Over at The Huffington Post today, my colleague Azhar Majeed takes an encouraging survey of the solid progress FIRE has already made in 2015 in reforming restrictive speech codes.
Azhar reviews the four schools that have already earned FIRE’s best, most speech-friendly “green light” rating thus far in 2015—George Mason University, Purdue University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Western State Colorado University—and highlights the important roles that students and faculty can play in improving policies. Taking a close look at Purdue, Azhar writes:
These changes benefit faculty members and students tremendously in the exercise of their free speech rights. But they don't have to be passive bystanders in this process. Indeed, students can be--and have been--powerful proponents for campus freedom. At Purdue, for example, students Andrew Zeller and Emilie Watson led the charge by introducing free speech resolutions in the student government and meeting with members of the university administration, including president Mitch Daniels, to urge the necessary revisions.
Their advocacy ultimately provided the impetus for Purdue to make all of the policy changes recommended by FIRE. As Zeller and Watson put it, "We hope that our success encourages other students around the country to seek positive changes on their own campuses. If students educate themselves on their schools' policies and stand up for their rights on campus, they can be the driving force behind positive, proactive change."
Zeller and Watson (both of whom I had the pleasure of meeting at this past weekend’s FIRE Student Network Conference) are of course exactly right. FIRE would love to replicate their sterling example at campuses nationwide, and there’s plenty of 2015 left to bring about equally inspiring changes.
Check out Azhar’s whole piece at The Huffington Post.