Believe It Or Not, There Is Good News On The Campus Speech Front

greenlighThe Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports that  less than half of America’s colleges maintain policies that severely restrict students’ right to free speech, an all time low since the campus speech defending non-profit started tracking the problem.

Spotlight on Speech Codes 2016: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses reports on policies at 440 of America’s largest and most prestigious colleges and universities.

The report tells us that…

  • The percentage of red light schools has declined from a high of 75 percent in 2007, while in the same time period the number of green light institutions has grown from just eight institutions (2 percent) to 22 this year (5 percent).

This welcome news is especially surprising given the explosion of administration capitulations to student demands for restrictions on campus expression deemed “offensive” or “hostile” to minorities. In fact, I wonder how much of the report was complete before Mizzou Madness.

The report still contains ominous portents. FIRE downgraded ten universities from a “yellow light” rating to the red light rating for adopting restrictive definitions of sexual harassment, thanks to pressure from Obama’s Department of education.  Indeed, the federal government was largely behind more private universities earning red light ratings (bad), which  increased from 58.7 percent last year to 60.6 percent in 2015.  FIRE notes that outgoing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently said that the Department of Education “want[s] to do more” in response to recent racial tensions on campus.  Says FIRE: “If the department’s actions with regard to racial harassment parallel those it has taken with regard to sexual harassment, this could lead to additional restrictions on protected speech in the future.”

Since the ACLU has largely abandoned its defense of student and faculty expression at universities and colleges, the work of FIRE is more important than ever. If you are looking for a worthy recipient of a year-end tax-deductable donation, you will not find a more admirable or deserving one than The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

5 thoughts on “Believe It Or Not, There Is Good News On The Campus Speech Front

  1. One of the biggest problems is the “hostile environment” mumbo jumbo. Even though this phrase does not appear in the text of Title VII or IX, it is still bring cited. (University of OK President Born cited “hostile environment” mumbo jumbo to justify his defiance of the Constitution.)

    Also, the Mizzou protestors actually demanded defiance of both Title VII and equal protection.

  2. Although I don’t agree with everything that Kirsten Powers (a Liberal) wrote in her book The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech she did a really decent job of bringing to the forefront what has been happening across the USA and on many college campus’ where free speech has been squelched by the perpetually offended.

    It’s definitely not just on college campus’ that this is happening and I hope continued progress can be made to stamp out the perpetually offended ideological wingnuts driving this silencing nonsense.

    Our diversity is our strength, and part of that diversity is differences of opinion that contribute to the voice of the whole people not just the perpetually offended.

    • Bringing Kirsten Powers book into the conversation should not be taken as any effort to diminish the direct affect of the book The Shadow University: The Betrayal Of Liberty On America’s Campuses; however, I think that Kirsten Powers focused a huge portion of her book off campus and that was truly needed.

  3. This is cause for cautious optimism… but that only. It’s pretty obvious that leftist elements among both faculty and students are pushing hard against the concept of any speech or action that does not not meet with their approval.

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