NEW REPORT: Most U.S. Colleges Violate Students’ Free Speech Rights

December 13, 2014

PHILADELPHIA, December 13, 2014—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its 2015 report and interactive infographic on campus speech codes across America today. FIRE’s findings show that more than half of the 437 schools analyzed maintain policies severely restricting students’ right to free speech.

“Most universities continue to enforce speech codes that don’t satisfy First Amendment standards,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “For the seventh consecutive year, however, the percentage of speech codes has dropped, and we’re happy to see that. But the federal government’s efforts to address sexual harassment on campus are leading a number of universities to adopt flatly unconstitutional speech policies.” Lukianoff added, “The greatest threat to free speech on campus may now be the federal government.”

Major findings from Spotlight on Speech Codes 2015: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses include:

Spotlight on Speech Codes 2015 reports on policies at more than 400 of America’s largest and most prestigious colleges and universities, all of which are accessible online in FIRE’s searchable Spotlight database.

“The continued decline in speech codes is excellent news,” said Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Policy Research. “But supporters of free speech need to confront the threat from the federal government head-on and work to make sure colleges understand that no government regulation can trump the First Amendment.”

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, freedom of expression, academic freedom, due process, 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

Katie Barrows, Communications Coordinator, FIRE: 215-717-3473 x403;