The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is out now with a new report. It’s their yearly analysis of speech codes.
While not dealing with our issues specifically, FIRE champions free speech in general for university students across the U.S. in accordance with the First Amendment. Improved academic freedom and free speech overall are of course a boon for objectivity in origins science.
FIRE ranks university speech codes as “red light” for very restrictive, “yellow light” for somewhat restrictive, and “green light” for policies that “do not seriously threaten protected expression.” In the recent report, they note that there has been a drop in the number of universities with red-light policies each year for the past twelve years. That is good news.
They also note, “Sixty-eight university administrations or faculty bodies have now adopted policy statements in support of free speech modeled after the ‘Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression’ at the University of Chicago (the ‘Chicago Statement’), released in January 2015. (Since this year’s report was written, two more institutions have adopted a version of the Chicago Statement, bringing the total to 70.)” That’s no small number! I wrote about the University of Chicago’s stance on free speech back in 2016. Dean of Students Jay Ellison’s letter on the subject is quite stirring.