FIRE Releases 2017 Speech Code Report

 

shutterstock_238626832Today my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), released our annual “Spotlight on Speech Codes” report, a rundown of the speech policies at 449 of America’s largest and most prestigious colleges and universities. The report contains both good and bad news about the state of free speech on campus.

As the Wall Street Journal reported:

Fire’s 10th annual report surveyed speech policies at 345 four-year public colleges and 104 private schools. The good news is that the share of colleges with “red-light” speech codes that substantially bar constitutionally protected speech has declined to 39.6%, a nearly 10% drop in the last year and the lowest share since 2008. Over the last nine years the number of institutions that don’t seriously threaten speech has tripled to 27. Several colleges including the University of Wisconsin have adopted policies that affirm (at least in theory) their commitment to free speech.

Unfortunately, however, it isn’t all good news. For example, about 40 percent of the schools FIRE surveyed had a “bias reporting team” tasked with investigating incidents of verbal bias:

Even as some colleges drop speech codes to avoid legal challenges, many have established “bias” reporting systems that solicit complaints about offensive speech. As Fire explains, these systems encourage “students to report on one another—and on faculty members—whenever they subjectively perceive that someone’s speech or expression is biased.”

Check out more about the report over on FIRE’s website, or read the Wall Street Journal’s write-up about the findings!

There are 10 comments.

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  1. Trink Coolidge
    Trink
    @Trink

    I just read the most “liked” comment (Joseph Breton) under that article in the WSJ article.

    Now that’s depressing.

    Keep up the good fight, Greg.  Thanks for help in defending our liberties.

    • #1
  2. Ulysses768 Inactive
    Ulysses768
    @Ulysses768

    @greglukianoff thank you so much for all that you and FIRE do.

    Has there been any realization on the part of universities that the Orwellian levels of political correctness that they cultivate have triggered such a widespread backlash in the general public, i.e. electing Donald Trump?

    • #2
  3. Solar Eclipse Inactive
    Solar Eclipse
    @SolarEclipse

    As a conservative applying to PhD programs in sociology…I very much appreciate what you’re doing with FIRE, and wish you the greatest success!  Here’s hoping I never have any cause to seek your assistance.

    • #3
  4. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    I notice my alma mater, Davidson College, is firmly in the red light district.  I guess I can quit giving them money I never gave them before anyway.

    • #4
  5. wilber forge Inactive
    wilber forge
    @wilberforge

    As Fire explains, these systems encourage “students to report on one another—and on faculty members—whenever they subjectively perceive that someone’s speech or expression is biased.”

    Anyone happen to recall under what political systems and historical locations where this was rife. Will open the bidding with the Stazi and KGB.

    • #5
  6. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    wilber forge:As Fire explains, these systems encourage “students to report on one another—and on faculty members—whenever they subjectively perceive that someone’s speech or expression is biased.”

    Anyone happen to recall under what political systems and historical locations where this was rife. Will open the bidding with the Stazi and KGB.

    I wonder if they would favor incentives for reporting neighbors who are welfare cheats.

    • #6
  7. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    I have actually read where campus conservatives have now created an organization that reports professors and staff that uses speech against conservatives. What say you? I am kinda for it. It is funny to me that some leftist professors are fighting it and saying that they feel ummmmm threatened by it. They say things like “This isn’t in keeping with the mission of academia.” It is ironic, yes but do they kinda have a point?

    • #7
  8. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    RyanFalcone:I have actually read where campus conservatives have now created an organization that reports professors and staff that uses speech against conservatives. What say you? I am kinda for it. It is funny to me that some leftist professors are fighting it and saying that they feel ummmmm threatened by it. They say things like “This isn’t in keeping with the mission of academia.” It is ironic, yes but do they kinda have a point?

    They do have a point, but there is a whole culture and network that keeps tabs on who the conservatives are and often makes it difficult for them to get jobs and promotions.  So it works both ways.

    • #8
  9. Pugshot Member
    Pugshot
    @Pugshot

    wilber forge

    Anyone happen to recall under what political systems and historical locations where this was rife. Will open the bidding with the Stazi and KGB.

    I’ll see you and raise you the Red Chinese.

    • #9
  10. barbara lydick Inactive
    barbara lydick
    @barbaralydick

    This is truly insane – and dangerous – and maddening.  What ever happened to the good old days when a person who felt offended went to the “offender” and expressed displeasure, politely?

    An offshoot – or perhaps a main pillar – of the grievance industry, this thinking has done as much as multiculturalism to create darned near impenetrable walls between groups of people.  This in turn has spawned unnecessary bureaucracies throughout education institutions as well as the workplace.  Monies spent for what? I know, I know.  It’s the left’s way to control both the debate and people’s actions.  Logic and good sense have no place in that world.  But seriously, folks.

    As an aside, there was a (tall) attorney in our division who liked to peer down a woman’s blouse in the elevator and the day it happened to me, I later went to his office and politely suggested his behavior was not acceptable – and said that if it happened again – to me or any other woman – I’d rip his head off and make him carry it around in a bag.  No more problems.

    Keep up your great work, Greg.

    • #10

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