Table of Contents

North Carolina Central University earns FIRE’s highest free speech rating

DURHAM, N.C., May 11, 2017 — North Carolina Central University has earned the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s highest, “green light” rating for its commitment to the First Amendment. In cooperation with FIRE, NCCU revised and eliminated speech codes to join an elite group of universities that maintain policies respecting the expressive rights of students and faculty.

“Thanks to the NCCU administration’s dedication, the First Amendment rights of almost 9,000 students and faculty members have been restored,” said Azhar Majeed, FIRE’s vice president of policy reform. “FIRE is pleased to welcome another institution to our group of green light schools, and NCCU deserves to take its place among the best universities for free speech in the country.”

NCCU joins 30 other colleges and universities from around the country whose written policies do not imperil student and faculty free speech, according to FIRE’s Spotlight database. The university is the third institution to earn green light status in 2017, following the State University of New York at Plattsburgh and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. Other North Carolina institutions to earn a green light rating include Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

“North Carolina Central University is pleased that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has rated NCCU as a green light institution,” said NCCU Interim Chancellor Johnson O. Akinleye. “NCCU strives to create an environment that ensures inclusivity and promotes personal development, citizenship, involvement and leadership. We will continue to review the university’s standards and guidelines on an ongoing basis as part of our institutional commitment to maintain a campus that encourages free speech.”

Benita Jones, assistant university legal counsel at NCCU, responded to FIRE’s Nov. 1, 2016 certified mailing to public institutions with red light ratings — those with policies that clearly and substantially restrict First Amendment rights — and worked with FIRE to secure the necessary policy revisions. To earn its green light rating, the university revised or eliminated eight speech codes, including a residential life policy, a posting policy, two sexual harassment policies, and an information technology responsible use policy.

To learn more about the state of free speech on college campuses, see FIRE’s “Spotlight on Speech Codes 2017” report.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.


Daniel Burnett, Communications Manager, FIRE: 215-717-3473;

Recent Articles

FIRE’s award-winning Newsdesk covers the free speech news you need to stay informed.