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Spotlight on Speech Codes
FIRE publishes an annual speech code report that condenses the considerable research in our Spotlight database into an accessible picture of the state of free expression on our nation’s campuses, providing readers with key data on individual schools and national trends.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2023
For the first time in 15 years, the percentage of schools earning an overall red light rating increased. Of the 486 schools included in FIRE’s Spotlight database, 94 earn an overall “red light” rating for maintaining policies that clearly and substantially restrict free speech.
Previous Speech Code Reports
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2022
The report reveals that 18.5% of the 481 colleges and universities analyzed maintain “red light” policies that infringe upon students' free speech rights.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2021
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.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2020
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.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2019
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.
Spotlight On Speech Codes 2018
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.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2017
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.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2016
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.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2015
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.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2014
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.
Spotlight on Speech Codes 2013
FIRE surveyed 409 schools for this report and found that over 62 percent maintain severely restrictive, “red-light” speech codes—policies that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech.