Yale University

Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Type: Private
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School Summary

• Read more about Yale University’s free speech and due process record.

• Read more about the Fight for Yale’s Future, a group of alumni, students, faculty, and staff concerned with free inquiry and academic excellence at Yale University. In 2021, Fight for Yale’s future became an official member of the Alumni Free Speech Alliance.

Speech Code Rating

Yale 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

Due Process Rating

Non-Sexual Misconduct

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Sexual Misconduct

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Title IX

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Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
  • Resources for Students to Address Discrimination and Harassment Concerns: Policies & Definitions

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2022

    Harassment means subjecting an individual to objectively offensive, unwelcome conduct based on any of the protected characteristics, when such conduct (i) is severe, persistent, or pervasive and (ii) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work, academic performance or partici... Read More
  • Sexual Misconduct Response & Prevention: Yale Sexual Misconduct Policies and Related Definitions

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2022

    Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus, when: (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing; or (2) submission ... Read More
  • Policy 1607: Information Technology Appropriate Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2022

    Harassing or threatening use. This category includes, for example, display of offensive, sexual material in the workplace and repeated unwelcome contacts with another. Read More
  • Undergraduate Regulations: Offenses- Sexual Misconduct, Including Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2022

    Sexual misconduct includes nonphysical actions such as digital media stalking, cyberbullying, and nonconsensual recording of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Read More
  • Undergraduate Regulations: Introduction

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: August 8, 2022

    The Executive Committee’s jurisdiction includes offenses described in the Undergraduate Regulations as well as other actions on the part of students that may in the judgment of the committee warrant disciplinary action because they may imperil the integrity and values of the Yale community or the well-being of its m... Read More
  • Sexual Misconduct Response & Prevention: Yale Sexual Misconduct Policies and Related Definitions- Title IX Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 8, 2022

    Sexual harassment occurs when … An individual is subjected to unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies the individual equal access to Yale’s education program or activity; Read More
  • Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale (Woodward Report)

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: August 8, 2022

    The primary function of a university is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. To fulfill this function a free interchange of ideas is necessary not only within its walls but with the world beyond as well. It follows that the university must do everything possible to ensure within i... Read More

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.


Non-Sexual Misconduct

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Sexual Misconduct

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Title IX

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

FIRE surveyed roughly 37,000 students at 154 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. In 2021, FIRE released rankings of those schools, based on a number of factors, including openness, tolerance, self-expression, administrative support for free speech, and campus policies, scoring overall speech climate on a scale from 0-100. See the full report on FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.



Overall Ranking 33/154
Ideological Diversity 125/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 61.42
Openness 10.01
Tolerance (Liberals) 12.24
Tolerance (Conservatives) 8.88
Administrative Support 5.57
Comfort 15.02
Disruptive Conduct 9.71
Speech Code YELLOW
  • Neither lux nor veritas: Yale pairs speech-protective policies with a culture of intolerance

    July 28, 2022

    “I hope you, personally, will one day apply the values of intellectual diversity.”  “I’d rather eat shards of glass.”  “Go fuck yourself!” These were the types of messages that filled my inbox after I emailed half of the Yale student body about a William F. Buckley, Jr. Program event featuring Sen. Ted Cruz. My friend… Read more

  • Yale encourages anonymous reports to enforce COVID-19 restrictions, creates ‘surveillance state’

    April 6, 2022

    Yale University describes itself as a “community where people of diverse cultures and nationalities live, work, and play — connected by their similarities and enriched by their differences.” But what happens when members of that community live in fear of each other, as they are encouraged to monitor and anonymously report on their classmates? When… Read more

  • Yale alumni: Help protect free speech at your alma mater

    March 29, 2022

    As campuses grow more hostile to free expression, it may be up to alumni to tip the scales in favor of individual rights.  On March 10, an event on civil liberties at Yale Law School was disrupted as more than 100 law students attempted to shout down invited speakers. Yale failed to uphold its own… Read more

  • New audio shows severe disruption of Yale Federalist Society panel — which the university did little to prevent

    March 29, 2022

    Much ink has been spilled over the Mar. 10 Yale Law School Federalist Society event on civil liberties that — depending on which article you read — either went off mostly unhindered, or suffered severe disruptions. FIRE’s investigation, based on new audio recordings of the complete event, confirms that protesters substantially disrupted the discussion and… Read more

  • 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2022

    February 2, 2022

    There’s no shortage of colleges and universities that will go to great lengths to stifle free speech. Some institutions are worse than others, which is why each year for over a decade, FIRE compiles a list of the worst-of-the-worst. Since our first list in 2011, FIRE has named and shamed 80 institutions in 33 statesfor… Read more

  • Since they love pre-written apology notes, Yale administrators should sign ours

    October 15, 2021

    We don’t normally endorse the idea of pre-written apology notes. But we’re making an exception for Yale University. On Wednesday, the Washington Free Beacon broke the story that Yale pressured a student to apologize for using the phrase “trap house” in a Constitution Day party invitation. After one of their Very ImportantTM meetings with the… Read more

  • How Yale Law School pressured a law student to apologize for a Constitution Day ‘trap house’ invitation

    October 14, 2021

    Free speech is in jeopardy yet again at Yale University, where law school administrators met with a student multiple times to pressure him to apologize for language he used in an email that offended some of his classmates. The incident illustrates how university officials can seek to intimidate students into silence and conformity through obscure… Read more

  • Court filing: Yale’s lawyers make surprising claims about the school’s academic freedom promises

    October 7, 2021

    What good are a university’s speech-protective policies when the people in charge won’t enforce them?  That’s just one of the questions being asked after two incidents at Yale University involving high-profile donors and an alumni who sought to exert their influence over matters that are typically left to faculty and administrators. Last week, history professor… Read more

  • So to Speak podcast: First Amendment history with Yale Professor Akhil Amar

    September 30, 2021

    September 25 was First Amendment Day in America — the anniversary of the date in 1789 when Congress approved 12 amendments to our Constitution, including what we today call the Bill of Rights.  On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we discuss the origin story and history of America’s First Amendment… Read more

  • Academic freedom, freedom of expression under the spotlight in international higher education

    September 1, 2021

    As FIRE frequently documents, academic freedom and free expression can be a source of contention in international higher education, from accusations of censorship at satellite campuses to pressure placed on traveling students and scholars.  In recent weeks, developments in some major international higher education hubs highlight the ways the global education industry still faces uncertainty… Read more

  • FIRE urges 15 top colleges and universities to improve restrictive press policies

    November 12, 2020

    Over the summer, a report from the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement revealed that a majority of top colleges and universities maintain policies unfriendly to the press, including the student press. As FIRE reported at the time, UC Center fellow John K. Wilson found that these policies include requirements… Read more

  • More universities are responding to the challenges of online education and China, but the results are a mixed bag

    September 4, 2020

    At Princeton University, Harvard Business School, Amherst College, and the University of Pennsylvania, some faculty have revised teaching plans in an effort to protect students, especially those from China or Hong Kong, in light of Hong Kong’s National Security Law. The law offers severe penalties for violations of its vague bans on “separatism and subversion,”… Read more

  • After controversy over dissent program’s cancellation at Singapore campus, Yale faculty call for academic freedom protections

    January 27, 2020

    Yale University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate passed a resolution last month encouraging President Peter Salovey to develop procedures to respond to alleged academic freedom violations at its overseas institution in Singapore, according to a report from the Yale Daily News. This would be a welcome development as American universities continue to struggle to… Read more

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley presses universities about commitment to academic freedom

    October 2, 2019

    Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, sent letters last week to Harvard University, Duke University, Villanova University, and Sarah Lawrence College asking the institutions to respond to the Committee about troubling incidents on their respective campuses that might endanger academic freedom.  Grassley detailed his concerns in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last… Read more

  • Q&A: Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz on running for Yale’s Board of Trustees, and his ‘scary’ but ‘essential’ advice for students and faculty

    September 18, 2019

    If you’re interested in freedom of speech or academic freedom on America’s college campuses, then you should know about constitutional scholar Nicholas Rosenkranz’s latest passion project. Rosenkranz, a Georgetown Law professor and nationally-recognized expert on constitutional law and federal courts, has plenty going on already: He’s a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a cofounder… Read more

  • Yale-NUS College cancels program on dissent, prompting internal investigation

    September 17, 2019

    Yale-NUS College, a liberal arts institution in Singapore formed by a collaboration between Yale University and the National University of Singapore, is under scrutiny this week after cancelling an educational program originally titled Dissent And Resistance In Singapore. The Straits Times reports that the program’s “proposed activities included film screenings and dialogues,” and a focus… Read more

  • Lawsuit asks court to violate student groups’ freedom of association

    February 15, 2019

    A recent lawsuit filed by a class of female Yale University students against the school and several fraternities seeks the end of fraternal organizations at Yale. If granted, the relief sought would be a blow to the associational freedoms of student organizations at the university. The allegations paint a disturbing picture of a fraternity environment… Read more

  • What ever happened to the Woodward Report?

    August 10, 2018

    I’ve always liked a good idiom. I find these phrases refreshingly charming — through their colloquial usage, they manage to succinctly describe an elusive feeling. In troublesome times like these, I turn to a certain idiom in particular to best describe Yale’s current climate of free speech: Yale is running in place. Yale has made… Read more

  • Yale’s Culture of Disallowing Discourse

    July 13, 2018

    It’s hard to forget your first college move-in day. Emotions are running high as you lug your overstuffed suitcases into your new dorm room. I was about to begin the next chapter of my life at Yale, and I was as ecstatic as I was overwhelmed. I kissed my family goodbye and nervously went to… Read more

  • Q&A with Jamie Kirchick, journalist and candidate for Yale’s Board of Trustees

    June 25, 2018

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this month, Jamie Kirchick, a journalist and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, announced he is running a petition campaign for Yale University’s Board of Trustees, largely on a free speech platform. FIRE does not endorse candidates for any office — on or off campus — but given Kirchick’s campaign focus on… Read more

  • The scariest part of Halloween: Picking a costume

    October 31, 2017

    Hey, students, it’s that time of year again: Halloween! Time to put on your — no, wait, don’t wear that. Or how about your — oh, hmm, on second thought, better not wear that either. In fact, I think the only safe things to dress up as this year are 1) yourself; 2) a character… Read more

  • Due process legal update: Part I

    March 16, 2017

    Since my last due process legal update in December, more than a dozen new lawsuits have been filed against universities by students who allege they were discriminated against and denied due process in campus sexual misconduct proceedings, and even more complaints are in the works. There have also been a number of new rulings in… Read more

  • Universities Give Students Frightening Halloween Assignment: Pick a Costume

    October 31, 2016

    Is your “exhausted undergrad” costume ready for tonight’s festivities? That might be one of the frighteningly few outfit choices remaining if you attend a university expecting you to avoid “cultural appropriation” this year. And beware: The rules are petrifyingly hard to follow. While institutions are well within their rights to suggest costume considerations to their… Read more

  • One Year Later, Erika Christakis Breaks Her Silence on Yale Halloween Controversy

    October 28, 2016

    “The right to speak freely may be enshrined in some of our nation’s great universities, but the culture of listening needs repair.” So begins Erika Christakis’ op-ed in The Washington Post today, in which—for the first time since she sent an email to Yale University students last fall asking them “to think critically about an… Read more

  • More Campus Leaders Address Free Speech; Some Do It Better Than Others

    October 27, 2016

    We’ve been keeping our eye on the recent uptick in campus leaders addressing free speech. In our latest roundup of public commitments to freedom of speech by college and university administrators, we’re focusing only on “The Good”—bringing you a few of our recent favorites. We’ve even included one statement that almost made our “Bad” list…. Read more

  • New Video of Last Year’s Yale Halloween Costume Confrontation Emerges

    September 13, 2016

    Last year, FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff was at Yale University for a speaking engagement when he captured and posted a short series of videos (about seven minutes) of the now well-known confrontation between Yale students and Professor Nicholas Christakis. The confrontation was over an email that former Yale instructor Erika Christakis (Professor Christakis’… Read more

  • Nicholas Christakis in ‘The New York Times’: ‘Teaching Inclusion in a Divided World’

    June 23, 2016

    In today’s New York Times, Yale University professor Nicholas Christakis adds a post-mortem to last fall’s controversy that put him and his wife Erika Christakis—then also a faculty member at Yale—at the center of a national conversation over the role that free speech plays at colleges and universities. My answer to question re free speech… Read more

  • Due Process Legal Update: Complaints Keep Rolling In

    June 17, 2016

    Yesterday, in a lawsuit sponsored by FIRE, a former University of Virginia School of Law student challenged the Department of Education’s unlawful “preponderance of the evidence” mandate. While that suit has made big news for its direct challenge to the federal government, it is far from the only lawsuit that has been filed recently in… Read more

  • Yale Faculty Resign From Residential College Roles; Concerns about Free Speech Remain

    May 26, 2016

    Late yesterday, master of Yale University’s Silliman College Nicholas Christakis and his wife, associate master Erika Christakis, resigned from their Silliman College duties to pursue academic work full time. In a statement posted to Twitter, Nicholas wrote: My wife, Erika, and I have devoted our professional lives to advocating for the well being of all… Read more

  • FIRE’s Samantha Harris Talks Due Process at Yale on ESPN’s ‘Outside The Lines’

    March 17, 2016

    FIRE’s Director of Policy Research, Samantha Harris, appeared on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” (OTL) yesterday afternoon to discuss the due process controversy surrounding Yale University’s expulsion of Jack Montague, the captain of its men’s basketball team. In a statement from Montague’s attorney on Monday, Montague vowed to sue Yale for wrongful expulsion, calling the evidence… Read more

  • Watch Live Tonight! Intelligence Squared Debate at Yale: ‘Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus’

    March 1, 2016

    Tonight, Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US) will bring some of the of the country’s most interesting thinkers on issues of higher education, law, and culture together at Yale University as they debate whether “Free Speech Is Threatened on Campus”—and you can watch it live! Lawyer and writer Wendy Kaminer—who is also a longtime friend of FIRE—will argue… Read more

  • Yale Profs in ‘NYT’ Op-Ed: ‘Why College Is Not Home’

    February 5, 2016

    In a thoughtful piece in today’s New York Times, Yale University physics professor A. Douglas Stone and Dr. Mary Schwab-Stone, a psychiatrist and former Yale psychology faculty member, revisit the Erika Christakis debacle from last fall at Yale. They argue that overprotective universities stunt student growth by removing development-critical challenges on the path to adulthood:… Read more

  • Scientist: Demotion of Free Speech at Yale Imperils Intellectual Advances

    December 23, 2015

    Scientist Steven Benner was one of the student signatories to Yale University’s 1975 Woodward Report, which articulated the university’s commitment to free expression. Amid recent controversies over free speech on the Ivy League campus, that report is being revisited. Earlier this month, Benner addressed what the Woodward Report means for today’s Yale students in a… Read more

  • UPDATED: Erika Christakis to Quit Teaching After Email Controversy; Husband to Take Sabbatical

    December 8, 2015

    Erika Christakis will no longer teach at Yale University. Christakis told The Washington Post late last week that she is resigning “to return to her work with young children and families.” Christakis had faced calls to resign her post as associate master of one of Yale’s dormitories, after she questioned the reasoning behind Yale’s request… Read more

  • Yale Faculty Defend Freedom of Speech, Express Support for Christakises in Open Letter

    November 30, 2015

    Forty-nine current or emeritus faculty members at Yale University have signed an open letter of support for Erika and Nicholas Christakis’ right to “free speech and freedom of intellectual expression.” The Christakises—who serve as masters at Silliman College, one of Yale’s residential colleges—have been at the center of a free speech controversy ever since Erika… Read more

  • Yale Expresses Support for Faculty at Center of Halloween Email Controversy

    November 18, 2015

    NEW HAVEN, Conn., November 18, 2015—In an email sent to students yesterday, the president of Yale University and the dean of Yale College affirmed their support for two faculty members at the center of a free speech controversy over Halloween costumes. On October 30, Erika Christakis, associate master of Yale’s Silliman College, responded to an… Read more

  • The Censors Must Not Win: Campus Thought Police Have Run Amok — but All Is Not Lost

    November 15, 2015

    The year 2015 has seen the third rails of race and sex powered up on campus — and the live wire of “sensitivity” is electrocuting intellectual freedom. Worse, in contrast with the past, when censorship typically came from above, today’s censorship drives are increasingly led not by administrators, but by students. Yale and the University… Read more

  • Progress at Yale, But a Conspicuous Omission

    November 13, 2015

    After a tumultuous week at Yale University, we are starting to see some progress—and hopefully a way forward. On Tuesday, Yale’s president and the dean of Yale College issued a welcome reaffirmation of the necessity of freedom of expression at the institution. Now, the institution must make clear that Yale supports Erika and Nicholas Christakis… Read more

  • On the front lines of the fight for free speech at Yale

    November 11, 2015

    Coincidences can be spooky. Last week, I showed up at Yale University in the middle of a campus crisis—and got drawn into it myself. I was visiting to give a long-planned lecture on campus free speech. When I showed up, students were in an uproar over an email sent by one of the heads of… Read more

  • FIRE’s Lukianoff on Being ‘On the Front Lines of the Fight for Free Speech at Yale’

    November 11, 2015

    The Washington Post ran an op-ed today from FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff detailing the events he witnessed during his recent visit to Yale University. By wild coincidence, Greg was at Yale last week for a conference on free speech. Little did he know he would soon find himself embroiled in the controversy himself… Read more

  • ‘The Atlantic’ on the Yale Halloween Email and Free Speech Controversy

    November 9, 2015

    Conor Friedersdorf covers “The New Intolerance of Student Activism” in his front-page article for The Atlantic’s website today, discussing the ongoing controversy at Yale over an email by Silliman College Associate Master Erika Christakis in which she questioned the wisdom of “an institutional (which is to say: bureaucratic and administrative) exercise of implied control” over… Read more

  • Yale Students Demand Resignations from Faculty Members Over Halloween Email

    November 6, 2015

    Tensions at Yale University hit a boiling point yesterday after an email about Halloween costumes created a week-long controversy on campus. Students called for the resignation of Associate Master of Silliman College Erika Christakis after she responded to an email from the school’s Intercultural Affairs Council asking students to be thoughtful about the cultural implications… Read more

  • New Survey Exposes Threats to Free Speech on Campus

    October 28, 2015

    On Monday, Yale University’s William F. Buckley, Jr. Program released a national survey measuring U.S. college students’ attitudes towards free speech on campus. The results were troubling. The 2015 Buckley Free Speech Survey, which was conducted by pollster McLaughlin & Associates, sheds light on how students view topics including the First Amendment, intellectual diversity, academic… Read more

  • In Mishandling Sexual Assault Allegations Against Patrick Witt, Yale Failed Everyone

    November 7, 2014

    Former Yale University quarterback Patrick Witt took to The Boston Globe earlier this week to tell his story of how Yale’s secretive “informal complaint process” changed the course of his life after someone filed an accusation against him “that, if substantiated, would constitute a violation of university policy concerning sexual misconduct.” According to Witt, Yale… Read more

  • Constitution Day 2014: What a Difference a Year Makes

    September 18, 2014

    September 17, 2013—last year’s Constitution Day—turned out to be a dark moment in the history of free speech on America’s campuses. That was the day Robert Van Tuinen was stopped from handing out Constitutions on the campus of Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California. He had neglected to sign up to use the school’s tiny… Read more

  • Yale President Welcomes Freshmen with Free Speech Advocacy

    August 25, 2014

    Yale University President Peter Salovey shared an important message with the Class of 2018 as he welcomed students to the university on Saturday. Salovey’s speech at Yale’s Freshman Assembly focused on the fundamental need for free expression, particularly at colleges and universities.

  • Boston’s WGBH Announces Muzzle Award ‘Winners’

    July 9, 2014

    Boston’s WGBH News has just announced the “winners” of its 2014 Muzzle Awards, given to those who have particularly impeded freedom of speech over the past year. Formerly published in the Boston Phoenix, WGBH has adopted the awards and is continuing the tradition of “singl[ing] out the dramatic and the petty, the epic and the absurd.”

  • Boring Campuses: Not Just the Fault of Helicopter Parents

    April 16, 2014

    In a new article, Slate’s Rebecca Schuman laments the phenomenon of colleges and universities becoming toned-down, less playful, even boring. Schuman argues that this is in part due to parents over-planning their kids’ lives, leaving them incapable of finding creative ways to have fun when they’re older and on their own: A recent trip back… Read more

  • Yale Releases Semiannual Report on Sexual Misconduct, With Perplexing Details

    February 6, 2014

    Yale University’s latest Report of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct relays details about 70 complaints of sexual misconduct filed in the latter half of 2013, as well as statistical summaries of the complaints and Yale’s definitions of relevant terms. Brooklyn College Professor KC Johnson took a critical look at the report and wrote for Minding the Campus yesterday to note some particularly vague complaints that illustrate just how little it takes to remove someone from campus.

  • Yale Unlearns Free Expression

    January 17, 2014

    The Yale Daily News reports that Yale University is blocking a popular course evaluation site called CourseTable (originally called Bluebook+) put together by undergraduate brothers Peter Xu and Harry Yu. This is the second time Yale has tried to stifle a student website rating Yale’s courses and professors. The first time it simply bought the site, Yale Bluebook…. Read more

  • Please Explain Why Putting University Administrators in Charge of Judging Speech Is a Good Idea

    July 9, 2013

    My colleagues have done a thorough job of explaining why defenders of the Department of Education’s “blueprint” for preventing campus sexual harassment are on very shaky legal and logical ground. They have pointed out that some of ED’s allies have misquoted the findings letter and mocked Senator John McCain’s serious questions about the threat to… Read more

  • AAUP Issues Open Letter to Yale, Criticizes Singapore Campus

    December 6, 2012

    This week, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) issued an open letter to Yale University "to express the AAUP’s growing concern about the character and impact of the university’s collaboration with the Singaporean government in establishing Yale-National University of Singapore College." FIRE has written about this issue in recent months, and we support the… Read more

  • Not at Liberty to Discuss

    September 14, 2012

    Last week, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) published its second annual list of the “Seven Best Colleges for Freedom of Speech” on The Huffington Post. As FIRE’s president and a HuffPo contributor for the past five years, I knew what was coming next — and sure enough, the predictable culture war arguments were quickly trotted out by… Read more

  • Yale Travels to Singapore, Leaves Toothbrush, U.S. Values at Home

    July 26, 2012

    Human Rights Watch (HRW) has issued a press release excoriating Yale University for its "acceptance of Singaporean government restrictions on basic rights at the new Yale–National University of Singapore (NUS) joint campus [that] shows a disturbing disregard for free speech, association, and assembly." Foreign Policy has picked up the ongoing controversy, as has Alex Klein… Read more

  • Yale’s Reversal On Academic Freedom Garners More Criticism

    July 26, 2012

    Yale University continues to take a beating in the media for its decision not to protect students’ and professors’ rights on its Singapore campus. In addition to FIRE’s own coverage of Yale’s statement guaranteeing academic freedom and then its immediate and unprincipled retreat from that position, other outlets are also pouncing on Yale’s betrayal of… Read more

  • Catch-22 on Yale’s Singapore Campus: Students “Free to Express Views,” So Long as They Don’t

    July 17, 2012

    Last week, I discussed the commitment to free expression that American universities should maintain when they open overseas campuses. I noted that Yale University was, on the one hand, promoting its new Singapore campus (Yale–NUS) as a place where students would be able to "express themselves freely." On the other hand, I noted that the… 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

  • At Yale, Political Expediency Trumps Basic Rights

    February 3, 2012

    Last week, The New York Times ran an article on Patrick Witt, the star quarterback at Yale University whose candidacy for a Rhodes scholarship was suspended after the Rhodes selection committee learned of an "informal" complaint of sexual assault lodged against him within Yale’s judicial system.  Several days later, Yale released its first-ever "Report of… Read more

  • Greg in ‘The Huffington Post’: Are Fraternities Disastrous for Free Speech on Campus?

    July 27, 2011

    In his newest article for The Huffington Post, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff examines how fraternities are often the most targeted and the least sympathetic victims of censorship on campus—and the repercussions this dynamic has for the free speech rights of all students. Highlighting the recent Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) case at Yale University, Greg urges… Read more

  • Speech Codes at Private Colleges Debated at ‘PolicyMic’

    June 28, 2011

    Over at PolicyMic, where I am a contributing writer, Jordan Wolf and Jason Orr are debating the propriety of speech codes on private college campuses. Naturally, I follow this debate with great interest. Wolf in particular makes a number of points in favor of speech codes that are worth discussing, and worth more space than… Read more

  • Yale, Free Speech, and the First Amendment

    June 3, 2011

    In a May 27 review of reactions to the punishment of Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity and some of its individual members, the Yale Daily News (YDN) cited a Minding the Campus piece that I co-authored with FIRE Chairman Harvey Silverglate. This is a controversy that FIRE has written about extensively, yet the paper mistakenly reported… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: Yale University

    June 1, 2011

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for June 2011: Yale University. Ordinarily, FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month is a written policy that restricts student speech rights in a way that violates either students’ First Amendment rights (at a public university) or contradicts written promises of free speech that a university makes to… Read more

  • Yale, the Department of Education, and the looming free speech crisis

    May 24, 2011

    Yale University’s recent decision to punish a fraternity that made pledges chant offensive slogans was heralded by some as a blow against sexual harassment. But it may be the beginning of a new wave of campus censorship of politically incorrect speech. The reason lies in the relationship between the Department of Education’s Office for Civil… Read more

  • Harvey and Kyle on ‘Minding the Campus’ on What Yale Should Have Said to OCR

    May 24, 2011

    FIRE Co-founder and Board of Directors Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Program Associate Kyle Smeallie have written an excellent, though-provoking piece on Minding the Campus about what Yale University President Richard Levin should have said to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) regarding the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. Under investigation by OCR… Read more

  • Yale Student: OCR is Pressuring Schools to Abandon Commitment to Freedom of Speech

    May 20, 2011

    About a month ago, Yale sophomore Nathaniel Zelinsky wrote an opinion piece arguing against censorship and encouraging more speech as a remedy to bad speech. Yesterday, he touched on the subject again, tackling Yale’s recently announced disciplinary action against the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity. Zelinsky argues, as do we, that pressure from the Deparment of Education’s Office for Civil… Read more

  • What Passes for ‘Justice’ in Yale Fraternity Case

    May 18, 2011

    It’s all over the news — Yale University has suspended the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity for five years for speech uttered by its pledges on the evening of October 13, 2010, in front of the Yale Women’s Center. As the Yale Daily News reported at the time, At their pledge initiation on Old Campus, DKE members shouted phrases such as "No… Read more

  • Yale Student Applauds His Critics, Laments Lack of Commitment to Free Speech

    April 25, 2011

    Yale sophomore Nate Zelinsky spent last week being anonymously attacked on the Internet and called a racist and classist—backlash from an opinion piece he authored on Sunday in the Yale Daily News. But Zelinsky isn’t complaining; in fact, he’s encouraging it. On Friday, he penned yet another piece, this time defending his anonymous critics. In… Read more

  • Kaminer on the “Loneliness of the Civil Libertarian Feminist

    April 6, 2011

    In her most recent column for The Atlantic, author, lawyer, and FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer makes her case that "Civil libertarian feminists have always been a political minority, but these days we seem on the verge of extinction," using the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigation of Yale University for… Read more

  • This Week in the News: Wesleyan Housing Policy Revision Receives Necessary Criticism

    February 25, 2011

    A recently implemented revision in a housing policy at Wesleyan College forbids students from “using houses or property owned, leased or operated by private societies that are not recognized by the University.” This revision is especially troublesome for members of Beta Theta Pi, which must now choose between becoming a recognized program house or having… Read more

  • ‘Commentary’ Cites Greg on Free Speech at Yale

    February 21, 2011

    Commentary‘s Michael Rubin cited Greg’s recent Huffington Post column on the 12 worst schools for free speech in America in his article today about the climate for free speech at Yale University, a member in bad standing of Greg’s list. Rubin points out that no less than three of the members of the Yale Corporation… Read more

  • Study Shows that Ideology Affects Perception of Whether Speech Is Threatening

    February 8, 2011

    A study performed by Yale University’s Cultural Cognition Project found that individuals’ perceptions about whether a particular protest is illegally disruptive are strongly affected by their cultural worldviews and ideologies. In the study, subjects were divided into two groups and asked to watch a video of a protest to determine whether the protesters were "intimidating,… Read more

  • Mohammed Cartoon Controversy Cemented Yale’s Place on Our List of ’12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’

    February 2, 2011

    As we continue to look at how the “12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” made our list on The Huffington Post, today we come to Yale University. Yale University is no stranger to entanglements with free speech, or to FIRE. Despite its reputation for academic excellence and stellar promises of freedom of expression and academic freedom,… 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

  • Harvard-Yale 2010 T-shirt Wars Begin; No Free Speech Casualties … Yet

    November 9, 2010

    The 2010 Harvard-Yale T-shirt wars are officially under way, in anticipation of the schools’ annual football game on November 20. The Yale Daily News reports that Yale College’s Freshman Class Council (FCC) has released its official design for The Game 2010, a riff on the recent movie The Social Network: The blank space at the… Read more

  • New England Ivies Earn ‘Muzzle Awards’ from FIRE Chairman

    July 2, 2010

    With Independence Day on the horizon, the Boston Phoenix turns its annual spotlight upon those who have ignored our nation’s founding freedoms. The “Muzzle Awards” are the undesired accolades reserved for the self-appointed censors of New England—politicians, police officers, judges, and public transportation officials, to name a few. This year, in the 13th installment of… Read more

  • Is Nothing Sacred? Comedy Central Joins Many Universities in Caving to Threats of Violence for Depictions of Mohammed

    April 23, 2010

    Comedy Central’s cartoon hit South Park is famous for its shocking and offensive humor, targeted at subjects ranging from Queen Elizabeth to Scientology. The show’s renowned satire takes an unapologetic attitude towards goring sacred cows, and fans have come to regard South Park‘s principled stance on free speech as sacred in and of itself. This… Read more

  • This Month in FIRE History: FIRE Releases Statement on Mohammed Cartoons

    March 1, 2010

    Four years ago last month, the global controversy over cartoons depicting Mohammed hit American college campuses. In response, FIRE issued a statement reminding colleges and universities that free speech needs protection even when it is difficult. FIRE’s statement emphasized that the First Amendment protects the printing and posting of the infamous cartoons. In the months… Read more

  • Learning From Flap Over ‘Sissies’ T-shirt a Priority for Yale College Dean

    February 16, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News features an article on Yale College Dean Mary Miller, who outlines for the newspaper the goals for her tenure in an interview. Miller, Torch readers will remember, was front-and-center in a controversy sparked last fall when she intervened in the affairs of Yale College’s Freshman Class Council (FCC) by nixing the… Read more

  • NBC on Yale ‘Sissies’ Censorship Controversy

    January 19, 2010

    A Connecticut affiliate of NBC has covered FIRE’s case at Yale University, in which President Richard C. Levin recently expressed "regret" for the role of a dean in the withdrawal of a T-shirt design that quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald in calling Harvard students "sissies." We explained the case earlier today.The article quotes from FIRE’s letter to President… Read more

  • ‘Yale Daily News’ Stays on Yale Censorship Case

    January 19, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News provides some fresh reporting on last November’s censorship of the Yale University Freshman Class Council’s T-shirt design, which featured an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote calling Harvard students "sissies." As we noted last week, in response to a letter from FIRE, Yale University President Richard C. Levin investigated what happened, discussed the… Read more

  • Yale President Defends Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons, But Acknowledges Free Speech Commitment in T-shirt Controversy

    January 15, 2010

    In a letter to FIRE, Yale University President Richard C. Levin maintained Yale’s position defending the censorship of images of Mohammed in a book about those images, citing a "risk to life and safety." However, President Levin also reaffirmed Yale’s commitment to the strong protection of free speech in its classic Woodward Report, stating that… Read more

  • Letter from Yale University President Richard C. Levin to FIRE, January 14, 2010

    January 14, 2010

    Letter From Yale University President Richard C. Levin to FIRE, January 14, 2010 by FIRE

  • A Possible Precedent for Yale University in the Case of the Censored ‘Sissies’ T-shirts

    January 13, 2010

    Yale University seems to be facing more than its share of troubles lately. In this context, it is something of a shame that resources need to be spent on dealing with a Yale College dean’s decision to censor the democratically chosen T-shirt design of its Freshman Class Council (FCC). Last November, just before the Harvard-Yale… Read more

  • Will Aziz Ansari Be Allowed to Say ‘Sissies’ at Yale?

    January 12, 2010

    Comedian Aziz Ansari (Funny People; Parks and Recreation) has accepted an invitation from Yale University’s Yale College Council to perform at Yale on January 30, 2010. This normally wouldn’t be FIRE news, but now that Yale College Dean Mary Miller has declared editorial control over the student government (the Freshman Class Council in particular), this… Read more

  • Yale Dean Defends Censorship of ‘Sissies’ T-Shirt, Claims Control over Freshman Student Government

    January 11, 2010

    Today’s Yale Daily News reports that Yale College Dean Mary Miller has defended her choice to censor a T-shirt design quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald that had been democratically chosen and was going to be printed by Yale’s Freshman Class Council (FCC). According to a statement given by Dean Miller to the Yale Daily News, which… Read more

  • Rights in the News: Yale and Minnesota Still in Headlines as FIRE Eyes 2010 Campaign

    January 8, 2010

    Even during the supposedly slow Christmas-to-New-Year’s stretch, FIRE’s cases continued to captivate the media, none more so than the recent brouhaha at Yale over a censored F. Scott Fitzgerald-quoting t-shirt calling Harvard men "sissies." Following Greg’s earlier writings in The Huffington Post, Robert wrote on the case for Pajamas Media. (Knowing such PC nonsense when… Read more

  • ‘Boston Globe’ Covers FIRE’s ‘Sissies’ T-Shirt Case at Yale

    December 28, 2009

    Boston Globe journalist Tracy Jan drew attention yesterday to FIRE’s latest case at Yale University. No, not the one where images of Mohammed were censored from a book about those very images. This time, it’s the one where an administrator declared the word "sissies" unacceptable on an anti-Harvard T-shirt prior to the annual Harvard-Yale football… Read more

  • In Interview With ‘Index on Censorship,’ Jytte Klausen Discusses Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    December 22, 2009

    Jytte Klausen, author of the recently published book The Cartoons That Shook the World and the subject of much controversy since the Yale University Press unilaterally decided to excise inclusion of the controversial cartoons of Mohammed central to the book’s premise, discusses the incident in the current magazine published by Index on Censorship, a British organization… Read more

  • Greg in Huffington Post on Yale’s Controversial Anti-Harvard T-shirt Quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald

    December 21, 2009

    Today in The Huffington Post, Greg highlights our recent letter to Yale regarding administrators’ readiness to censor a T-shirt that quoted F. Scott Fitzgerald in calling Harvard men "sissies." FIRE’s letter, written by Adam Kissel and sent on Friday, reminded Yale both of the university’s historical commitments to free speech and its recent missteps. As Greg says… Read more

  • Beat Harvard – Just Don’t Call Them Sissies

    November 24, 2009

    When I was an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, our various class councils endlessly outdid themselves in the art of emasculating the Princeton tiger, mascot of our archrival. Our depictions of the tiger, emblazoned on T-shirts, ran the gamut from gentle mockery to representations of acts that would be illegal in most if not… Read more

  • Greg in ‘The Huffington Post’ on Yale and the Muhammad Cartoons

    November 10, 2009

    Greg posted a blog entry on The Huffington Post yesterday highlighting a statement that has been included in Duke Professor Gary Hull’s new book, Muhammad: The “Banned Images”. The statement, backed by a broad coalition, criticizes Yale University’s decision to censor the Muhammad cartoons. It concludes: The failure to stand up for free expression emboldens… Read more

  • Duke Professor Finishes Yale’s Job, Prints Mohammed Images in New Book; FIRE Co-signs Statement of Principle

    November 9, 2009

    Duke University Professor Gary Hull has just published Muhammad: The “Banned” Images, which dares to publish images that Yale University and Yale University Press censored from Jytte Klausen’s The Cartoons that Shook the World earlier this year. Hull calls the book “a statement of defiance against censors, terror-mongers, and their Western appeasers.” FIRE joined with the National Coalition Against… Read more

  • Duke beats Yale: Censored images of Muhammad finally printed in new book

    November 9, 2009

    Today my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), is proud to join a broad coalition criticizing Yale University’s decision to censor the Muhammad cartoons from a book about the cartoons. The statement is included in Duke University Professor Gary Hull’s new book Muhammad: The “Banned Images”–which prints the censored images and many… Read more

  • Yale Law Professor Misses the Point on Censorship of Political Cartoons

    October 16, 2009

    In an op-ed in the Yale Daily News, Yale University Law Professor Anthony Kronman attempts to defend Yale’s decision to censor the Mohammed cartoons. Kronman makes a number of points in an effort to show that the decision to remove the cartoons from author and Brandeis University Professor Jytte Klausen’s book, The Cartoons That Shook… Read more

  • Jytte Klausen, Author of ‘The Cartoons That Shook the World,’ Speaks at Yale and Confronts One of Her Censors

    October 2, 2009

    The New Haven Independent reports that Jytte Klausen, whose book The Cartoons That Shook the World was censored by the Yale University Press, spoke at Yale yesterday evening, leading to a worthwhile exchange with one of the individuals responsible for the act of censorship. Klausen, a Brandeis University professor, is having her book published by… Read more

  • FIRE’s Will Creeley in ‘Providence Journal’

    September 23, 2009

    Today’s edition of the Providence (R.I.) Journal contains an op-ed by FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley criticizing Yale University over the most recent Mohammed cartoon controversy. The Yale University Press decided to remove cartoons depicting Mohammed from author and professor Jytte Klausen’s forthcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, which discusses… Read more

  • FIRE Joins Open Letter to Yale Protesting Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    September 17, 2009

    Earlier this week, FIRE joined a dynamic coalition of civil liberties groups in signing an open letter protesting the removal of cartoons depicting Mohammed from author Jytte Klausen’s forthcoming book, The Cartoons That Shook the World, to be published by Yale University Press this October. The letter, authored by Joan Bertin, Executive Director of the… Read more

  • Letter to Yale University Opposing Removal of Mohammed Images from Book

    September 14, 2009

    Richard C. Levin President, Yale University PO BOX 208229 New Haven, CT  06520-8229 The Yale Corporation c/o The Office of the Secretary P.O. Box 208230 New Haven, CT 06520-8230 Dear President Levin and Members of the Yale Corporation, We write to protest the decision to remove all images of Mohammed from the forthcoming book, The… Read more

  • Former FIRE Interns Criticize Ubiquitous Censorship at Their Universities

    September 4, 2009

    Two of this summer’s FIRE interns have started the year with a bang. Today, both published damning indictments of the state of free speech in higher education in general, and their own universities in particular. First, former FIRE intern John Cetta has an excellent article in The D.C. Writeup on free speech in higher education,… Read more

  • Yale University Press Responds on Mohammed Cartoon Controversy

    August 17, 2009

    Last week, The New York Times reported that Yale University Press had made the decision not to reprint the famous 2005 Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in Brandeis Professor Jytte Klausen’s upcoming book The Cartoons that Shook the World. This decision caused an uproar both within and outside of academia. (I posted my own… Read more

  • In ‘Pajamas Media,’ FIRE’s VP Slams Yale Press Censorship of Mohammed Cartoons

    August 14, 2009

    There appears to be a new exemplar of the cowardice and censorship that characterized the academy’s response to the furor over the publication of twelve cartoons by a Danish newspaper depicting the Prophet Mohammed. As The New York Times was first to report on Tuesday, Yale University Press decided not to print the once-incendiary cartoons… Read more

  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Yale University

    June 15, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester and into the early summer, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). This blog series is drawing to a close, with only three universities left: Yale, Harvard, and Princeton. Today we review policies… Read more

  • Too Often, First Amendment Protections Denied to Second Amendment Speech

    March 10, 2009

    The First Amendment protects core political speech—and, as should be obvious, that protection extends to speech regarding the Second Amendment. This means that students at public universities and private universities that promise the right to free expression on campus must be free to engage in unfettered discussion of the merits of federal, state and local… Read more

  • Hard Cases Make Bad Law

    April 25, 2007

    It is often said that hard cases make bad law, because when something particularly awful or unusual happens, logic is often subjugated by a judge’s, a jury’s, or a legislature’s desire to address the particular situation at hand.   It seems now that the admittedly very hard case of the Virginia Tech massacre is beginning… Read more

  • Job Security = Academic Freedom?

    April 19, 2005

    Graduate Student Employees United (GSEU) at Columbia University and the Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) at Yale University started a week-long strike yesterday, demanding that the universities’ administrations recognize the groups as workers unions. The Yale Daily News reported that in New York students carried signs that said: “Job Security = Academic Freedom.” The… Read more