Spotlight on Speech Codes 2022 reveals that 18.5% of the 481 colleges and universities analyzed maintain “red light” policies that seriously infringe upon the free speech rights of students.
Most college students in the United States should be able to expect that freedom of expression will be upheld on their campuses. For our 2021 report, FIRE surveyed the written policies of 478 colleges and universities, evaluating their compliance with First Amendment standards.
The percentage of schools earning an overall “red light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database has gone down for the twelfth year in a row, this year to 24.2%. which is exactly 50 percentage points lower than the percentage of red light institutions in FIRE’s 2009 report.
The percentage of schools earning an overall “red light” rating in FIRE's Spotlight database has gone down for the eleventh year in a row.
FIRE surveyed 461 colleges and universities for this report and found that 32.3% of those schools maintain severely restrictive, “red light” speech codes that clearly and substantially prohibit constitutionally protected speech.
As of September 2016, 27 schools received a green light rating from FIRE. This number is up from 22 schools as of last year’s report.
While speech codes declined overall, FIRE did see a continued increase in restrictive harassment policies in response to the federal government’s unprecedented intervention into universities’ handling of sexual harassment claims.
As FIRE predicted in last year’s report, the May 2013 federal “blueprint” for sexual assault policies and practices has continued to have a negative effect on campus free speech rights.
FIRE surveyed 427 schools for this report and found that more than half maintain severely restrictive speech codes that clearly prohibit protected speech. While unacceptable, there is good news: For the sixth year in a row, the percentage of schools maintaining such policies has declined.