This year, the University of California, Berkeley is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the “Free Speech Movement,” which emerged in 1964 to protest UC Berkeley’s ban of on-campus political activities. (For a historical perspective, check out our analysis of the motivations of the students involved.) The university plans to celebrate this important milestone with exciting activities, including rallies, a commemorative poster contest, and an interactive website.
However, the 50th anniversary isn’t until this fall, so UC Berkeley administrators still have plenty of time to make the event even more significant by revising the university’s speech-restrictive policies and becoming a “green light” institution. FIRE currently gives UC Berkeley a “yellow light” rating, meaning it maintains ambiguous policies that allow arbitrary application and administrative abuse. Six yellow light policies stand in the way of UC Berkeley becoming a green light school.
Changing these policies and making UC Berkeley a true bastion of free speech is the best way administrators could honor the legacy of the Free Speech Movement. There is work to be done, but FIRE is ready to help!