Auburn University has recently earned the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s highest rating for free speech. Auburn is the first university in Alabama to earn this ranking.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending liberty, freedom of speech, due process, academic freedom, legal equality and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses.
The University teamed up with FIRE to revise speech codes at Auburn. They join an elite group of 38 universities nationwide that have brought their written policies in full and found it to be fully in line with the First Amendment.
“As a place of higher learning, a university campus should be the first to embrace the free exchange of ideas and speech,” said Bobby Woodard, Auburn’s vice president for student affairs. “It’s not always easy, but we’re pleased that FIRE has recognized our efforts in that regard.”
Auburn revised its policies on campus demonstrations, internet usage and a number of others. With these revisions, Auburn has attained a “green light” rating. This rating indicates that Auburn’s written policies do not imperil student or faculty free speech, according to FIRE’s Spotlight database.
The database rates more than 450 colleges and universities based on the degree to which free speech is protected or abridged by their policies.
Auburn is the first university of 2018 to achieve a green light rating. With Auburn’s revised policies, they ensure that the students of Auburn are protected by clearly written and constitutionally sound policies.
“By revising its policies to attain green light status, Auburn is showing that its administration is serious about the university’s commitment to free speech and its obligations to students and faculty,” said FIRE Vice President of Policy Reform Azhar Majeed. “We hope that other colleges and universities in Alabama will follow Auburn’s lead and improve their own policies.”
FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley will speak at the University on Feb. 13, at 5 p.m. in the Mell Classroom Building as part of the Auburn University Critical Conversations Speaker Series.