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Fayetteville State gets FIRE green light after revising speech codes

North Carolina just earned its 12th green-light rating for campus free speech. 

Fayetteville State University, a constituent of the University of North Carolina System, has revised seven restrictive speech policies, earning accolades for First Amendment protections from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonpartisan legal nonprofit based in Philadelphia. 

FIRE ranks more than 470 colleges nationwide, awarding red, yellow, and green light labels to campus speech codes. Red light schools have restrictive policies. Yellow light schools have ambiguous policies that can be used to block speech. 

“We believe in having a campus environment where the voices of our students and faculty can be heard, and where they can exercise their First Amendment rights,” said FSU Interim Chancellor Peggy Valentine in a Nov. 25 news release. 

“It is important to them and to university leadership that they know that they can share their thoughts and speak freely on issues and matters of importance to them without fear of retribution,” Valentine said. 

Just 51 schools in the country earn green light ratings from FIRE. North Carolina leads the nation with the highest number of constitutional campus speech codes statewide. That’s a drastic improvement since 2010, when all 17 UNC schools were ranked yellow or red. 

“Out of all 51 institutions that earn FIRE’s top rating for free speech, almost one in four is located in North Carolina — and that should be a real point of pride for North Carolinians,” said FIRE’s Azhar Majeed. Majeed, the organization’s vice president of policy reform, worked with FSU administrators to craft speech-protective policies.

Public campuses with green-light ratings: 

  • Appalachian State University
  • East Carolina University
  • Fayetteville State University 
  • N.C. Central University
  • N.C. State University 
  • UNC Chapel Hill
  • UNC Charlotte
  • UNC Greensboro
  • UNC Pembroke
  • UNC Wilmington
  • Western Carolina University

Private campuses with green-light ratings: 

  • Duke University

Public campuses with yellow-light ratings

  • Elizabeth City State University
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • UNC Asheville
  • UNC School of the Arts

Private campuses with yellow-light ratings

  • Wake Forest University

Public campuses with red-light ratings

  • Winston-Salem State University

Private campuses with red-light ratings

  • Davidson College

Read more from FIRE’s 2019 report here



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