KEENE, N.H., Aug. 29, 2018 — A third New Hampshire college has honored the state’s motto of “Live Free or Die” by revising all of its speech policies that conflicted with the First Amendment. Today, Keene State College earns the highest rating for free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Keene State is the 42nd institution nationwide to earn FIRE’s coveted “green light” rating, signifying that the institution does not maintain any written policies that imperil free expression. The University of New Hampshire earned the distinction in May, joining Plymouth State University on this elite list.
“At a time when too many schools muzzle campus expression, students and professors at Keene State should be proud to know that their school is fighting for their rights, not against them,” said FIRE Vice President of Policy Reform Azhar Majeed. “With the addition of Keene State, the state of New Hampshire is home to three green light schools and is quickly becoming a national leader in protecting student and faculty voices.”
Working with FIRE’s staff, Keene State revised five “yellow light” policies, including a computer and network use policy banning “political use” and a policy on “political, social, and commercial activities.”
Dartmouth College is now the only Granite State institution in FIRE’s Spotlight database to not earn the highest rating for free speech. Dartmouth maintains a “red light” rating, which is given to schools that clearly and substantially restrict student or faculty speech.
Most colleges and universities surveyed by FIRE maintain written policies that threaten student and faculty speech. According to FIRE’s Spotlight on Speech Codes 2018 report, about one third of institutions nationwide earn a red light rating, and almost 60 percent earn a yellow light rating, which is given to schools that maintain policies that chill or outright prohibit protected speech, albeit to a lesser degree than at a red light institution.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience — the essential qualities of liberty.
Bill Rickards, Communications Coordinator, FIRE: 215-717-3473; firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly Ricaurte, Director of Strategic Communications and Community Relations, Keene State College: 603-358-2119; email@example.com