Last fall we noted that Plymouth State University (PSU) had eliminated all of its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Business Law Basics co-author and PSU associate professor of business law Sam Brickley led the effort to obtain FIRE’s “green light” rating. FIRE recently listed PSU’s “green light” rating as one of its “highlights” in 2014. PSU was one of three schools to become a “green light” newbie in 2014.
Unfortunately, however, the state of free speech on America’s campuses remains troubled. This past month FIRE released its 2015 report on campus speech codes. FIRE found that 55.2% of the 437 colleges and universities analyzed maintain policies that seriously infringe upon students’ speech rights (i.e., these are “red light” schools). FIRE also found that another 39.1% of the schools have “yellow light” policies that overregulate speech on campus. Only 18 schools (4.1%) received a “green light” rating. And seven schools (1.6%) were not rated.
From FIRE’s website—
The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience—the essential qualities of individual liberty and dignity. FIRE’s core mission is to protect the unprotected and to educate the public and communities of concerned Americans about the threats to these rights on our campuses and about the means to preserve them.