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Purdue University Eliminates All of Its Speech Codes, Earns FIRE’s Highest Rating

May 15, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., May 15, 2015—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is pleased to announce that Purdue University has earned FIRE’s highest, “green light” rating for free speech. With help from FIRE, Purdue revised its speech-related policies to comply with the First Amendment. Purdue further affirmed its commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression by adopting a statement similar to the University of Chicago’s laudable statement on academic freedom, endorsed by FIRE in January.

“We’re proud to add Purdue to the growing list of green light institutions,” said Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program. “I’m grateful that Purdue’s students, administrators, and leadership discussed and collaborated with us on these policy changes to make sure Purdue’s written policies on student expression fully meet constitutional standards.”

FIRE began working to reform Purdue’s speech codes in September 2014, when FIRE sent a memorandum covering Purdue’s speech policies to two members of the student government. Students Andrew Zeller and Emilie Watson worked with FIRE’s Majeed to advocate for policy reform on campus and to introduce a resolution in student government calling for the necessary revisions. Purdue President Mitch Daniels supported eliminating the university’s speech codes as well.

Purdue becomes the 21st green light institution in FIRE’s Spotlight database of over 400 colleges and universities, as well as the second university in a month to earn a green light rating. This positive trend reflects growing awareness of free speech issues on campus, as well as increased cooperation between students, administrators, and FIRE.

Purdue also becomes the latest university to adopt a statement on the importance of free expression and academic freedom. In January 2015, the University of Chicago’s Committee on Freedom of Expression, chaired by law professor Geoffrey Stone, issued a policy statement guaranteeing all members of the campus community the ability to speak and express themselves freely. FIRE endorsed this statement with the hope that other universities would adopt it, and they have. Purdue is the latest university to embrace a statement modeled after the University of Chicago’s statement—as institutions including Princeton University have done.

“I’m very encouraged to see an additional university use the University of Chicago’s statement as a model for its own academic freedom statement, and I’m thrilled to add another college to our growing ranks of ‘green light’ schools,” said FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff. “It’s my hope that every university in the country will follow Purdue’s lead.”

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 thefire.org.

CONTACT:

Nico Perrino, Associate Director of Communications, FIRE: 215-717-3473; nico@thefire.org

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