While students at Berkeley have earned a reputation for silencing opposing viewpoints with violence, the university itself seems to have faltered in its reputation as an educational institution.
Times Higher Education down-ranked UC Berkeley in its annual university ranking report for 2017-2018. The California-based university is known for its dominant liberal ideology, and, more recently, the administration quashing talks by controversial speakers accused of spreading wrongthink ideas. While it is not clear whether the violent riots aimed at quelling the expression of opposing viewpoints contributed to its decline, Berkeley fell eight ranks, from #10 last year, to #18, with a new score of 84.3 percent. That’s a solid “B” grade by Berkeley’s own grading scale which, by way of analog, were it a sanitation rating at a restaurant, would leave much to be desired.
By comparison, Berkeley’s #10 rank last year was an improvement from the previous year’s #13, which makes the effective rate of decline much more significant, showing an 11-point reversal from last year’s rating trend.
Berkeley has become a hot topic in the last year for its tendency to support silencing opposing viewpoints, which, as a state institution, is a flagrant violation of constitutional protections against government censorship. Private schools and companies, by comparison, are not beholden to the Constitution, and are not obliged to protect the right to free expression. The distinction is not always made clear on either side of the debate, but is a necessary distinction to make in any informed conversation on the topic.