In the late fall of 2018, a sixth “green light” institution in FIRE’s Spotlight database adopted a version of the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” at the University of Chicago (better known as the “Chicago Statement”). George Mason University, a green light institution since 2015, is the 55th institution or faculty body in the nation to endorse such a free speech statement.
GMU’s free speech policy statement affirms the importance of freedom of expression in higher education. “Being exposed to competing perspectives,” the statement asserts, “is essential for questioning our assumptions, testing our beliefs and refining our knowledge. Our goal as a community must be to create an environment where we can engage in difficult and challenging conversations with civility and mutual respect, where confronting opposing ideas and perspectives becomes an opportunity to learn from and with each other.”
Continuing the trend of green light schools adopting versions of the Chicago Statement that FIRE highlighted in our Spotlight on Speech Codes 2019 report, GMU becomes the latest institution to join this elite group. In 2018, three of these six institutions chose to further prioritize freedom of expression by taking the additional step of adopting a free speech policy statement.
With its adoption, GMU joins five other green light institutions that maintain no written policies that restrict free expression and actively embrace free expression by adopting a version of the Chicago Statement. The five other institutions that do so are Arizona State University, Claremont McKenna College, Kansas State University, Purdue University, and the University of Maryland.
We applaud GMU for taking this additional step to promote campus free speech. We would be pleased to see all colleges and universities commit to free expression in such a way.
Interested in adopting a free speech statement on your campus? Contact us today!