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UNCW’s Free Speech Policies Earn FIRE’s Green Light  

UNCW received a green light rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) in its annual Spotlight on Speech Codes Report. The report uses a traffic light system— red light, yellow light, green light—to rate how the nation’s colleges and universities are doing when it comes to protecting students’ free speech on campus. 

"This rating from FIRE highlights UNCW’s continuing commitment to free speech and to freedom of expression as an integral part of a comprehensive academic experience for our students and our community,” said Chancellor Aswani K. Volety. “Together, faculty, staff and students create a robust environment for critical inquiry, thoughtful discussion and the respectful exchange of ideas on our campus.” 

Most UNC System institutions also earned a positive green light rating, and FIRE noted an uptick in the number of green light institutions overall. Additionally, an increase in red light schools was also recorded for the second year in a row, reversing a 15-year trend.  

The 2024 report reviewed written policies of 489 public and private schools. 

  • 63 colleges earned FIRE’s highest green light rating, meaning they have no policies that seriously threaten student speech.  
  • 320 colleges earn a “yellow light” rating, meaning they have policies that are vague or restrict relatively narrow categories of speech. 
  • 98 colleges earned a “red light” rating, meaning they have at least one policy that clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. 
  • 8 colleges receive a “warning” rating, meaning their policies do not promise students free speech rights.  

For more information about freedom of expression at UNCW, visit our website