On August 3, Vox published a piece by Zack Beauchamp headlined, “Data shows a surprising campus free speech problem: left-wingers being fired for their opinions.” Of course, his piece hinged on proving that “there’s in fact limited evidence that conservatives are being unfairly targeted” on campus, and in fact, lefty professors were in greater danger of being fired for speaking their minds.

However, the folks at Heterodox Academy are pushing back, saying Beauchamp totally misinterpreted the data in his “explainer.”

Musa al-Gharbi, managing editor at Heterodox Academy, laid out his rebuttal to Beauchamp’s piece Thursday, including the fact that Heterodox Academy is an academic consortium and not an “online magazine.”

For example, Beauchamp writes:

The raw numbers here should already raise questions about the so-called political correctness epidemic. According to the Department of Education, there are 4,583 colleges and universities in the United States (including two- and four-year institutions). The fact that there were roughly only 60 incidents in the past two years suggests that free speech crises are extremely rare events and don’t define university life in the way that critics suggest.

Only 60 incidents? That number comes from a study by Free Speech Project director Dr. Sanford Ungar, and al-Gharbi notes that Ungar selected a sample of about 90 incidents from his full dataset of 137 incidents — 60 was nowhere close to the number of incidents over the previous two years.

Beauchamp also cited a study by Jeffrey Sachs to argue that “left-wing professors were more likely to be dismissed for their speech than conservative ones.” Al-Gharbi points out that “Sachs’ data show the opposite of what Beauchamp claimed: conservative professors are actually more likely to be fired for political reasons.”

Yes, more left-wing professors are dismissed for their speech, but “there is about a 10:1 ratio of liberals to conservatives in social research fields,” so in reality, al-Gharbi writes, “a conservative professor is, on average, nearly twice as likely to be fired for political speech than a liberal professor is.”

We could go on, but, you know, you could just read Vox instead, because they have the smartest thinkers.


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