Seven Best School for Free Speech

PHILADELPHIA, May 24, 2011—Today the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) commends the nation’s seven best colleges and universities for freedom of speech in an article by FIRE President Greg Lukianoff on The Huffington Post. The colleges listed are Arizona State University, Dartmouth College, The College of William & Mary, the University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, and the University of Virginia.

"FIRE spends most of its time bringing much-needed attention to the sorry state of free speech for students and faculty on our nation’s campuses," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. "Today, we wanted to positively recognize those institutions that respect free speech and the First Amendment and encourage others to follow their admirable examples."

In determining the seven best colleges and universities for freedom of speech, FIRE considered whether the school’s policies restrict speech protected by the First Amendment and whether the school had censored speech in recent years. Each of the seven institutions chosen has earned a "green light" rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database of university policies. FIRE awards a college or university a "green light" rating if it does not maintain any policies that seriously imperil speech on campus. Only 14 schools out of the nearly 400 FIRE rates have earned "green light" ratings.

Lukianoff invites Huffington Post readers to nominate their own candidates after reading FIRE’s list, and he urges them to report to FIRE any serious free speech violations that they might know about at any of the seven schools named.

FIRE’s list of the seven best institutions for free expression follows FIRE’s list of the 12 worst colleges for free speech, published in late January on The Huffington Post. That list, which generated over 400 comments from readers and was one of The Huffington Post’s most viewed articles at the time of publication, helped generate favorable outcomes for free speech at two of the institutions named on the list. Syracuse University dropped its months-long investigation of a student blogger whose parody website led the school to threaten him with charges of "harassment," while University of Massachusetts Amherst revised its policy governing "controversial rallies" on campus.

FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America are described at

Greg Lukianoff, President, FIRE: 215-717-3473; [email protected]

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