Speech Codes on FIRE

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

This year, the Washington Examiner started a series on campus speech codes, whether they call them that or not, but the news is mostly good.

In the past month:

• “The University of Hawaii at Manoa, a public college in Honolulu, Hawaii, just received a higher free speech rating from the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) after reforming their outdated policies on their website,” Kelsey Carroll reported on March 27, 2018. “The University of Hawaii at Manoa had a red light rating, but has been updated to a yellow light.” UHM revised their policies for the same reason that universities usually do—a lawsuit brought on by a typical infringement of university policy: passing out copies of the U. S. Constitution.

Carroll also reported on March 22 that “Claremont McKenna College, a private college in Claremont, Calif., just received a green speech code rating, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s campus free speech rating system. This makes CMC the first school in California to earn this rating.”

• “Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the Excellence in Higher Education Act on Sunday which reinforces college students’ rights to free speech at public colleges and universities,” Lauren Cooley reported on March 13, 2018. “Multiple schools within Florida will need to change their campus policies in order to be in compliance.” Virginia, Missouri, Arizona, Kentucky, Colorado, Utah, North Carolina, and Tennessee have passed similar laws

• On the other hand, Kutztown University got a yellow light from Fire. “Kutztown has earned this rating due to a number of policies deemed by FIRE to be in violation of students’ First Amendment rights – the most heinous of which places obstacles in the way of students who want to exercise their right to peacefully assemble,” Tyler Cochran reported on March 6, 2018.