FIRE Releases Its 2018 Report on Campus Speech Codes

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recently released its annual review of campus speech codes:

For the 10th year in a row, the percentage of universities maintaining written policies that severely restrict students’ free speech rights has decreased. But despite a decade of free speech victories to eliminate the most egregious speech codes, more than 90 percent of universities still maintain at least one policy that either restricts protected speech or can too easily be interpreted to do so, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Released [this week], Spotlight on Speech Codes 2018: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses reports on written policies at 461 of America’s largest and most prestigious colleges and universities, all of which are accessible online in FIRE’s searchable Spotlight database. FIRE rates schools as “red light,” “yellow light,” or “green light” institutions based on how much, if any, protected speech their policies restrict.

In September 2014, we noted that Plymouth State University (PSU) had eliminated all of its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating from FIRE. Business Law Basics co-author and PSU professor of business law and criminal justice Sam Brickley led the effort to obtain FIRE’s “green light” rating. At the time, PSU became the 20th institution nationwide to earn FIRE’s most favorable rating for free speech on campus. There are now 37 “green light” institutions.