It’s no secret that free speech rights protection on college campuses has been desperately needed in North Carolina. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), an organization that monitors individual rights on campuses, previously highlighted the dismal state of free speech in the state. But, now it seems things might be changing for the better.
FIRE, this week, designated The University of North Carolina at Wilmington and Appalachian State University with its highest “green light” rating for its policies on expression and freedom of speech. In the past five months, that marks six schools in North Carolina that have been changed from red or yellow to green.
Other universities in North Carolina that earn a green light rating are Duke University, East Carolina University, North Carolina Central, UNC – Chapel Hill, UNC – Greensboro and UNC – Charlotte. With eight universities now receiving FIRE’s top “green light” rating, the state of North Carolina now leads the nation with the most green light ratings.
“Generation Opportunity is excited to see universities in North Carolina make efforts to improve freedom of speech and expression on college campuses,” said Generation Opportunity North Carolina Spokeswoman Anna Beavon Gravely. “It’s unfortunate we need to protect such a fundamental principles, but all-too-often, on today’s college campuses, protections for the unthinkable, unmentionable and unchallengeable have given way to free-speech zones, censorship and homogeneous thought.”
In its most recent legislative session, the North Carolina legislature passed landmark legislation in the fight to defend free speech on college campuses. The Restore Campus Free Speech Act, which became law in August without the signature of Governor Roy Cooper, requires the state’s public colleges and universities to adopt policies that prioritize First Amendment rights and repeal unconstitutional free speech codes.
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