Speech codes were the topic of today’s nationally syndicated comic strip Mallard Fillmore. FIRE and some of our cases have been the subject of Mallard Fillmore‘s commentary many times in the past, and we’re always very thankful for creator Bruce Tinsley’s attention to our work.
Of course, speech codes are no laughing matter, as our report Spotlight on Speech Codes 2007 aptly demonstrates. Our report concluded that 75% of colleges and universities surveyed in FIRE’s speech codes database, Spotlight, maintain policies that restrict protected speech on campus. Even more unfortunate is the fact that only 2% of colleges and universities surveyed were free of speech codes. To top it all off, as our recent press release concerning Shippensburg University’s speech code reveals, even when students or faculty go to federal court to protect their free speech rights and win, universities are still more than willing to ignore injunctions and the law itself to enforce these unconstitutional speech codes.
So even though the comic gave me a chuckle as I was reading my morning paper The Bulletin, quickly thereafter I was reminded about the harsh, cold reality of the actual state of free speech on college campuses.