FIRE Annual Report Documents Progress and Challenges for Campus Free Speech

On December 11th the Wall Street Journal ran this article highlighting the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE) tenth annual report. This report surveys FIRE’s full database of 345 four-year public universities and 104 private four-year universities. FIRE ranks the speech codes of these universities using a stop light system:

Red Light institutions have at least one policy both clearly and substantially restricting freedom of speech, or that bars public access to its speech-related policies by requiring a university login and password for access. A “clear” restriction is one that unambiguously infringes on protected expression.

Yellow Light institutions maintain policies that could be interpreted to suppress protected speech or policies that, while clearly restricting freedom of speech, restrict only narrow categories of speech. For example, a policy banning “verbal abuse” has broad applicability and poses a substantial threat to free speech, but it is not a clear violation because “abuse” might refer to unprotected speech, such as threats of violence or genuine harassment.

Green Light institutions do not have policies which seriously threaten campus expression. They also give out a Warning-Does not Promise Free Speech rating for some private universities. Private universities are just that—private associations—and as such, they possess their own right to free association, which allows them to prioritize other values above the right to free speech if they wish to do so. Therefore, when a private university clearly and consistently states that it holds a certain set of values above a commitment to freedom of speech, FIRE warns prospective students and faculty members of this fact.

Some highlights from FIRE’s report:

  • Of the surveyed Public universities, 39.6% received Red Light ratings, down nearly 10% from last year and down 40% in the last nine years.
  • There was 3% decrease in the number of surveyed Private Schools which drastically restricted free speech
  • Over the last nine years the number of green light institutions has now tripled, with 27 institutions receiving that rating this year
  • In total, of the 449 schools rated for this report, 178 received Red Light ratings, 237 received Yellow Light ratings, 27 received Green Light Ratings, and 7 institutions were not rated for the survey.

Tom W. Bell

Tom Bell, a professor at the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University, of Chapman University received the 2015 Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award. Tom studied law to “learn how best to protect individual freedom” and has carried that passion into his teaching, scholarship, and work on policy issues.

Tom came to an IHS summer seminar in 1988 and has been closely associated with IHS ever since. After completing a master’s in philosophy at the University of Southern California, he worked at IHS for a year as a program assistant before heading off to law school at the University of Chicago, benefiting from IHS fellowships, career programs, and mentoring as he earned a JD.

After practicing law in Silicon Valley and Washington, DC, he jumped at the chance to enter teaching—not only as a law faculty, but at IHS seminars, where he has continued to teach summer after summer. He has also been featured in IHS Learn Liberty videos and in 2014 worked with IHS to create an online course on intellectual property and entrepreneurship.

Tom has published widely on high-tech legal issues in scholarly journals and popular venues, including his 2014 book, Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good. He’s also written on consent theory and the Third Amendment, as well as polycentric law, which he’s been thinking and writing about since his first days with IHS, and has been putting into practice by consulting with governments and companies working to start privatizes charter cities.

Learn more about Tom Bell.


Emily Chamlee-Wright

Emily Chamlee-Wright is the Provost and Dean of Washington College in Maryland. For her entrepreneurial leadership in academia and her inspirational teaching and mentorship, she won the twelfth annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award.

Emily connected with IHS in 1988 as an undergraduate student at an IHS summer seminar. She went on to be, in the words of the team, “an all-star” teacher at those same seminars after earning her PhD in economics at George Mason University. In her first teaching post, too, at Beloit College, she distinguished herself with a combination of clarity and empathy in the classroom, winning her a teaching award early on in her academic career.

That career would soon include academic leadership as chair of the economics department at Beloit, where she dedicated herself to building a program respectful of the same ideas that had brought her to IHS as a student. “I am thrilled beyond measure,” she exclaimed when two other IHS alumni joined Beloit’s economics department. Together they made it into a great pipeline of young talent that IHS and our allies continue to work with.

In her scholarly research, Dr. Chamlee-Wright has pursued an interest in the intersection of culture and markets.  Early on, she did field research among women entrepreneurs in Africa. More recently, she was a lead researcher for the Mercatus Center’s Gulf Coast Recovery Project, examining how cultural factors affected residents’ ability to put their lives and communities back together after Hurricane Katrina.

In 2007, Emily was appointed the Elbert H. Neese Professor at Beloit and the associate dean three years later, before being recruited in 2012 to Washington College. In 2013 George Mason University recognized her multiple accomplishments with a Distinguished Alumna Award.

Learn more about Emily Chamlee-Wright.


Art Carden

Art Carden, a professor of economics at Samford University’s Brock School of Business, is the eleventh recipient of the annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award, recognizing his multi-faceted work to advance liberty as a teacher, mentor, and public intellectual.

Dr. Carden did his graduate work at Washington University in St. Louis, studying with Nobel Laureate Douglass North and helped by IHS fellowships and career programs. He is widely published in scholarly journals, with research focused on the economic history of the American South and economic development more generally.

Professor Carden inspires students not only in his own classroom but worldwide via IHS Learn Liberty videos, including the popular “Economics on One Foot” and “The Broken Window Fallacy.” Art’s videos earned more than a million views altogether in the first two years of Learn Liberty.

Art also teaches at IHS summer seminars, organizes student programs on his campus, works with IHS to mentor promising undergraduate economic students, and taught our inaugural Learn Liberty Academy seminar in January 2013.

On top of all that, Art is a senior fellow with Tennessee’s free-market think tank, the Beacon Center – a relationship developed during his previous teaching post at Rhodes College – and is a research fellow at several other institutes. And he is a regular contributor to and other print and on-line mediums.

“When it comes to advancing liberty, Art does it all!” says one observer of his work. And with that track record, Art won the Outstanding IHS Alum Award just seven years after completing his Ph.D. and taking up the vocation of teacher, mentor, and public intellectual.

Learn more about Art Carden.


Lisa Snell

Lisa Snell is the Director of Education Policy at the Reason Foundation and winner of the tenth annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding Alum Award for her long-standing work as a champion of liberty in the area of K-12 education reform.

Recognized by the Washington Post as a “leading national critic of the government’s monopoly over public schooling,” Lisa earned that reputation with numerous policy studies, testimony in state legislatures around the country, frequent appearances in the media, and active engagement in policy battles.

In 2006, for example, she led a months-long fight against a California ballot measure that sought to impose universal pre-school, at huge cost to the taxpayers.  Although the public initially favored the measure, which was heavily promoted by Hollywood-star-turned-political-activist Rob Reiner, voters ultimately defeated it resoundingly, 69% to 31%.

Lisa got her start in public policy through her participation in 1993 in IHS’s Koch Summer Fellow Program (KSFP).  “That program opened a world to me that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to,” she says.  One of five kids of a single mom, she had put herself through college and was headed toward a career as a college debate coach when she met up with IHS.

Through the KSFP, she spent a summer interning both at the Institute for Justice and Reason magazine. As a result of her internship, Lisa was offered a position as a research assistant at the Reason Foundation, one of the country’s leading think tanks promoting policy solutions that respect free enterprise and individual liberty.  She quickly moved up, coming to specialize in the areas of education and welfare policy – and work doggedly to have the kind of impact that earned her an Outstanding IHS Alum Award.

Learn more about Lisa Snell.


Randy Barnett

Randy Barnett is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center and a relentless champion of liberty through his research, teaching, and activity as a public intellectual, winning him the ninth annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award.
Randy’s involvement with IHS spans more than 30 years, starting with a fellowship when he was a law student at Harvard University and continuing today as a faculty member at IHS student programs.

His teaching at an IHS summer seminar in the early 1980s played a seminal role in Randy’s career path.  As he told the National Law Journal a few years later, it “released all these ideas in me that had been suppressed for so long.  I couldn’t sleep for several days I was so excited.”  Soon—with the help of a fellowship at the University of Chicago Law School arranged by IHS—Randy had taken up his first academic position.

Today, his legal scholarship includes dozens of articles and eight books, among them Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty and several legal textbooks. His scholarship on the long-neglected Ninth Amendment has reinvigorated interest in its protection of “rights retained by the people.” And he has taken a personal interest in keeping alive the legacy of 19th-century abolitionist and libertarian Lysander Spooner.

In 2004, Barnett argued the medical marijuana case of Gonzalez v. Raich before the Supreme Court.  He appears frequently in major print and broadcast media.  In the wake of the Obama administration’s passage of health-care legislation in 2010, Randy played a key role in pressing a constitutional case against the law’s “individual mandate,” prompting The New York Times to identify him as “the intellectual godfather” of that challenge to a major expansion of government power.

Learn more about Randy Barnett.


Kris Alan Mauren

Kris Mauren is co-founder and executive director of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, which from its base in Grand Rapids, Michigan, works with religious and business leaders around the world. He won the eighth annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award for his organizational entrepreneurship and leadership in the freedom movement.

Kris had just earned his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University when in 1990 he turned away from a future in business to join the Rev. Robert A. Sirico in founding the Acton Institute. Applying at the time to attend an IHS summer seminar, Kris explained that Action “is a newly formed institute with myself as its only full-time staff member. I have agreed to work there for at least one and a half years, and then I would like to return to graduate school.”

But Kris stayed on, lured by the challenge of helping religious and business leaders understand the ethical dimensions of a free-market economy. By the time Acton celebrated its 20th anniversary, it had a staff of more than 30 and a budget of $5 million. Co-founder Sirico lauds Kris as “the organizational impetus” behind its growth and success.

In addition to traveling widely, lecturing and consulting, Kris has contributed his counsel to other organizations working to advance liberty, including serving on the boards of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) and Donors Capital Fund.

“IHS has had a uniquely influential role in my intellectual formation over the past 25 years,” said Kris in accepting the Outstanding Alum Award. “Thank you for the many ways you have supported me in my development and for the same work you do for countless others.”

Learn more about Kris Alan Mauren.


Todd J. Zywicki

Todd Zywicki is Foundation Professor of Law at George Mason University and a senior scholar at GMU’s Mercatus Center. He was named the seventh annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum for his contributions to scholarly research, policy applications, and academic leadership.

GMU Law School Dean Daniel Polsby says that “Professor Zywicki is one of the most important scholars of his generation in the fields of bankruptcy law, consumer lending, and law and economics.” This expertise has real-world impact as Todd served as director of policy planning at the Federal Trade Commission from 2003 to 2004 and has testified in Congress on multiple occasions. He comments frequently on legal issues in the media and on the internet.

Todd benefited from IHS programs from 1986 to 1993 while a student at Dartmouth (B.A. in government), Clemson University (M.A. in economics), and the University of Virginia (J.D.). Midway through his time in law school he wrote eagerly of his desire to make a “genuine contribution to the legal profession and to its future students as well as expand acceptance of the ideas of liberty.”

In 2005, Todd ran a successful insurgency campaign to join the board of Dartmouth College as an elected alumni trustee and in that role shone a light on issues troubling higher education in America. The Bill of Rights Institute, the Federalist Society, and the McCormick-Tribune Freedom Museum have benefited from Todd’s service as a board member or advisor, and the Institute for Humane Studies was added to that list with his election to the IHS Board of Directors in 2010.

Learn more about Todd Zywicki.


Kristina J. Kendall

Kristina Kendall is a former executive producer for anchor John Stossel at Fox Business Network and former producer at the national ABC newsmagazine 20/20.  She won the sixth annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award for her contributions to advancing liberty through excellence in journalism.

Kristi almost didn’t have a journalism career. Turned on to economics as a high school student at a Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE) program, she learned of IHS through FTE and, after participating in several IHS programs, was set on becoming a policy analyst and working to promote market-based K-12 education reform. But when John Stossel at ABC sought an economically literate student to serve as an intern and do research for a special, IHS recommended Kristi.

That internship in fall 1997 turned into a full-time job the next year, when she graduated from Carleton College with honors with a degree in economics.  A year and a half later she produced her first piece for 20/20 and went on to produce more than 50 pieces, including hour-long specials on education, risk, and health care policy.

John Stossel has said of Kristi and other IHS alumni working with him: “I don’t know what I’d do without them.  Their enthusiasm, and their knowledge of free markets and limited government, is a tremendous help in conveying the ideas of liberty in our special television reports.”

Kristi has won several journalism awards for her work. She serves as a mentor to aspiring journalists in the IHS network and in 2009 was elected to the IHS Board of Directors.

Learn more about Kristi Kendall.


John Tomasi

John Tomasi is an associate professor of political science and director of the Political Theory Project at Brown University.

John was selected for the fifth annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award after distinguishing himself as a force for change at Brown University. A popular professor who was also an active participant in campus debate about the Brown educational experience, John launched the Political Theory Project in 2003 “to invigorate the study of institutions and ideas that make societies free, prosperous, and fair.”

The PTP supports courses, study groups, and lecture events to enable students and faculty of diverse viewpoints to engage in open debate about pressing political problems. That vision for the center is in keeping with John’s approach to teaching and scholarly research.  Says Duke University professor Mike Munger: “John Tomasi is that strangest of academic fauna: a professor who actually believes in ideas. John is critical of any views, but he is perhaps most critical of views he happens to share. A student or faculty member who argues from ideological conviction, rather than from a desire to learn, will not last long with John.”

John’s history with the Institute for Humane Studies began in 1988, when he attended a Liberty & Society summer seminar as a graduate student. He went on to benefit from more than a dozen IHS fellowships, grants, and career-development programs as he completed an M.A. at the University of Arizona and a D.Phil. at Oxford University in the U.K.

Learn more about John Tomasi.


Scott Bullock

Scott Bullock is a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice, the nation’s only libertarian public-interest law firm. IHS awarded him the fourth annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award in recognition of his cutting-edge litigation on behalf of thousands of citizens whose full enjoyment of liberty is denied by government.

Scott joined IJ as a staff attorney in 1991 at its founding, having met co-founder ClintBolick at an IHS career-devlopment program where Bolick was lecturing. Scott has been involved in many cases challenging the government’s use of eminent domain for private development, including the now-infamous Kelo case, which he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has successfully litigated to establish First Amendment protection of Internet and software publishers, to protect tenants from rental inspection laws, and to open taxi markets to more competition.

Reading Ayn Rand, Robert Ringer, Henry Hazlitt, and other advocates of individual liberty started Scott on his journey toward freedom as a teenager. Their ideas inspired him to pursue degrees in philosophy and economics at Grove City College. He went on to earn a law degree at the University of Pittsburgh, aiming to somehow, as he wrote at the time, “be at the forefront of the fight against the growth of government power.”

Commenting on Scott’s recognition as an Outstanding IHS Alum, IJ’s president and co-founder Chip Mellor said: “Scott has never wavered in his focus and dedication, and the results have truly been impressive. He has been one of the real building blocks of the Institute’s success.”

Learn more about Scott Bullock.


Peter J. Boettke

Peter J. Boettke is a university professor of economics and the BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at George Mason University, where he is also vice president for research at the Mercatus Center.  He won the third annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award for his contributions to the defense of liberty as a scholar, mentor, and public intellectual.

Since discovering the ideas of liberty and the power of economics as an undergraduate at Grove City College in the 1980s, Pete has published scores of books and articles and edited numerous volumes. He is a leading contemporary scholar in the Austrian tradition of economics whose earlier leading lights include Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, and Israel Kirzner. In 1998 he took over editorship of the top scholarly journal in the field, the Review of Austrian Economics.

A dedicated, award-winning teacher, he is also co-author of new editions of the late Paul Heyne’s classic economics text, The Economic Way of Thinking. Working with graduate students in the economics program at George Mason University, where he earned his own Ph.D., Pete says he strives to give them the encouragement and attention he received from IHS as a student.

“My professional career is inseparable from IHS,” he noted when he won the Outstanding Alum Award. While in graduate school, he participated in IHS seminars and was awarded several fellowships. He credits IHS for helping him form his framework of ideas and intellectual attitudes and introducing him to other scholars in the classical liberal intellectual tradition.  And he learned from IHS, he said, that “it is possible to have a deep commitment to liberty and still engage with the rest of the scholarly community.”

Learn more about Peter Boettke.


John Hood

John Hood is president of the John Locke Foundation, North Carolina’s free-market think tank, based in Raleigh. John’s promotion of individual liberty and market-oriented solutions as a think tank entrepreneur and prolific writer and commentator won him the second annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award.

In 1990, less than two years after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in journalism, John helped launch the think tank, leading its research and publishing strategy. In 1996 he was promoted to president and several years later also became chairman of the board. At the same time, he continued to pursue his journalistic bent by writing a syndicated column on state politics and public policy for over 30 papers in North Carolina communities and serving as a regular radio and TV commentator.

John started working to advance liberty even as a student, when he founded and edited a monthly opinion magazine, The Carolina Critic.  The alternative campus publication grew to encompass five campus editions in North Carolina and brought him to the attention of IHS’s Felix Morley Journalism Competition, in which he won several prizes during his undergraduate days.

Foreshadowing his key role at the John Locke Foundation, John told IHS as a student journalist: “I like to write about such issues as education, the environment, consumer protection, and local regulation—issues with a tangible, everyday impact on people’s lives.” Even then, when he envisioned a future career as a journalist, he noted, “I’d like to develop a niche. . . . I’m thinking that state and local issues offer me the most latitude to develop that mastery—especially if I focus on the South, a region I grew up in and one in which liberty and economic dynamism are constantly threatened.”

Learn more about John Hood.


David Schmidtz

David Schmidtz is the Kendrick Professor of Philosophy and joint professor of economics at the University of Arizona, where he is also a founding director of the Freedom Center.

When Dave won the first annual Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award, in 2002, he was already an accomplished author, teacher, and mentor.  While continuing his contributions in those areas—including lecturing at IHS programs—he has gone on to excel as an academic entrepreneur by designing new courses such as “The Ethics & Economics of Wealth Creation” and in 2009 founding the Freedom Center—a University of Arizona center that works to advance philosophical understanding of the ideals of freedom and responsibility via published research, undergraduate and graduate education, and community outreach.

As a young scholar in the 1980s, David participated in a variety of IHS programs and won several IHS fellowships as he worked toward his M.A. in economics and Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Arizona. He started teaching at Yale in 1988, was promoted to associate professor in 1991, and spent a year at Bowling Green State University before returning to Arizona in 1995, where his well-regarded scholarship has helped build the University of Arizona Philosophy Department into a top-ranked graduate program in political philosophy.

“I could never be happy in an occupation which would relegate me to the status of spectator in the battle for freedom,” Dave wrote in his application for an IHS fellowship in 1984. “I consider it a reasonable bet that my work as a philosopher will make a difference to the outcome of this battle.”

Learn more about David Schmidtz.


Learn more about the Charles G. Koch Outstanding IHS Alum Award.

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