According to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), things may be turning around when it comes to campus free speech policies. After a dreadful year or three where it seemed that left-wing protesters were going to drive every whiff of conservative thought out of public academia, the Foundation found some things to celebrate about the strength of the First Amendment.
Their report contends that speech codes on college campuses have deteriorated by 40% over the last ten years and have decreased by 7% in just the past year. The elimination of these codes have allowed students to express their opinions more freely, giving rise to a better, more vigorous debate atmosphere at many universities.
“More institutions than ever before understand the importance of free speech and are taking concrete steps to protect it,” said Samantha Harris, FIRE’s vice president of policy research. “There is still a lot of work to be done, though — and we look forward to working with more colleges and universities in the years to come.”
More work, indeed. According to the report, while most colleges are on the right track when it comes to protecting free speech, there still remains many restrictions on what can and cannot be said. At 90% of public universities, there exists at least one such restriction in place. And a third of the colleges surveyed by FIRE were given the “red light” rating, meaning students at those schools are seriously hindered in their free speech.
It may be that far-leftist groups who want to ban conservative speakers and groups from campus, throw a wrench into academic disciplines and curricula they consider “oppressive” or “unsafe,” and protest every professor or administrator who doesn’t buy into their agenda are actually HELPING free speech stay alive, curiously enough. These groups have inspired such a backlash that their would-be fascism could be the very thing our country needed to remind itself how important it is to let everyone have their say.