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Best in class: DePauw becomes first private Indiana school to earn ‘green light’ free speech rating

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DePauw University has earned the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression’s “green light” rating, the highest possible rating for policies that regulate student speech on campus.

An overall green light rating is reserved for schools with no policies that seriously restrict or chill speech, and it places DePauw in an elite class. FIRE’s most recent “Spotlight on Speech Codes” report found that of the 486 schools included in the Spotlight database, only 60, or 12%, earned a green light rating. The new rating also marks DePauw as one of the best schools in the state of Indiana for free speech. 

In 2022, DePauw also adopted the “Statement of DePauw University Values on Freedom of Expression,” which articulates that “all members of the DePauw community have a duty to support free expression at the university, to refrain from actions that reduce intellectual exchange and to guarantee the rights of others to question, defend, and express a wide variety of beliefs and ideas.” The statement is modeled on the “Chicago Statement,” the gold standard for institutional policy statements on freedom of expression that has been endorsed by nearly 100 institutions nationwide.

“At a time when our neighborhoods, social circles, and information channels are increasingly segregated, the pursuit of conversation across differences has never been more important,” said DePauw University President Lori S. White. “College campuses, particularly those that are residential, are one of the few places where people are invited to live, learn, work, and develop community together across a range of differences. Liberal arts colleges are communities actively grappling with the interconnectedness of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and free expression.

“By leaning into and openly discussing through teaching, scholarship and campus conversation the complexities of our histories, identities, and ideologies we fortify our mission to educate leaders the world needs. We are appreciative of FIRE's recognition of DePauw’s continued work on free expression.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought — the most essential qualities of liberty. FIRE educates Americans about the importance of these inalienable rights, promotes a culture of respect for these rights, and provides the means to preserve them.

CONTACT: Bob Weaver, Senior Director of Communications, DePauw University: 765-658-4286; bobweaver@depauw.edu

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