Report: College speech codes getting better

Thursday, December 27, 2012
Bob Kellogg (

A new report from a nonprofit educational foundation shows that three-fifths of colleges in the U.S. still seriously restrict free speech. But there is some good news.

Harris, Samantha (FIRE)Samantha Harris of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) explains that her group looked at more than 400 schools and found that 62.1 percent have anti-free-speech policies. She tells OneNewsNow more about what they surveyed at the schools and covered in the report.

"We also see a lot of Internet usage policies that contain impermissible restrictions on speech, as well as policies regarding student demonstrations and protests," Harris notes. "We also look at policies governing the residence halls and governing student organizations -- what they can post, if they can distribute literature on campus. So, there's a wide variety of policies that we look at."

Even though there is still a prevalence of restrictive free speech codes, Harris says the good news is the situation continues to get better each year.

"It's actually been going down every year for the last five years or so, which is really great," she submits. "I mean, five years ago, 75 percent of schools had what we call red-light speech codes; this year was just over 62 percent. So, 62 percent is still unacceptably high, but certainly a lot better than 75 percent."

The full report is available at FIRE's website.

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