Opposing Speech Codes
How Students and Faculty Can Help
As a student or a faculty member, you can fight back against campus censors by joining FIRE's Campus Freedom Network (CFN), a coalition of students and faculty dedicated to advancing civil liberties on their campuses. The CFN arranges speeches by FIRE speakers, rewards active students through an incentive program, organizes an annual FIRE summer conference, and bolsters FIRE's programs with grassroots support. By organizing students and faculty, the CFN strives to change the culture of censorship on college campuses from the inside. To join the CFN, click here.
Students and faculty members can also help fight censorship on campus simply by knowing their rights. FIRE's website explains many principles of free speech that have been forgotten on today's campuses and chronicles our ongoing defense of liberty, showing how censorship can be fought on campus. Students and faculty also have free access to FIRE's Guides to Student Rights on Campus, which discuss essential rights and how to defend them on campus.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, students and faculty can fight campus censorship by informing FIRE of abuses. If your campus has a speech code that we have not displayed here, we invite you to let us know. If you wish to submit a case to FIRE, please use FIRE's case submission form.
How Administrators Can Help
Some college administrators, understanding that universities must be bastions of free expression in our modern liberal democracy, want to fight back against censorship on their campuses. FIRE welcomes as valuable allies those administrators who have the moral clarity to oppose the national scandal of speech codes.
We urge all administrators who wish to correct defects in their school's policies regulating speech to read Correcting Common Mistakes in Campus Speech Policies, a short handbook designed to help university administrators identify and remedy the errors FIRE most often sees when reviewing policies that govern student and faculty speech. A PDF copy is available for free download here.
If you are an administrator and you want to let FIRE know about a new or proposed speech code on your campus, we would appreciate knowing about it. If your university has changed or abandoned a policy that FIRE criticizes here, please let us know, and we will update our website accordingly. If you wish to discuss the issue of speech codes in general or the circumstances of your own campus, please feel free to contact us.
How Attorneys Can Help
To combat censorship on America's campuses, FIRE believes that reason, moral argument, and public exposure are more efficient weapons than litigation. However, some colleges and universities will not respect the rights of free expression unless ordered to do so by a judge; in those cases, litigation is the best way to secure the rights of students and faculty on campus. For this reason, FIRE has created a Legal Network that unites remarkable attorneys from across the country who are willing to offer their services and expertise in the defense of liberty. FIRE encourages all liberty-minded attorneys to sign up for the Legal Network.