FIRE in a Crowded Campus
Red-light institutions have at least one policy that "clearly and substantially" abridges the freedom of speech.
Yellow-light institutions are by no means out of the woods, for they have policies that could suppress speech in application.
Green-light institutions, as expected, have no offending policies, but are not necesarily firm proponents of the First Amendment.
Of the 334 institutions of higher learning reviewed, 229 of them were red-light offenders, 91 yellow-light suspects, leaving only 8 on firm First Amendment ground.
Public schools, even though they must abide by the dictates of the First Amendment, are actually more likely to suppress the freedoms its guarantees than their private peers.
Offending policies typically assume one of four forms:
1. Harassment policies.
2. Free speech zones.
3. Disorderly conduct policies.
4. Policies concerning tolerance, respect, and civility.
The institution where I currently attend graduate school, the University of Illinois at Chicago, is one of the guilty parties. It created four "free speech zones" on campus, restricting protests to these identified areas and requiring 48 hours advance notice to demonstrate.
I am not alone in my condemnation of such intolerance in institutions of learning founded for the very purpose of expanding our horizons. This editorial in the Indiana Daily Student News recognizes the importance of robust debate from all angles, and it's a bit puzzling that the PhD's in the ivory towers can't come to similar conclusions. I commend FIRE for their admirable efforts and hope you will join them in fanning the flames across our nations campuses.