It matters: MSU receives national FIRE ‘green light’ rating for strong free speech protections

Students walk across the Drill Field on a sunny day at MSU
Mississippi State is once again being recognized for upholding policies that maintain First Amendment and free speech protections. (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Contact: Aspen Harris

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State is being recognized among the most supportive higher education institutions in the nation for upholding policies that maintain First Amendment and free speech protections.

For the 12th consecutive year, MSU has received a “green light” rating in the national College Free Speech Rankings from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, an organization that defends and sustains rights to free speech and free thought for all Americans, especially in education.

MSU is one of 63 public and private higher education institutions awarded the green light rating, which signifies the strongest free speech protections in campus policies and procedures. Over 500 higher education institutions were rated in the comprehensive survey.

“A university’s strength is rooted in maintaining a marketplace of ideas,” said Dean of Students and Associate Vice Provost for Student Success Thomas Bourgeois. “I am proud that MSU continues to have a strong commitment to protecting speech on campus, and although we don’t always agree on the topics of discussion, we recognize the importance of maintaining an environment that allows us to continue to have difficult discussions surrounding the complicated issues our world faces.”

The rankings are based on FIRE’s definitive elements of student free speech: openness to discuss challenging topics; tolerance for expression of opposing views; administrative support; and comfort in communicating ideas. Two additional factors are the measure of disruptive conduct and college policies affecting free speech.

Formerly known as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, FIRE aims to promote freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality and religious liberty.

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Monday, February 19, 2024 - 3:07 pm