UF Eliminates All “Speech Codes”

December 15, 2014

By Jeff Schweers at The Gainesville Sun

Colleges and universities across the nation are adopting policies that restricts students’ speech rights as part of the White Houses’s crackdown on campus sexual assaults, The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said in its annual report.

But UF is not among those.

“Most universities continue to enforce speech codes that don’t satisfy First Amendment standards,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said in a released statement. “For the seventh consecutive year, however, the percentage of speech codes has dropped, and we’re happy to see that.”

Fifty-five percent of 437 colleges and universities surveyed by FIRE have highly restrictive speech codes, earning the “red light” label. That is down 20 points from seven years ago.

UF, Oregon State and Plymouth State universities were called out for eliminating all student speech codes this year, earning FIRE’s “green light” rating, the news release said.

The report made note that universities under pressure from the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights — including Penn State and the University of Connecticut — have adopted new speech codes “under the guise of harassment policies” that FIRE deems unconstitutional. “The federal government’s efforts to address sexual harassment on campus are leading to a number of universities to adopt flatly unconstitutional speech policies,” Lukianoff said.

FIRE is a non-profit organization that claims to be non-partisan but gets most of its funding from conservative groups and has a stated agenda to campaign against what it perceives as a liberal bias on college and university campuses.

Schools: University of Florida