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Louisiana Tech earns top rating for free speech

Louisiana Tech University

RUSTON, La., April 24, 2024 — Louisiana Tech University is the latest school to receive a “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression. Green light ratings are reserved for institutions with no written policies that seriously threaten student free speech rights. Tech is one of two schools in Louisiana, and one of 65 nationwide, that earn this rating. 

“Louisiana Tech, with its commitment to sharing knowledge, expanding ideas, and pursuing discovery, must also provide an environment that upholds free expression in its broadest sense,” said Tech President Jim Henderson.  “A culture of inquiry and informed argument generates lasting ideas. We appreciate FIRE’s partnership in evaluating our policies to ensure we can meet this ideal we have for our community at large.”

In the summer of 2023, Louisiana Tech had an overall “red light” rating because of a dozen policies that restricted freedom of speech. FIRE sent the school a memorandum analyzing its policies, and Tech’s general counsel and FIRE’s Policy Reform team collaborated to revise the necessary policies. That following winter, the school advanced to a “yellow light” rating by removing from its student handbook a red light sexual misconduct provision that put protected speech at risk.

But Louisiana Tech administrators did not stop there. In the first quarter of 2024, they worked with FIRE to revise 11 other policies governing computer use, disrespect for authority, harassment, and more.

The university’s updated policies on room decorations and posting, for example, signal its commitment to viewpoint neutrality. The new policy for room decorations only bans materials that create a fire hazard or otherwise violate university policy, with no restrictions on the content of decorations. 

 Similarly, a new campus posting policy guarantees that student organizations will not be denied permission to display signs in university buildings based on the viewpoint of their materials. Signage will only be removed if it violates the law or other university policies. This ensures no clubs will be censored or discouraged from sharing their views. As an additional avenue for expression, the policy establishes a bulletin board where students may post without prior approval.

“The ability to post without administrative approval in at least one area on campus is absolutely critical to a healthy campus climate for free expression,” said FIRE Senior Program Officer Mary Griffin, who worked with the Tech administration to secure these policy changes. “At a time when other institutions are sharply limiting student expression by censoring unpopular views, Tech’s policy revisions signal to its community that its campus is a place to engage in robust dialogue on the issues of the day.”

Tech is part of the University of Louisiana system, which has long sought to implement speech-protective policies at its nine schools. FIRE has been working with the system for nearly two years, helping to revise 32 speech-chilling policies across its constituent institutions. 

More than 14,000 students now attend green light schools in Louisiana. Hopefully, Louisiana Tech’s achievement will inspire other schools in the state to follow suit. Louisiana should try to emulate its southeastern neighbors like North CarolinaMississippi, and Virginia, which boast a combined 26 green light schools. 

FIRE is eager to help schools in Louisiana — and around the country — earn green light ratings. We regularly work with colleges and universities, free of charge, to revise their policies to ensure they meet First Amendment standards. Contact FIRE’s campus Policy Reform team today at

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought — the most essential qualities of liberty. FIRE educates Americans about the importance of these inalienable rights, promotes a culture of respect for these rights, and provides the means to preserve them.

Louisiana Tech University, established in 1894 in Ruston, Louisiana, is renowned for its commitment to academic excellence and hands-on learning. With diverse undergraduate and graduate programs, modern facilities, cutting-edge research centers, and vibrant student life, the university provides an unparalleled educational experience. Emphasizing faculty expertise, mentorship, and active community engagement, Louisiana Tech prepares students for successful careers and meaningful contributions to society.


Jack Whitten, Media Relations Specialist, FIRE: 215-717-3473;

Cami Geisman, Executive Vice President for External Affairs, Louisiana Tech University: 225-202-0870;

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