Below we are posted an article recently released regarding free speech.
STIFLED: 6.4 million students denied free speech by top American colleges
- Worst, “red light” rating: 25% of colleges
- “Yellow light” rating: 64%
- Best, “green light” rating: 11%
- Over half a million students at top colleges must find a “free speech zone” to exercise their expressive rights.
Dec. 4, 2019 — Millions of students nationwide check their free speech
rights at the door when they arrive on campus, according to a new report
from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2020: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses,
released today, analyzes the written policies at 471 of America’s top
colleges and universities for their protection of free speech. The
report finds that 89% of American colleges maintain policies that
restrict — or could too easily be applied to restrict — student
All of the analyzed policies are accessible in FIRE’s Spotlight Database.
FIRE rates schools as “red light,” “yellow light,” or “green light”
institutions based on how much, if any, speech their policies restrict.
FIND OUT HOW MUCH FREE SPEECH YOUR SCHOOL RESTRICTS
college administrators are scrubbing the most egregious policies from
the books, but they’re increasingly crafting subtler policies that still
limit student expression,” said FIRE Senior Program Officer Laura
Beltz, the lead author of the study.
“Yellow light policies aren’t good enough — they still restrict
protected speech. Colleges must go green or go back to the drawing
Almost a quarter of institutions in the report received FIRE’s poorest, red light rating for maintaining speech codes that both “clearly and substantially” restrict freedom of speech.
11% of institutions — 50 schools — do not maintain any written policies
that compromise student expression, earning FIRE’s highest, green light rating. (Twomore
universities have earned the rating since the report was written,
bringing the total to 52 green light schools.) The percentage of green
light schools is up from only 2% in 2009.
Meanwhile, the number of institutions earning a yellow light rating
has tripled in recent years: from 21% in 2009 to 64% today. While less
restrictive than red light policies, yellow light policies still
prohibit or have an impermissible chilling effect on constitutionally
rating schools, FIRE measures an institution’s policies against First
Amendment standards. FIRE’s rating system examines universities’ written
policies and regulations and does not take into account specific cases
or incidents, which FIRE may also weigh in on.
private institutions are generally not bound by the First Amendment,
they are responsible for living up to their institutional commitments to
free speech. Although most private institutions pledge to protect the
free speech rights of their students, almost 92% of surveyed private
institutions fall short of those promises. Only 3% live up to their
pledged commitments, earning a green light rating. Another 6% earn a
“warning” rating for clearly placing other values, such as religious
values, over free speech, which is their right as a private association.
report also highlights the biggest missteps administrators make when
crafting policies. For example, poorly-written policies governing
internet usage, civility, event security fees, harassment, and free
speech zones often result in universities earning lower ratings.
the first time, more than 1 million students are enrolled at green
light institutions. More than 6.4 million students attend colleges rated
yellow, red, or warning.
for the first time, entire states are home to only green light-rated
institutions. Arizona earned this distinction in February. Since the
report was written, MississippijoinedArizona in having all rated institutions earn a green light rating.
2013, the percentage of surveyed institutions maintaining
unconstitutional free speech zones has been halved, from 16% to 8%.
Almost 40 institutions maintain such zones, opening themselves up to
costly legal challenges. Over 560,000 students attend such institutions.
- 68 administrations or faculty bodies have adopted statements in support of free speech
modeled after the one adopted by the University of Chicago in January
2015. That’s up 15 schools from two years ago. (Since the report was
written, two more universities have joined the list of “Chicago
Statement” schools, bringing the total to 70 institutions.)
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2020: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses can be read in full on FIRE’s website, along with previous speech code reports dating back to 2006.
LOOKING FOR A COLLEGE THAT ACTUALLY RESPECTS FREE SPEECH? CHECK OUT FIRE’S 5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING A COLLEGE
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and
sustaining the individual rights of students and faculty members at
America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of
speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious
liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of
Daniel Burnett, Assistant Director of Communications, FIRE
215-717-3473;email@example.comCOMING DEC. 11: FIRE’S REPORT ON DUE PROCESS AT AMERICA’S TOP UNIVERSITIES — BE THE FIRST TO KNOW