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By Rob Shimshock
The University of Wisconsin — Madison emerged as the most anti-free speech university in a March Madness-themed “Bracket of Shame.”
The 64-school bracket was designed by Casey Mattox, the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Director of the Center for Academic Freedom, as reported by Campus Reform.
The “Bracket of Shame” is styled after the NCAA Tournament brackets, with schools competing against the same rivals for the censorship crown as they are for the basketball title, at least for the initial round.
Mattox determines the winner of each game by examining which school committed the most egregious free speech violations.
“A 16 seed has never beaten a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But shouldn’t the first to beat a 1 seed be “UNO” anyway?” asked Mattox on the ADF website, describing a first-round game between Villanova and the University of New Orleans. “In the Bracket of Shame, private Villanova just can’t compete with a constitutionally-bound University of New Orleans that actually tells its students: ‘acts of intolerance … are neither appropriate nor tolerated.’ Perfect.”
In another upset, Texas Southern beat the University of North Carolina, with the former school’s speech zones and prohibition of self-harassment trumping UNC’s failure to recognize a fraternity because they identified as Christian.
But UW Madison proved most intolerant of free speech.
“Year after year a UW system school finds itself on the other side of an ADF lawsuit,” explained Mattox, after also mentioning that UW Madison had tried to prevent conservative Ben Shapiro from speaking and attempting to punish the Young Americans for Freedom group on campus for hosting him. “Perhaps it should be no surprise then that after their university has repeatedly imparted the message that some viewpoints are more valued than others, these UW students struggle to understand that both people who think like them and those who do not should both be entitled to their beliefs and to live them out.”
“Teaching this civic understanding to the next generation should be a fundamental purpose of higher education. That many universities are failing to do so is a shame for all of us.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation contacted UW Madison for comment on its victory in the “Bracket of Shame” and was told by Meredith McGlone, director of news and media relations, that UW Madison received a Green rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).
The Daily Caller News Foundation pointed out that UW Madison’s rating is actually Yellow. McGlone provided a link demonstrating that FIRE changed UW Madison’s bias incident policy rating from Yellow to Green, but the school’s overall rating still remains Yellow.
“Young Americans for Freedom remains a student organization in good standing at the university,” said McGlone. “The university has a code of conduct for registered student organizations and enforces it consistently and fairly. University police responded to protests at the Ben Shapiro event, allowing the event to continue and all parties to exercise their First Amendment rights.”
ADF also allows readers to pick their own “Bracket of Shame” champion here.