FIRE has released its second annual survey of America’s Best Colleges for Free Speech. This year, seven colleges receive the rare distinction of being ivory towers that welcome free expression. FIRE’s President Greg Lukianoff describes the methodology and the results in the Huffington Post. Be sure to take a look at his article, but for those who cannot wait, here’s FIRE’s list (in no particular order):
- James Madison University
- The College of William and Mary
- University of Mississippi
- Mississippi State University
- University of Tennessee – Knoxville
- University of Virginia
- University of Pennsylvania
Interestingly, Lukianoff points out a trend that when one college revises its policies to be more welcoming to free expression, other colleges in the state begin to do the same thing. He’s right. No one wants to be seen as the lone censor of free speech. For example, in Virginia, we were involved in Rosenberger v. University of Virginia at the U.S. Supreme Court, which ended a discriminatory policy banning religious student groups getting equal access to student fees and campus facilities. And earlier this year, we scored another win in Virginia when Virginia Tech ended a similar ban on religious student groups accessing student fees. Colleges follow the free speech leader.
Did your college not make FIRE’s list? Perhaps you can be the catalyst to encourage your college to set the trend in your state. Contact us and let us know if you’ve had trouble expressing your beliefs on campus.