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Supreme Court of the United States

Reclaiming Your Freedom to Live Your Beliefs on Campus


Free Speech

Ensuring you're free to express your views on campus

What is Freedom of Speech?

The freedom for everyone to express their beliefs through speech, writing, visual, or performing arts, or not to speak at all.

This includes what you wear, read, say, paint, perform, believe, protest, or even silently resist.

Speech Codes

What is a speech code?

  • Policies instituted by public universities to restrict speech

  • Used to punish students who speak out on issues that run contrary to the prevailing secular beliefs on campus

  • Public university speech codes have never been upheld in court

What exactly is a speech zone?

  • Many public universities have speech zone policies that restrict the ability of students to speak freely on campus. These policies sometimes provide for a “free speech" zone on campus, but often that “zone” is so small or so far removed from the heart of campus that it is an ineffective area for sharing messages.

  • Public university officials often move students and student groups from a popular area on campus to a low-traffic area because they are sharing a religious or conservative message.

  • Public universities often dramatically limit free speech to certain times of the day or week and often give administrators a right to review and approve materials before they are disseminated.

  • This directly violates students’ freedom of speech.
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