Bucknell University

Location: Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Bucknell University has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 203 colleges ranked Read more

FIRE surveyed roughly 44,000 students at 203 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. See the full report on FIRE’s 2022 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 53.68

Rankings / out of 203 colleges ranked

Overall Ranking 48
Openness 157
Tolerance (Liberals) 91
Tolerance (Conservatives) 8
Administrative Support 92
Comfort 79
Disruptive Conduct 79

Administrative Behavior

Supported Scholars 0
Sanctioned Scholars 0
Successful Disinvitations 0


Speech Climate AVERAGE
Speech Code YELLOW
  • Greg Laments an ‘Unfortunate Renaissance in Campus Speech-Policing’ on College Campuses

    May 18, 2015

    Freedom of speech on college campuses seems to ebb and flow—periods of rampant censorship are followed by movements for truly open discourse, which in turn are followed by attempts to silence “offensive” speech. Unfortunately, as FIRE President Greg Lukianoff writes for Minding the Campus today, colleges and universities are now home to a “renaissance in… Read more

  • Colleges Rush to Violate Free Speech, Due Process in Response to Speech Controversies

    April 9, 2015

    PHILADELPHIA, April 9, 2015—In the wake of the University of Oklahoma’s unconstitutional decision to summarily expel students involved in a racist fraternity chant, colleges and universities across the country are in a “race to the bottom” to violate the rights of students at the center of campus controversies involving speech deemed offensive, heedless of either… Read more

  • The top 12 worst colleges for free speech

    March 28, 2012

    Who doesn’t love a good awards show? The gowns, the acceptance speeches, the brutal infringements of civil liberties … the excitement just never ends. Once again, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work), has sorted through the hundreds of colleges and universities across the nation that severely restrict the First Amendment rights of… Read more

  • FIRE’s 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2012

    March 27, 2012

    Here’s today’s press release:  PHILADELPHIA, March 27, 2012—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its 2012 list of the 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in The Huffington Post today. Harvard is new to the list this year, joining Yale, Syracuse, and the University of Cincinnati at the top of the list. "These colleges and universities… Read more

  • Something Fishy in Wyoming

    March 19, 2012

    CampusReform.org brings to us a disturbing story from Laramie County Community College in Wyoming, where a student says that administrators took some troubling actions to prevent his Campus Conservatives group from holding an "affirmative action bake sale" protest on campus: Once the university realized that my event would expose their racial preferencing policies, I was… Read more

  • A ‘Bake Sale’ Protest at Aquinas College (Bucknell, Are You Listening?)

    February 2, 2012

    A perennial topic of consternation on college campuses is the "affirmative action bake sale" protest that groups opposed to affirmative action hold with some regularity on college campuses. If you don’t recall or haven’t heard of these protests, they take the form of bake sales where people of different ethnicities are charged different suggested amounts… Read more

  • ‘Stossel’ Show Exposes Censorship at Bucknell, Yale, and More

    November 18, 2011

    The most recent episode of Stossel on Fox Business Network, titled “Free Speech … and Its Enemies,” featured interviews with FIRE Board of Directors Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley discussing free speech on campus. Harvey described the evolving attacks on free speech whereby people are using terms like “harassment”… Read more

  • After More Bake Sales Across the Nation, Bucknell Looks Dumber and Dumber

    October 7, 2011

    FIRE has been drawing attention to Bucknell University’s shutdown of an "affirmative action bake sale" on its campus. Bucknell administrators have been claiming incorrectly that such a sale constitutes illegal discrimination and have stated that such controversial issues as affirmative action could not be discussed in the public areas of campus without Bucknell’s permission. That… Read more

  • FIRE in ‘The Huffington Post’ on America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech

    January 27, 2011

    Today, The Huffington Post published FIRE’s list of America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech. An expansion of FIRE’s Red Alert List of the “worst of the worst” schools for student and faculty rights, this “dirty dozen” slideshow includes the schools that come onto FIRE’s radar screen again and again for their repeated and egregious violations of fundamental rights, as… Read more

  • An Open Letter to Bucknell University’s New President

    November 11, 2010

    Today, FIRE sent an open letter, reprinted below, to Bucknell University President John Bravman, asking him to vindicate student rights on Bucknell’s campus. FIRE is nonpartisan, and we take no position on the issues that Bucknell University students wanted to freely discuss on campus, including President Obama’s economic stimulus initiatives and affirmative action. We do,… Read more

  • John Stossel Discusses Bucknell’s ‘Affirmative Action Bake Sale’ (and His Own) with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly; Watch FIRE on ‘Stossel’ Tonight

    November 11, 2010

    John Stossel’s "affirmative action bake sale," which I highlighted here yesterday, is continuing to make waves in advance of FIRE’s appearance on his program this evening. If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Stossel’s visit with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, where he previews tonight’s Stossel program with FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and students… Read more

  • Finally, a Positive Free Speech Story from Bucknell

    October 11, 2010

    Bucknell University has been under a lot of heat from FIRE recently for refusing to amend the speech policies it used to shut down three of the Bucknell University Conservative Club’s events last year. Between August 31 and October 8, we wrote President John Bravman a letter urging him to amend Bucknell’s restrictive speech codes, designated… Read more

  • The ‘Bucknellian’ Publicizes FIRE’s Electronic Billboard

    October 8, 2010

    As Torch readers know, FIRE’s electronic billboard criticizing Bucknell University’s poor free speech record has been out on Route 15 in Pennsylvania since September 20. The ad was placed in reaction to three separate occasions on which the university shut down the expression of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC), as well as Bucknell’s policy… Read more

  • FIRE’S Billboard Ad about Bucknell University on Route 15

    September 23, 2010

    As we mentioned in Monday’s press release, FIRE purchased an electronic billboard ad criticizing Bucknell University’s poor free speech record. Here it is, out in the wild, with a map to help you see it for yourself.

  • FIRE on WILK Radio This Morning

    September 21, 2010

    This morning, FIRE’s Adam Kissel will be on WILK Newsradio, 103.1 FM in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area, to discuss FIRE’s new Bucknell billboard. If you’re not in the area, you can stream Adam’s interview live here. Adam will be on the air at 10:05 a.m., right after the news. Tune in!

  • FIRE Places Billboard Criticizing Bucknell University’s Free Speech Record

    September 20, 2010

    LEWISBURG, Pa., September 20, 2010—One of the main ways that universities maintain immoral and unconstitutional speech codes is to keep alumni and parents in the dark about rules that restrict student and faculty speech. That is why today the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has purchased a billboard advertisement to publicize Bucknell University’s… Read more

  • Red Alert at Bucknell University: Permission Needed to Promote a Cause

    September 3, 2010

    On Tuesday, FIRE announced our full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s college rankings issue, alerting prospective students and their parents to consider avoiding the six schools on our Red Alert list. We warn people about Bucknell University, Michigan State University, Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, and Tufts University because they are the “worst of the worst” nationwide when it comes to meeting their… Read more

  • Bucknell University Would Thwart AAUW ‘Wage Gap’ Bake Sales

    July 1, 2010

    AAUW (formerly known as the American Association of University Women) is a formidable nationwide entity with much to contribute to campus debate: For more than 128 years, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day-educational, social, economic, and political. Our commitment to our mission is reflected in all aspects… Read more

  • Bucknell’s General Counsel Abuses the Truth to an Exceptional Degree–Even for Him

    June 10, 2010

    Every year, FIRE places a full-color, full-page advertisement in the college rankings issue of U.S. News & World Report. The ad (here is 2009’s) names the colleges and universities on FIRE’s Red Alert list, our "worst of the worst" list of schools that have shown such severe and ongoing disregard for free speech that we… Read more

  • In Which Bucknell’s General Counsel Calls Me a Big Ole Liar

    June 4, 2010

    On January 18, 2010, I received a letter from Bucknell University General Counsel Wayne Bromfield that is undoubtedly the most personally insulting letter I have ever received in my time here at FIRE. We actually didn’t respond at the time because when someone sends you a letter like this, you can be sure that he or she… Read more

  • Incoming FIRE Intern Urges Reform of Bucknell University’s Speech Codes

    May 11, 2010

    Bucknell University student Kirby Thomas, an incoming FIRE intern this summer, has penned an excellent critique of Bucknell’s speech codes in the April 2010 edition of the student publication The Counterweight. In the article, Thomas warns of the dangers of these speech codes and the wrong messages they send to Bucknell students. In light of… Read more

  • Still Looking for a New Year’s Resolution, Red Alert Schools?

    January 14, 2010

    Here’s an easy New Year’s resolution that Brandeis University, Bucknell University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University can make: get off of FIRE’s Red Alert list of America’s worst violators of campus liberty! This week, FIRE sent the presidents of each of the six Red Alert schools a letter reminding… Read more

  • Bucknell Alumnus Prefers Rival Lehigh on Free Speech

    October 20, 2009

    Bucknell University alumnus Charles Mitchell has a strong piece in today’s Morning Call (Allentown, PA) regarding the administration’s wrongheaded censorship of political activity by the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). Because of Bucknell’s actions, the school is on FIRE’s Red Alert list, which warns students to think twice before applying for admission to Bucknell if… Read more

  • Rights in the News: Victory at Community College of Allegheny County Starts October off on High Note

    October 9, 2009

    As FIRE’s 10th Anniversary Celebration inches closer, FIRE is proud to unveil a newly revamped Campus Freedom Network site. We’re happy, too, to ring in October with a major victory for student rights at the Community College of Allegheny County. Torch readers, of course, were well aware of the travails of CCAC student Christine Brashier, whom CCAC attempted to intimidate into silence when she… Read more

  • Do Bucknell Administrators Believe in Free Speech or Not?

    September 28, 2009

    After mid-level administrators shut down or censored several of the activities of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC), FIRE placed Bucknell on our Red Alert list as one of the "worst of the worst" for protecting liberty on campus. After months of administrative recalcitrance, however, a letter published in the August 27 issue of The Counterweight (a… Read more

  • Rejected FIRE Ad at Bucknell Reported by Student Press Law Center

    September 23, 2009

    The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) has reported on The Bucknellian‘s rejection of FIRE’s advertisement critical of Bucknell University and some of its administrators. The student newspaper rejected the ad, citing a worry that it “crosses a line that could lead to legality issues for the Bucknellian” because it “might be construed as libel.” The ad named Associate… Read more

  • How Can Bucknell University Get Off FIRE’s Red Alert List?

    September 21, 2009

    Having posed this question regarding Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University—the other five schools on FIRE’s Red Alert List—we today turn to the newest member of the list, Bucknell University. Today’s press release—and its spot on the list—was earned by its continuous and unrepentant censorship of the activities… Read more

  • Red Alert: Bucknell University Hardens Policy Used to Shut Down Student Protests; Student Newspaper Rejects FIRE Ad

    September 21, 2009

    LEWISBURG, Pa., September 21, 2009—A culture of fear appears to be chilling expression at Bucknell University, where even the student newspaper fears a libel lawsuit from Associate Dean of Students Gerald W. Commerford if it were to print a critical advertisement from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). After Bucknell administrators misapplied and… Read more

  • Bucknell Revises ‘Solicitation’ Policy after Administrators Use It Repeatedly to Shut Down Student Speech

    September 18, 2009

    Bucknell University has quietly revised its "Sales and Solicitation" policy after administrators badly misinterpreted it last semester in order to shut down student speech at least twice. Last semester, members of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) stood at Bucknell’s student center and passed out fake dollar bills with President Obama’s face on the front… Read more

  • FIRE’s rejected Bucknell ad

    September 18, 2009


  • Bucknell’s Oppression of Free Speech in Today’s Issue of ‘Human Events’

    September 9, 2009

    When will Bucknell University realize that trying to suppress free speech is one of the best ways to help the speakers get their message out? Human Events is the latest publication to shine the light of shame on Bucknell’s frequent actions to shut down the expression of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). The article,… Read more

  • ‘U.S. News’ Readers: FIRE’s Red Alert List Exposes the Worst Violators of Campus Rights

    August 25, 2009

    Why does FIRE’s ad in U.S. News & World Report show a book padlocked shut? One of FIRE’s most shocking cases was that of Keith John Sampson, a student-employee at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) who was found guilty of racial harassment for merely reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting… Read more

  • FIRE’s Biggest Ad Campaign Ever Hits ‘U.S. News’

    August 25, 2009

    For the second year in a row, FIRE has run a full-page advertisement in U.S. News & World Report‘s America’s Best Colleges issue, released today, highlighting the colleges and universities that have earned FIRE’s Red Alert distinction for being the “worst of the worst” when it comes to liberty on campus. Brandeis University, Colorado College, Johns Hopkins University, Michigan State University, and Tufts University are listed in the print ad, while Bucknell University,… Read more

  • Bucknell University Joins Worst Offenders Against Liberty on FIRE’s Red Alert List

    August 25, 2009

    Thanks to its continuous distortions and abuses of its own policies on free expression to suppress political speech, Bucknell University has earned the dubious honor of being placed on FIRE’s Red Alert list. Institutions on the Red Alert list are unrepentant offenders against basic rights that are guaranteed either by the U.S. Constitution or the… Read more

  • FIRE Releases Video about Bucknell Case

    August 12, 2009

    Check out FIRE’s newest video, which comes straight from one of the students embroiled in the ongoing fight for free speech at Bucknell University. Watch as Bucknell University Conservatives Club President Travis Eaione recounts how the Bucknell administration censored his student group on three separate occasions as the group tried to peacefully protest affirmative action… Read more

  • Rights in the News: Victories at UCSB and Wright State as Pressure on Bucknell Intensifies

    June 26, 2009

    FIRE’s victories for religious liberty and academic freedom at Wright State University and the University of California-Santa Barbara (UCSB) were in the news this week, while Bucknell University’s continuing refusal to acknowledge its wrongful and discriminatory treatment of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club has only intensified the media spotlight it is trying to avoid. As… Read more

  • Bucknell University Lies Again

    June 25, 2009

    Maybe someone is feeding false information to Bucknell University General Counsel Wayne A. Bromfield, because his latest response to Bucknell’s free speech meltdown repeats the lies we already have heard from him and Bucknell. The truth is, Bucknell shut down a student group’s protests against President Obama’s stimulus plan and against affirmative action policies, using… Read more

  • Bucknell President Resigns Effective June 2010

    June 24, 2009

    Maybe it’s related, maybe not. But we know that just one day after the national media picked up Bucknell University’s pattern of mistreatment of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club, Bucknell President Brian Mitchell announced his resignation. Bucknell had shut down the group’s protests against President Obama’s stimulus plan and against affirmative action policies, using inapplicable… Read more

  • AP and ‘Wall Street Journal’ Pick Up on Bucknell’s Violation of Conservative Students’ Rights

    June 23, 2009

    The Associated Press has picked up Susan Snyder’s excellent Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on Bucknell University’s pattern of shutting down events run by the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). As FIRE’s press release points out, Bucknell not only shut down BUCC’s satirical affirmative action bake sale but also refused to let BUCC hold any such sale… Read more

  • ‘Philadelphia Inquirer’ on Bucknell Bake Sale Fiasco

    June 23, 2009

    The top story in the local section of today’s Philadelphia Inquirer print edition explores Bucknell University’s decision to bar a conservative student group from hosting an affirmative action bake sale on campus. FIRE first wrote to Bucknell on May 21 and issued a press release condemning the school’s actions on June 11 after having received… Read more

  • Bucknell Alumni on Bucknell

    June 17, 2009

    The word is getting out to Bucknell University alumni that their alma mater has taken a strong stand against free expression on campus—and so far, they don’t seem too pleased. Alumni group The Alliance for a Better Bucknell issued a statement calling on Bucknell President Brian Mitchell, "in the strongest possible terms, to immediately condemn… Read more

  • Bucknell to Student Conservatives, Liberty: Drop Dead

    June 11, 2009

    Wow, that was fast! Today’s press release about Bucknell’s lamentable ongoing crusade to squelch the expression of the students of the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) has shaken a formal response loose in record time—probably less than two hours. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the university did even two minutes’ worth of thinking about the… Read more

  • Bucknell University Slams Door on Bibles, Student Satires of Obama Stimulus Plan, Affirmative Action

    June 11, 2009

    It still amazes me that university administrators come up with such flimsy excuses—sometimes even making up rules out of nowhere, on the spot—for interfering with students’ freedom of speech on campus. I reported in April that Bucknell University had shut down a satirical "affirmative action bake sale" on a pretext. On further investigation, FIRE found… Read more

  • Bucknell University Slams Door on Student Satires of Obama Stimulus Plan, Affirmative Action

    June 11, 2009

    LEWISBURG, Pa., June 11, 2009—Student rights are under assault at Bucknell University, where a conservative student group’s protests against affirmative action policies and President Obama’s stimulus plan have repeatedly been shut down or forbidden by administrators using flimsy or patently false excuses. After the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC) had three events censored in two… Read more

  • Video: Bucknell Shuts Down Affirmative Action Bake Sale

    April 27, 2009

    Bucknell University claims to be committed to the "free and open exchange of ideas." Apparently this is false advertising—far from the truth. In violation of students’ rights, Bucknell University has shut down an affirmative action bake sale. And the students got it on video. We have added it to our list of favorites. On the… Read more

  • Your ‘Guide’ to Fighting Thought Reform on Campus

    November 11, 2005

    If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they… Read more

  • Hunting Witches and Terrorists

    September 29, 2005

    As we have pointed out before, American University President Benjamin Ladner is currently suspended and under investigation for possible misuse of AU funds. In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), Ladner responded to the controversy with a striking statement: In a lengthy interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Ladner said he… Read more

  • File Under ‘See No Evil’

    August 3, 2005

    Terry Caesar penned a column Monday on Inside Higher Ed lamenting the chilling effect speech codes have on professorial humor. Citing one of FIRE’s favorite examples, the former speech code at the University of Connecticut, he wrote: To relate an official response to some example of a joke, or even an unintended joke, on American… Read more