Oregon State University has received a "green light" rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, indicating that university policies do not restrict speech.

OSU is one of only 27 green light universities in the nation, and the only one in Oregon.

Among other efforts, the university has recently drafted a Freedom of Expression document dedicated to the university's position on free speech, available online at http://bit.ly/2hLH6xr

Nationally, the situation is improving. Foundation spokespeople say there has been a nearly 10 percent drop in the number of universities maintaining written policies that severely restrict students' free speech rights. This is the ninth year in a row that the percentage has dropped.

Spotlight on Speech Codes 2017: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation's Campuses reports on written policies at 449 of America's largest and most prestigious colleges and universities, all of which are accessible online in a searchable Spotlight speech code database. It rates schools as "red light," "yellow light," or "green light" institutions based on how much, if any, protected speech their policies restrict.

Major findings from that report include:

  • 39.6 percent of surveyed institutions maintain severely restrictive, red light speech codes, a nearly 10 percent drop from last year's 49.3 percent.
  • Of the 449 schools surveyed, 27 received the highest, green light rating for free speech. This number is up from 22 schools as of last year's report.
  • 20 schools or faculty bodies adopted statements in support of free speech modeled after the one adopted by the University of Chicago in January, 2015.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education 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.

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Susie Brubaker-Cole, 541-737-3626