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ERIC Number: ED536997
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2009: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation's Campuses
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (NJ1)
Each year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) conducts a wide, detailed survey of restrictions on speech at America's colleges and universities. The survey and resulting report explore the extent to which schools are meeting their obligations to uphold students' and faculty members' rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and private conscience. This year's report examines the restrictions on speech in force at a large sample of American colleges and universities and identifies emergent trends within the data. The report also addresses recent developments regarding free speech in the university setting, drawing from FIRE's research on university policies and from cases that FIRE has handled over the past academic year. Some highlights from this year's research include: (1) Jackson State University in Mississippi prohibits speech "which degrades, insult [sic], taunt [sic], or challenges another person by any means of communication, verbal [sic], so as to provoke a violent response, communication of threat, defamation of character, use of profanity, verbal assaults, derogatory comments or remarks, sexist remarks, racists [sic] remarks or any behavior that places another member of the University community in a state of fear or anxiety"; (2) Penn State University requires its students to agree that they "will not engage in any behaviors that compromise or demean the dignity of individuals or groups," including any "taunting," "ridiculing," or "insulting"; and (3) Clark University prohibits "any act or attempted act by any person against another person, group, or property that has the intent of hostility towards the victim." FIRE hopes that by exposing the magnitude of the threat to free speech on the American college campus, it will draw increased public attention to the problem and inspire solutions. After all, public scrutiny is perhaps the greatest weapon against these abuses. Appended are: (1) States by Geographic Region; and (2) Schools by Rating. (Contains 8 figures and 55 footnotes.) [For the 2007 edition of this report, see ED536996.]
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. 601 Walnut Street Suite 510, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 215-717-3473; Fax: 215-717-3440; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Davis v Monroe County Board of Education; First Amendment