Comprehensive Online Tool Illuminates Colleges’ Treatment of Liberty
PHILADELPHIA, July 26, 2005—As part of its continuing campaign to restore liberty to America’s colleges and universities, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has launched Spotlight: The Campus Freedom Resource.
Spotlight combines the information from FIRE’s two previously separate websites, thefire.org and speechcodes.org, to make one formidable new weapon in the battle for individual rights on campus. Visitors to FIRE’s Spotlight can click on the college or university of their choice and instantly see a more complete picture of that campus’ restrictions on liberty—everything from speech codes and actual cases of repression to media coverage and entries from FIRE’s blog, The Torch.
FIRE’s Spotlight currently contains information on 335 colleges and universities. This number will grow as FIRE’s staff regularly researches institutions of higher learning. No other website or organization has ever even attempted to present such a wealth of information on the state of liberty on our nation’s campuses.
“FIRE’s website is now one-stop shopping for anyone hoping to fight administrative abuses,” stated Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy. “Students, parents, and professors can now easily research a college or university’s repressive policies and practices.”
Each school’s page in FIRE’s Spotlight collects all the information on FIRE’s website associated with that school—including FIRE cases and the documents associated with them. Each school’s page also displays information formerly on speechcodes.org, such as FIRE’s “red light,” “yellow light,” or “green light” speech code rating and links to the latest campus policies restricting individual rights.
Speechcodes.org was itself an impressive database, offering up the speech codes of most major colleges and universities for public scrutiny. The information in that database, the result of thousands of hours of research, carries even more weight now that it appears beside actual instances of censorship.
For example, visitors to thefire.org/harvard can see FIRE’s rating of Harvard University (“red light”) as well as links to the written policies that form the basis for FIRE’s rating. All FIRE cases at Harvard appear on the page, including a recent case in which a student was denied due process. Additionally, while FIRE did not open a case on the controversy surrounding remarks made by Harvard President Lawrence Summers, its staff and founders joined the national debate by contributing to The Torch and writing op-eds in national publications. Links to all such coverage and more are on Harvard’s page in FIRE’s Spotlight.
“As Justice Brandeis famously wrote, ‘Sunlight is the best disinfectant,’” FIRE President David French noted. “Thanks to the information available in FIRE’s Spotlight, abusive administrators may soon face the glare of concerned students, parents, and citizens.”
FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at thefire.org.