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ERIC Number: ED536999
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2011: 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 rigorous survey of restrictions on speech at America's colleges and universities. The survey and accompanying report explore the extent to which schools are meeting their legal and moral 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. Highlights from this year's research include: (1) Grambling State University's e-mail policy prohibits "the creation or distribution of any disruptive or offensive messages, including offensive comments about race, gender, hair color, disabilities, age, sexual orientation, pornography, religious beliefs and practice, political beliefs, or national origin"; (2) University of Massachusetts Amherst has a policy about "controversial rallies" requiring that if a rally is deemed controversial, it may only take place between 12 and 1 pm and must be held on the Student Union steps, and the sponsoring student group must designate at least six of its own members to act as a security team; and (3) College of the Holy Cross vaguely prohibits speech "causing emotional injury through careless or reckless behavior." By bringing speech codes to the public's attention, FIRE hopes to keep the number of schools prohibiting protected speech in decline. After all, public scrutiny is perhaps the greatest defense against these abuses. Appended are: (1) States by Geographic Region; and (2) Schools by Rating. (Contains 9 figures and 59 footnotes.) [For the 2010 edition of this report, see ED536998.]
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