December 11, 2020

Arizona State University has been ranked as one of the top universities in the country for its policies on free speech and protecting its community’s First Amendment rights.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual Spotlight on Speech Codes for 2021, awarding ASU an overall green light rating — the highest metric possible in FIRE’s rating system: green, yellow and red.

In 2011, ASU became the 13th university in the country to receive FIRE’s top “green light” rating for its written policies related to free speech, which allow students, faculty and staff to freely express their thoughts and ideas within the ASU community. A total of 56 institutions now hold this top honor. ASU also maintains “green light” ratings in several subcategories

  • Harassment policies.
  • Protest and demonstration policies.
  • Posting and distribution policies.
  • Internet usage policies.

“ASU is committed to free, robust and uninhibited sharing of ideas among all members of the university community and we strive to provide an environment that fosters the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression — in a safe environment,” ASU President Michael Crow said. “As a public university, we advance our charter within the framework of state and federal policy, including the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides the right to free speech.”

In 2018, ASU expanded its efforts to protect free speech within the university community by adopting The Chicago Statement for Free Speech — a robust policy statement created by the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago and endorsed by dozens of higher education institutions. And, most recently, ASU was ranked fifth in the nation in the 2020 College Free Speech Rankings, which were determined by surveying students at 55 top colleges and universities in the U.S.

For a list of university resources and policies related to First Amendment rights, please visit ASU’s free speech page.

For its Spotlight on Speech Codes 2021, FIRE reviewed the written policies of 478 colleges and universities (372 public and 106 private) across the country, looking for blatant violations (red light) and moderate violations (yellow light). Institutions that had no violations received a green light rating.

Top photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now