FIRE publishes an annual report that condenses the considerable research in our Spotlight database into an accessible picture of the state of free speech, free expression, and freedom of conscience on our nation’s campuses. The report surveys speech codes at more than 400 of the largest and most prestigious American colleges and universities, providing readers with key data on individual schools, national trends, and regional ratings.
FIRE’s newest speech code report, Spotlight on Speech Codes 2017: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses, reveals that 39.6 percent of the 449 colleges and universities analyzed maintain policies that seriously infringe upon the free speech rights of students. This is a nearly 10 percentage point drop from last year’s figure of 49.3 percent, and the ninth consecutive year in which this percentage has dropped. In another encouraging development, five schools eliminated all of their restrictive speech codes in the 2015-2016 academic year, earning FIRE’s highest, “green light,” rating.