University of Florida receives top free speech rating

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has rated UF as a ‘Green Light’ institution for free speech for the eighth consecutive year

Gainesville, Fla. — For the eighth year in a row, UF has maintained its top free speech rating, Green Light, from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).

UF was the first school in Florida to achieve Green Light status in 2014. FIRE, which has a mission to defend and sustain the individual rights of students and faculty members at America’s colleges and universities, awards Green Light ratings based on a university’s policies regarding student speech that is protected by the First Amendment.

“The University of Florida has a longstanding commitment to fostering healthy dialogue with our university community, protecting free speech on our campus and providing a welcoming atmosphere for the collective voices to be heard,” said D’Andra Mull, vice president for Student Life at UF. “We will continue to work to ensure that our campus values, including freedom and civility, inclusion, and community, are upheld.

UF also placed No. 19 in FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings, which are based on survey responses from more than 37,000 students at 159 of the top colleges in the country. Of UF students surveyed for the 2021 rankings, 76% reported it likely that the administration will defend a speaker’s right to express their views. Further, two out of three students said they felt comfortable having a difficult conversation on campus. Additional survey data and information on the ranking can be found here.

The FIRE College Free Speech Rankings score institutions on seven distinct aspects of the free speech climate on campus, including openness to discussion of controversial topics, tolerance for liberal speakers, tolerance for conservative speakers, administrative support for free speech, comfort expressing ideas publicly, whether students support disruptive conduct during campus speeches, and FIRE’s speech code rating.

Brittany Wise September 30, 2021