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EXPOSED: Goldwater Uncovers the University of Arizona’s ‘Surveillance State’ Secrets

August 24, 2022

Colleges throughout the country have set up anonymous reporting systems where students inform on their peers to campus authorities, creating social justice activists who blow the whistle on their classmates’ politically incorrect social media posts or professors who fail to use the most up-to-date “wokeisms.” Now, the Goldwater Institute has uncovered what the University of Arizona tried to hide: an Orwellian campus reporting apparatus that fosters a culture of fear over free speech.

Like many universities, the University of Arizona employs a bias reporting system where students are encouraged to submit anonymous “bias” complaints to administrators via a website. Last year, Christian Schneider, a senior reporter with higher-ed news outlet The College Fix, submitted a public records request to University of Arizona to shed light on that system. The school denied his request—even though he was asking for public information that the public university had a legal obligation to release. Then last month, the Goldwater Institute sent a letter to the school demanding it comply with the law and release the records.

Within weeks, the University of Arizona capitulated—and in so doing, confirmed that the religion of wokeness is permeating many of America’s college campuses, under which free speech is canceled and independent thought is punished. Documents obtained by The College Fix and the Goldwater Institute reveal a list of student complaints about their peers and professors, including allegations of “hurtful” speech that makes them feel “uncomfortable” and “triggered.”

“Universities across America have effectively set up surveillance states that encourage students and professors to anonymously inform on each other,” Schneider says. “It is vital that public institutions of higher learning provide the public full disclosure so citizens can make informed decisions about where their kids will be able to best exercise their First Amendment rights.”

If the Goldwater Institute hadn’t demanded the school follow the law and release public records, the university might have been able to keep this information in the dark. That’s why the Goldwater Institute has designed Open My Government, a comprehensive guide that empowers concerned citizens to file effective public records requests. And it’s why our American Freedom Network of pro bono attorneys stands ready to help Americans in every state access the information they’re entitled to see.

The University of Arizona isn’t the only school shutting down free speech. A recent study of 824 public and private universities found that 56 percent (457 schools) had some form of bias reporting system. That might help explain why 83 percent of college students said they engaged in self-censorship, according to another recent survey.

But the Goldwater Institute is providing a blueprint for how to restore free speech on campus. In five states, the Goldwater Institute enacted a reform that creates an official university policy affirming the importance of free expression, and it’s working exactly like it’s supposed to in places like the University of Wisconsin university system, where outrage mobs tried and failed to cancel conservative speakers on multiple occasions. And we’re building on this work to dismantle the campus thought police with a complementary new model policy, developed in partnership with Speech First, that puts a stop to the corrosive new practice of bias response teams by prohibiting public universities and community colleges from operating any such system that works to chill student speech.

All around the nation, Goldwater is working to ensure that American colleges resemble safe havens for free and open exchange—and to expose the ones that resemble a surveillance state instead.

You can check out here, and if you have questions about this guide or your right to public information, please contact the Goldwater Institute at You can submit a case to the Goldwater Institute here.



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