A nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the free speech
rights of students reports a number of southern colleges and
universities lead the way.
The Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
(FIRE) released its list of schools that put the First Amendment
above political correctness. Six of the seven top schools are in
FIRE's Robert Shibley explains: "That's because we had some real
cooperation among the schools in Mississippi and Virginia where one
school in the state would realize they wanted to protect free
speech rights of their students and then their rival schools
decided they didn't want to be left behind."
He says it is essential that colleges and universities have
unrestricted free speech policies.
"It doesn't matter how high your school is ranked, if you don't
have free speech, your missing out a big part of your education,"
"That's because when you're getting a liberal arts education,
you need to be exposed to all different viewpoints. If your school
eliminates those viewpoints from consideration, you might have a
high ranking -- but you don't have an education."
Shibley says only 16 schools out of the 400 they ranked received
their "green light" rating for free speech. Sixty-five percent of
the schools received a "red light" -- the group's worst rating.