Free Speech on Campus Project

FIRE believes it is essential that our nation’s future leaders be educated as members of a free society, learning to debate and to resolve differences peacefully, without resorting to administrative coercion. Unfortunately, too many colleges and universities have attempted to outlaw speech and expression that do not conform to various ‘politically correct’ campus orthodoxies. Through this project, FIRE defends and enhances freedom of expression at America’s institutions of higher education. Issues covered by this project include the elimination of ‘free speech zones,’ which limit where students can express controversial views on campus, in favor of opening the entire campus to free speech. The project also works to defend freedom of the press and academic freedom and to oppose the censorship of dissenting viewpoints.

Students and faculty who have been punished for their speech may submit cases through FIRE’s website. FIRE vets these cases for accuracy and context in order to determine how best to assist the individual student, faculty member, or student group. FIRE then writes letters to college administrators on behalf of the victim, explaining why a policy or punishment is unjust. If the administrators do not respond, FIRE uses its extensive Media Network to publicize the story in the belief that colleges and universities often cannot justify in public the actions they have taken in private. Where necessary, FIRE links individuals to appropriate legal aid through its Legal Network, providing individuals and their attorneys with legal memoranda and other assistance.

Read more about the issue of free speech.