostracized, belittled, or insignificant when stating an opinion...or learn that it’s dangerous to speak up at all.

We need Senate Bill 83 now more than ever. Senate Bill 83 will allow ALL of these students to state their opinions and arguments without fear of egregious attacks or penalties. 

Under the bill, there are NO topics that are barred from discussion on campus or in the classroom. We are simply reinforcing the basic First Amendment right that every citizen, including college students, already has to speak freely.

With this law in place, universities can once again be institutions of higher education where students open their minds, challenge their own pre-conceptions, and think critically. 

And right now, Ohio is failing in this mission. Senate Bill 83 will make free speech truly free again.