Free Speech

By November 5, 2001

Freedom of speech is a fundamental American freedom, and nowhere should it be more valued and protected than at America’s colleges and universities. The “marketplace of ideas” upon which a university depends for its intellectual vitality cannot flourish when students or faculty members must fear punishment for expressing views that might be unpopular with the public at large or disfavored by university administrators. Yet this freedom is under continuous assault at many of America’s campuses. Speech codes dictating what may or may not be said, “free speech zones” confining free speech to certain areas of campus, and administrative attempts to punish or repress speech on a case-by-case basis are common today in academia. FIRE’s public cases dealing with freedom of speech, listed below, demonstrate our commitment to restoring and preserving this basic freedom on our nation’s campuses. The future of a generation of students—and of liberal education itself—depends on our success.