About Speech First

Colleges and universities routinely threaten their students’ speech rights. Those who fight back are met with open hostility from campus administrators, professors, and peers. As a result, students across campus are often denied the opportunity to express their views in open debate.

One increasingly popular method of quelling campus speech and enforcing ideological uniformity is the adoption of Bias Reporting Systems (BRSs), which schools often create under the guise of “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” BRSs actively chill student speech through fear and intimidation. Sadly, the students themselves often anonymously report their peers for alleged infractions. By creating a tattle-tale culture, students are empowered to enforce agendas on others.

I could give you countless examples of brave students who stand up for what they believe in. But the prospect of standing up to a college or university can be overwhelming, expensive, and time-consuming (not to mention awkward, since the student still wants a diploma at the end of the day). That’s why many students stay silent.

The prospect of speaking freely looks less daunting when students are supported by like-minded individuals from all over the country and have the partnership and support of an organization with the resources to fight back. That’s why Speech First exists. We’ve created a nationwide community of free speech supporters so that students won’t have to go at it alone. We provide support every step of the way: on campus, in the media, and in court.

Speech First is restoring the freedom of speech on college campuses because when students are exposed to different and challenging ideas, they emerge stronger, smarter, and more resilient. That’s the point of education, after all. And that’s why we’re putting colleges and universities on notice that we’ll be there whenever they censor, shut down, or unjustly punish speech.

We hope you’ll join us.
Cherise Trump
Executive Director, Speech First

Executive Summary

Free speech is under attack. Today, higher education is ground zero for testing out dangerous forms of censorship that instill fear, propel viewpoint discrimination, and restrict vital academic discourse.

One increasingly popular tactic is the Bias Reporting System (BRS). These elaborate schemes are designed to silence dissenters, stifle open dialogue, and encourage students to report speech they deem unacceptable. Two federal courts of appeals have already recognized the chilling effect of BRSs. In 2019 the Sixth Circuit stated that BRSs impose an “objective chill” on speech because they “act by way of implicit threat of punishment and intimidation to quell speech.”

Similarly, in 2020, the Fifth Circuit agreed, stressing that BRSs “represent the clenched fist in the velvet glove of student speech regulation.”

This 2022 Report, ‘Free Speech in the Crosshairs: Bias Reporting on College Campuses,’ is the first comprehensive report covering these issues in nearly five years. Speech First’s report provides updated data, trends, and reflections in order to provide new insights into the rapid growth of bias reporting systems.

We evaluated 821 institutions of higher education and found that the majority of them (56%) have Bias Reporting Systems. In total, we identified 454 Bias Reporting Systems (BRSs) at public and private institutions of higher education across the country. Of these, 250 were found in public institutions and 204 in private institutions – and 53% of the most egregious forms of BRSs were housed in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) offices.

Before this Report, the primary data available on this issue was the 2017 report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which identified 232 Bias Reporting Systems (BRSs) on American college campuses. The FIRE report predicted that this number would “grow rapidly.” FIRE’s prediction turned out to be correct. In this report, Speech First identifies 454 BRSs, twice as many as identified by FIRE just five years ago. Moreover, this report is largely based on information that universities publicly report. It is very likely that some BRSs are not publicized, and so these reporting systems are far more pervasive than we know.

In short, our data shows that Bias Reporting Systems have been spreading rapidly. Our report outlines the scope of this problem and includes an appendix of all the schools we found with identified BRSs.

Tackling BRSs will require some combination of the following:

  • Legal action– Hold universities accountable for their bad policies in the court of law.
  • Public pressure– Parents, students, and alumni should inform state and national legislators as well as the media about free speech concerns on their campuses.
  • Engage alumni and donors– Donors should demand transparency from the universities they give to.
  • Use state and federal funding to apply pressure– Tax-payer funded institutions are beholden to the people.
  • Empower students– Students should know their rights and recognize when those rights are being violated.

“For the people to rule wisely, they must be free to think and speak without fear of reprisal.” – James Madison

What are Bias Reporting Systems?

FIRE’s 2017 Report defined a bias reporting system ‘as any system identified as such, or that provides’:

  1. a formal or explicit process for or solicitation of
  2. reports from students, faculty, staff, or the community
  3. concerning offensive conduct or speech that is protected by the First Amendment or principles of expressive or academic freedom.

Bias Reporting Systems are university teams or procedures that are specifically designated to solicit, receive, investigate, and respond to reports of “bias incidents” or other similar speech at their institutions. Typically, BRSs invite students and faculty to report speech that is “biased” on the basis of some protected characteristic such as race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, age, disability. Many even include “bias” against someone’s “political affiliation.”

Students, faculty, and staff who believe they have experienced or witnessed a “bias incident” can usually report the incident to their college or university through an online reporting form. In most of these forms, the reporter can choose to remain anonymous.

BRSs are typically staffed by the university’s senior faculty and staff. And some include a police officer on the team itself—a literal speech police.

After receiving a complaint about an alleged “bias incident,” the BRS reviews the incident report and will either conduct an “educational intervention” with the accused student or forward the complaint to another university department for further review. Some BRSs maintain a public log of reported bias incidents, sometimes with enough detail that others on campus can deduce who was involved. And virtually all universities claim that these processes are designed to assess the campus climate and monitor “patterns” of hate and bias to help the university improve its trainings, programs, or policies. Students reported to these systems do not know whether or not the university is keeping records—records that could follow them well beyond college and into their professional careers.

After receiving a complaint about an alleged “bias incident,” the BRS reviews the incident report and will either conduct an “educational intervention” with the accused student or forward the complaint to another university department for further review. Some BRSs maintain a public log of reported bias incidents, sometimes with enough detail that others on campus can deduce who was involved. And virtually all universities claim that these processes are designed to assess the campus climate and monitor “patterns” of hate and bias to help the university improve its trainings, programs, or policies. Students reported to these systems do not know whether or not the university is keeping records—records that could follow them well beyond college and into their professional careers.

The University of Maryland’s description of its BRS is emblematic:

    The primary role of the Hate-Bias Response Team is to review hate-bias incidents, to provide appropriate responses based on the nature of the incident and to work collaboratively to provide educational outreach to the campus … Bias Incident Support Services (BISS) is charged with addressing hate-bias incidents targeting UMD students, faculty and staff. The program responds, educates and reports to the campus community about bias, its impact, as well as protocols related to bias … [BISS] is committed to holistically addressing hate-bias incidents that target UMD community members by focusing on incident response and support, proactive training and education initiatives, and data collection and distribution … BISS staff collects and analyzes data related to hate-bias incidents which allows for the evaluation of trends, the assessment of training needs and strategizing of prevention efforts.

Similarly, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville describes its BRS (what it calls the “Bias Education and Response Team,” or BERT) as using the following protocol:

    The team members will review incident reports and meet with affected students to facilitate services such as counseling, health services, or other referrals as needed to address safety concerns and to provide assistance and comfort to those impacted … [and] develop an appropriate plan to initiate communication with the broader community and make referrals to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Office of Equity and Diversity, or the University of Tennessee Police Department if the incident appears to violate a university policy or state/federal law … Any student found to be responsible for an act of bias, which violates university Standards of Conduct or criminal law, will be subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including permanent dismissal from the university.

BRSs frequently define “bias incidents” in vague and overbroad terms, making them difficult for students to interpret and easy for administrators to employ at their discretion. Nevertheless, all of the definitions make one thing clear: they apply to student speech. As a result, students often self-censor to avoid running afoul of these teams. Recent data shows that only 32% of college students feel that it is very or extremely clear that their college administration protects free speech on campus.

Apart from the reporting teams described above, BRSs can often arise as vague online systems embedded within other boards or committees already established on campus — systems soliciting reports of incidents concerning speech that is biased, offensive, unwanted, discriminatory, hateful, or a “microaggression.”

The Dangers of BRSs

BRSs intimidate and silence students whose viewpoints do not conform to the dominant social, political, and cultural narratives on campus. By design, these teams create an environment of fear that chills speech and dialogue between students of diverse beliefs and perspectives, ultimately silencing speech through self-censorship. This chilling effect was confirmed by a 2021 joint study conducted by FIRE, College Pulse, and RealClearPolitics, which found that more than 80% of college students in the U.S. self-censor. The result of this climate of intimidation and self-censorship is a campus environment that fosters fearful silence instead of a healthy back-and-forth in the classroom, in dorms, at club events, and in social settings.

The broad definition of “bias” allows universities to burden a broad range of constitutionally protected expression. And a lack of clear and meaningful standards opens the door to arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement.

The definition of a “bias incident” at most universities is so broad that it encompasses even political speech. Common definitions include speech that is “motivated by a bias against a person in part because of that person’s … political affiliation … or intellectual perspective” (the University of Mississippi), or biased expressions “based on … perceived political ideas” (Eastern Mennonite University). But students must be able to speak freely and offer their perspectives on historical and current events and ideas. As Speech First warned in its case against the University of Michigan, “[u]nder the plain text of [the BRS’s] definitions, a student may be deemed to have acted with ‘bias’ if, for example, she gives a speech sharply criticizing the Catholic Church and its adherents for not allowing women to become priests; this student has expressed a ‘negative opinion’ or ‘attitude’ about a certain group of people based on their ‘cultural experience’ of religion.” Such rich and valuable discourse should not be discouraged through university intimidation.

BRSs also frequently combine immense power with a lack of oversight or accountability. Many BRSs can either initiate disciplinary actions against students or refer allegations to other university departments with disciplinary authority. But even when a BRS disclaims any formal disciplinary authority, the mere presence of a team consisting of senior administrators responsible for monitoring student expression inevitably chills speech. The simple fear of being anonymously reported to university authorities and subjected to process-is-punishment investigations (which often include university officials and law enforcement), diversity and anti-bias trainings, and public stigmatization is a present and powerful force on campuses across the country.

Bias reporting systems “represent the clenched fist in the velvet glove of student speech regulation.”
Fifth Circuit Court Opinion in Speech First, Inc. v. Fenves (2020)

With these powerful, unaccountable systems and broad definitions in place, universities solicit complaints from students about their classmates’ speech. Put differently, they ask students to report one another simply for expressing disagreement with or an alternative perspective from the dominant social, political, or cultural narrative on campus.

BRSs ultimately contribute to a culture on campus that prevents students from voicing unpopular beliefs about the most important issues of the day — topics like racial inequality, abortion, gender identity, gun control, or contemporary socio-political phenomena like the George Floyd protests.

That’s why these policies undermine the very foundational purpose of our educational institutions. As Amna Khalid and Jeff Snyder, professors of History and Educational Studies at Carleton College, have warned, BRSs “degrade education by encouraging silence instead of dialogue, the fragmentation of campuses into groups of like-minded people, and the deliberate avoidance of many of the most important — and controversial — topics across all academic disciplines. They are inherently anti-intellectual enterprises, fundamentally at odds with the mission of higher education.”

Paradoxically, BRSs undermine the very diversity that the proponents of BRSs claim to seek. Diversity of all kinds, including diversity of thought, is central to educational excellence. As a result, BRSs present a formidable threat to educational excellence. As Khalid and Snyder correctly feared, bias response systems:

    undermine a bedrock principle of the modern university: that more diversity leads to better learning … [D]iversity works its magic only through meaningful contact between people with varying ‘identity characteristics.’ Contact, by definition, will sometimes lead to conflict. Imagine a conversation between an evangelical student and a gay student on same-sex marriage, or a discussion about U.S. drone policy between a dove and a hawk. Such conversations are invaluable. But without the space to debate and argue, students won’t ever be forced to confront the underlying assumptions framing their worldviews. BRTs threaten to drive students into their own corners with peers who look and think like them, reducing the potency of diversity to a glib slogan on admissions brochures.

Methodology

The Colleges and Universities in this Report

We evaluated the leading four-year colleges and universities in every state, generating a significant pool of both private and public schools. Ultimately, our study covered 441 private schools (which represent 23% of all private four-year colleges in the U.S.), and 380 public schools (which represent 49% of all public four-year colleges in the U.S.), for a total of 821 institutions.

In 2016, FIRE defined a Bias Reporting System as “any system identified as such, or that provides a formal or explicit process for or solicitation of reports from students, faculty, staff, or the community concerning offensive conduct or speech that is protected by the First Amendment or principles of expressive or academic freedom.” Similarly, in Speech First’s report, an institution is deemed to have a Bias Reporting System if it houses an established system (a devoted incident report form and adjudicating team/council/board) that explicitly solicits reports of speech that is:

  • Biased
  • Offensive
  • Unwanted
  • Discriminatory
  • Hate/hateful
  • A microaggression

Results

We found 454 Bias Reporting Systems at four-year public and private institutions of higher education across the country (56% of the total 821 schools examined in our report). Of these, 204 were found in private institutions and 250 in public institutions (46% of all private schools and 66% of all public schools examined in our report thus have a BRS).

Our report thus found 230% more BRSs at private universities and 175% more BRSs at public universities than FIRE did just five years ago (FIRE found 89 and 143 BRSs, respectively). Considering our report only examined 49% of public four-year colleges and 23% of private four-year colleges, the number of BRSs would swell if we were to examine every university.

Nearly every reporting system allows for anonymous reporting, and 53% of the most expansive forms of these systems were housed in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) offices.

In total, we identified twice as many BRSs as FIRE did in 2017 (454 identified in our report, versus 232</b identified in FIRE’s 2017 survey).

An appendix of all 454 schools with BRSs can be found in our Appendix of Universities with BRSs on p. 15.

Institutions With Bias Reporting Systems
BRSs found in 2017
(MAP 1)

BRSs found in 2022
(MAP 2)

“Students across the nation are self-censoring for fear of being suspended, failing to be hired for a job, or being ostracized from society. We see this because practical policy ideas are often turned into these outrageous questions of good and evil – if someone disagrees with you politically, you do not just disagree, but you are now a bad person.”Emma Blair, Grand Canyon University

What Can Be Done

Since our nation’s founding, Americans have placed a high value on the fundamental freedoms to speak, inquire, and learn, freedoms enshrined in the First Amendment. These freedoms not only infuse the spirit of the liberal arts, but are also essential to the continued health and existence of our nation. Central to liberal democracy and the republican form of government is a spirit of political participation that requires curious, engaged citizens who can speak and think freely with one another. As is a basic tolerance for opposing viewpoints and a vigilance against tyranny in all of its obvious and subtle forms.

The dangerous effects of BRSs must be confronted and addressed. It’s not just about defending essential freedoms, but also about creating and sustaining a society in which we can exercise them. These policies do not cultivate a space of inclusion and diversity. Instead, they compromise students’ fundamental rights to free speech and inquiry, profoundly weaken the academy, and threaten our constitutional republic and our relentless pursuit of a more perfect union.

Several steps can and should be taken, in conjunction, to address BRSs.

Take legal action. Speech First holds universities accountable for their actions. We have been on the front lines of the fight against bias reporting policies from the beginning, and many of our cases have involved the activities of BRSs and their chilling effects on student speech. To date, Speech First is the only organization to prevail in litigation against a bias reporting system, effectively ending the systems at the University of Michigan and University of Texas. If you’re interested in taking action on your own campus to stop a BRS from censoring student speech, you should reach out to Speech First or other public-interest groups who protect students’ First Amendment rights.

Monitor and revoke state and federal funding for universities that violate students’ First Amendment rights. Public universities are taxpayer-funded institutions and are thus answerable to the people. Even private universities receive state and federal grants and, as a condition of receiving those funds, must comply with the applicable regulations to the same degree as public universities. At the federal level, the Department of Education needs to monitor the campus speech policies of schools that receive federal funding. Moreover, if a university applying for a federal grant has policies that appear to facially restrict student speech, its application should be paused for further investigation.

State governments can also play an important role. They can enact legislation to enhance transparency at state universities and provide oversight to ensure that public institutions comply with those requirements. State legislatures could, for example, require public universities to conduct annual student surveys evaluating the free speech climates on their campuses. States could mandate that freshmen orientations include courses on the First Amendment and exercising free speech. Additionally, because most BRSs are housed in university DEI departments, state legislators could mandate increased disclosures from DEI departments about their BRS procedures. A recent report from the Idaho Freedom Foundation lists several additional ways lawmakers can reform college campuses, such as designating all outdoor areas on public universities as public forums open to free speech and requiring colleges and universities to disclose how their policies protect free speech on their campuses. These types of policies incentivize transparency and encourage universities to aim for open discourse and free speech on their campuses.

Apply public pressure. Parents, students, and alumni should regularly engage with their state legislators, congressional representatives and staff, and university boards of trustees. Public pressure can not only alert policymakers to the gravity of the issue but also inspire them to champion campus free speech issues. Lawmakers often don’t see a spirited push about student free speech rights from their constituents, but the more that constituents emphasize this issue, the greater the pressure to take action will become. Alumni must also emphasize to university boards of trustees that initiatives like BRSs will damage the prestige of their institutions and weaken their academic reputations.

Engage alumni donors. Alumni should exert pressure on their alma maters. Major donors should take a closer look at how the universities they love and support have changed from when they were last on campus. Millions of dollars of alumni donations are being spent on DEI departments and other misguided efforts that lead to speech restrictions on campus.

Empower students. Finally, students must recognize the responsibility they have to themselves. Self-censorship, avoiding discussions and debates, and other forms of complacency will not lead to more open discourse on campus. Instead, it will embolden those who wish to eliminate dissenting voices. Students must know their constitutional rights, federal and state laws, and campus policies. Students should note any red flags when reading student handbooks and reach out to organizations like Speech First when they encounter policies that chill speech on campus. Because Speech First will be there every step of the way, students can have the courage to speak whenever and wherever campus administrators, faculty, and peers try to shut down speech. Finally, students who support free speech on campus should consider running for Student Government, founding or joining clubs that advocate for the First Amendment, or writing for the campus paper or other news and media outlets.

Below is advice from students who are on campuses now and facing similar challenges:

“The best advice I can give to the next generation of college students is to stand firm in your values and don’t allow yourself to be silenced.”– Olivia Gallegos, Wichita State

“The biggest piece of advice I would offer is to become so extraordinarily educated on your beliefs and opinions that you become confident enough to speak up and out against those silencing you. And when you are met with opposition and the stifling of your speech, fight back with facts.”– Adam Fairchild, University of Colorado- Boulder

“My best advice to college students and beyond is to always remember that the Constitution is on your side. We need more students who are willing to stand up in their classrooms, challenge colleges and universities when they attempt to silence them and encourage their peers to do the same.”– Kiara Kincaid, University of Oklahoma

“The best advice I can give to the next generation of college students is to stand firm in your values and don’t allow yourself to be silenced.” – Olivia Gallegos, Wichita State

Appendix of Universities with BRSs

This appendix lists every university in our report that maintains a BRS and links to their respective webpages. As outlined in the What are Bias Reporting Systems? section on p. 5, these systems use a wide array of language and procedures, but they all have one thing in common—unnecessarily chilling speech student speech that is outside of the mainstream.

Alabama
Auburn University
Birmingham-Southern College
Huntingdon College
Jacksonville State University

Spring Hill College

University of Alabama

University of South Alabama

Arizona

University of Arizona

Arkansas

Henderson State University

University of Central Arkansas

California

California Polytechnic State University

California State University, Chico

California State University, East Bay

California State University, Northridge

California State University, Sacramento

California State University, San Marcos

Harvey Mudd College

Humboldt State University

Pomona College

San Francisco State University

San Jose State University

Santa Clara University

Scripps College

Stanford University

Sonoma State University

UC, Berkeley

UC, Davis

UC, Irvine

UC, Los Angeles

UC, Merced

UC, Riverside

UC, San Diego

UC, San Francisco

UC, Santa Barbara

UC, Santa Cruz

University of Southern California

Colorado

Colorado Mesa University

Colorado School of Mines

Colorado State University

Colorado State University, Pueblo

Regis University

University of Colorado Boulder

University of Denver

Connecticut

Central Connecticut State University

Connecticut College

Fairfield University

Sacred Heart University

Southern Connecticut State University

Trinity College – Connecticut

University of Connecticut

University of New Haven

University of Saint Joseph

Wesleyan University

Yale University

Florida

Florida A&M University

Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida International University

Florida State University

Rollins College

Stetson University

University of Central Florida

University of Florida

University of Miami

University of North Florida

University of Tampa

Georgia

Agnes Scott College

Berry College

Emory University

Georgia Institute of Technology

University of West Georgia

Hawaii

Brigham Young University – Hawaii

University of Hawaii at Hilo

Idaho

Boise State University

The College of Idaho

University of Idaho

Illinois

Augustana College – Illinois

Eastern Illinois University

Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois State University

Illinois Wesleyan University

Lake Forest College

Loyola University Chicago

Northern Illinois University

Northwestern University

Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville

University of Chicago

University of Illinois at Chicago

Wheaton College – Illinois

Indiana

Ball State University

Butler University

Depauw University

Earlham College

Hanover College

Indiana State University

Indiana University, Bloomington

Indiana University, East

Indiana University, Kokomo

Indiana University, Northwest

Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

Indiana University, South Bend

Indiana University, Southeast Purdue University

Purdue University Fort Wayne/ Indiana University Fort Wayne

University of Evansville

University of Notre Dame

University of Southern Indiana

Valparaiso University

Wabash College

Iowa 

Coe College

Cornell College

Drake University

Grinnell College

Iowa State University

Luther College

University of Iowa

University of Northern Iowa

Kansas 

Baker University

Friends University

Pittsburg State University Sterling College

Wichita State University

Kentucky 

Bellarmine University

Centre College

Eastern Kentucky University

Morehead State University

Northern Kentucky University

Transylvania University

University of Kentucky

University of Louisville

Western Kentucky University

Louisiana 

Centenary College of Louisiana

Dillard University

Grambling State University

Louisiana State University

Loyola University New Orleans

Southeastern Louisiana University

Tulane University

University of New Orleans

Xavier University of Louisiana

Maine 

Bates College

Bowdoin College

Colby College

Husson University

University of Maine

University of New England

University of Southern Maine

Maryland 

Frostburg State University

Goucher College

Hood College

Johns Hopkins University

Loyola University

Maryland McDaniel College

Stevenson University

Towson University

University of Maryland

Washington College

Massachusetts 

Amherst College

Babson College

Boston College

Boston University

College of the Holy Cross

Fitchburg State University

Framingham State University

Harvard University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

Northeastern University

Salem State University

Tufts University

University of Massachusetts – Amherst

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth

University of Massachusetts at Lowell

Wellesley College

Westfield State University

Williams College

Worcester State University

Michigan 

Albion College

Andrews University

Aquinas College – Michigan

Calvin University

Central Michigan University

College for Creative Studies

Grand Valley State University

Hope College

Kalamazoo College

Lawrence Technological University

Michigan State University

Michigan Technological University

Saginaw Valley State University

Spring Arbor University

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

University of Michigan – Dearborn

University of Michigan – Flint Western

Michigan University

Minnesota 

Bemidji State University

Carleton College

Concordia College

Gustavus Adolphus College

Macalester College

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Moorhead

North Central University

Saint Cloud State University

St. Catherine University

St. Olaf College

University of Minnesota – Morris

University of Minnesota – Twin Cities

University of St. Thomas – Minnesota

Mississippi 

Jackson State University

Mississippi College

Mississippi State University

University of Mississippi

Missouri 

Drury College

Fontbonne University

Maryville University

Missouri State University

Missouri University of Science and Technology

Saint Louis University

Southeast Missouri State University

University of Missouri – Columbia

University of Missouri – Kansas City

University of Missouri – Rolla

University of Missouri – St. Louis

Washington University in St. Louis

William Jewell College

Montana 

Carroll College

Nebraska 

Bellevue University

Creighton University

Doane University

Hastings College

Nebraska Wesleyan University

University of Nebraska – Lincoln

University of Nebraska Omaha

Nevada 

University of Nevada, Reno

New Hampshire 

Colby-Sawyer College

Dartmouth College

Franklin Pierce University

Southern New Hampshire University

University of New Hampshire

New Jersey 

Drew University

Kean University

Monmouth University

Montclair State University

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Princeton University

Rider University

Rowan University

Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Seton Hall University

Stevens Institute of Technology

Stockton University

The College of New Jersey

William Paterson University

New Mexico 

University of New Mexico

New York 

City College of New York

Colgate University

College of Staten Island

Columbia University

Cornell University

CUNY, Hunter College

Hamilton College

New York University

Skidmore College

Stony Brook University

SUNY Albany

SUNY Binghamton

SUNY Brockport

SUNY Buffalo

SUNY Cobleskill

SUNY Cortland

SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry

SUNY Empire

SUNY Fredonia

SUNY Geneseo

SUNY Morrisville

SUNY New Paltz

SUNY Old Westbury

SUNY Oneonta

SUNY Oswego

SUNY Plattsburgh

SUNY Potsdam

University of Rochester

Vassar College

North Carolina 

Appalachian State University

Davidson College

Duke University

Elizabeth City State University

Elon University

Fayetteville State University

High Point University

North Carolina A&T State University

North Carolina State University

University of North Carolina – Asheville

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

University of North Carolina – Charlotte

University of North Carolina –  Greensboro

Wake Forest University

Western Carolina University

North Dakota 

North Dakota State University

University of North Dakota

Ohio 

Bowling Green State University

Cleveland State University

Case Western Reserve University

College of Wooster

Denison University

John Carroll University

Keene State College

Miami University of Ohio

Oberlin College

Ohio University

The Ohio State University

University of Cincinnati

University of Dayton

Wright State University

Youngstown State University

Oklahoma 

Oklahoma State University

University of Central Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma

Oregon 

George Fox University

Lewis & Clark College

Linfield University

Oregon Institute of Technology

Oregon State University

Pacific University Oregon

Portland State University

Reed College

Southern Oregon University

University of Oregon

University of Portland specifically School of Nursing

Western Oregon University

Willamette University

Pennsylvania 

Bryn Mawr College

Bucknell University

California University of Pennsylvania

Carnegie Mellon University

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

Clarion University of Pennsylvania

East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (Linked with Clarion)

Franklin & Marshall College

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Lafayette College

Lehigh University

Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania

Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania State University – University Park

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

Swarthmore College

University of Pennsylvania

University of Pittsburgh

Villanova University

West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Rhode Island 

Brown University

Bryant University

Providence College

Rhode Island College

Rhode Island School of Design

Roger Williams University

University of Rhode Island

South Carolina 

Clemson University

Coastal Carolina University

College of Charleston

Furman University

University of  Presbyterian College South Carolina

Winthrop University

Wofford College

South Dakota 

Augustana University

South Dakota State University

Tennessee 

East Tennessee State University

Lipscomb University

Middle Tennessee State University

Rhodes College

Sewanee – The University of the South

Union University

University of Tennessee – Knoxville

Texas 

Baylor University

Rice University

Southern Methodist University

Tarleton State University

Texas A&M University

Texas Christian University

Texas State University

Texas Tech University

Texas Woman’s University

Trinity University

University of Texas at San Antonio

Utah 

Southern Utah University

University of Utah

Utah Valley University

Weber State University

Westminster College – Utah

Vermont 

Champlain College

Middlebury College

Saint Michael’s College

Sterling College – Vermont

University of Vermont

Virginia 

Eastern Mennonite University

George Mason University

James Madison University

Liberty University

Longwood University

Norfolk State University

Radford University

Roanoke College

Shenandoah University

The College of William and Mary

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

University of Mary Washington

University of Richmond

University of Virginia

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Washington and Lee University

Washington 

Central Washington University

Eastern Washington University

Evergreen State College

Gonzaga University

Pacific Lutheran University

Saint Martin’s University

Seattle Pacific University

Seattle University

University of Puget Sound

University of Washington

University of Washington Bothell

Western Washington University

Whitworth University

Whitman College

West Virginia 

Bethany College – West Virginia

Davis & Elkins College

Wisconsin 

Alverno College

Beloit College

Concordia University – Wisconsin

Lawrence University

Marquette University

Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design

Mount Mary University

St. Norbert College

University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire

University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

University of Wisconsin – Madison

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh

University of Wisconsin –  Platteville

University of Wisconsin – River Falls

University of Wisconsin –  Stevens Point

University of Wisconsin – Stout

University of Wisconsin – Whitewater

Wyoming 

University of Wyoming

END NOTES

This was in reference to the University of Michigan’s BRS, in Speech First, Inc. v. Schlissel, 939 F.3d 756, 765 (6th Cir.2019). https://speechfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Michigan-Decision.pdf

This was in reference to the University of Texas’s BRS, in Speech First, Inc. v. Fenves, 979 F.3d 319, 338 (5th Cir. 2020). https://speechfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/UT-opinion.pdf

We define a BRS as any system that solicits reports of incidents concerning speech protected by the First

Amendment, such as speech that is “biased,” “offensive,” “unwanted,” “discriminatory,” “hateful,” or “microaggressive.”

These BRSs are formalized, coherent teams explicitly devoted to the solicitation and review of bias incident reports by a designated group of cross-departmental members, university officials and often campus security or law enforcement.

“2017 Report on Bias Reporting Systems.” FIRE. Accessed September 30, 2021. www.thefire.org/research/publications/biasresponse-team-report-2017/report-on-bias-reporting-systems-2017

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Ibid.

Speech Code of the Month: University of Vermont

FIRE. “The 2021 College Free Speech Rankings.”

Ibid.

https://legalinsurrection.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Speech-First-v.-U.-Michigan-Complaint.pdf

These are, according to the FIRE/CollegePulse/RealClearPolitics 2021 report, the most difficult topics of discussion on campuses today.

Snyder, Jeffrey Aaron, and Amna Khalid. “The Rise of ‘Bias Response Teams’ on Campus.” The New Republic, March 30, 2016. https://newrepublic.com/article/132195/rise-bias-response-teams-campus.

Ibid.

“Digest of Education Statistics, 2020.” National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a Part of the U.S. Department of Education. Accessed November 23, 2021. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d20/tables/dt20_317.20.asp.

Ibid.

“2017 Report on Bias Reporting Systems.” FIRE.

These BRSs are formalized, coherent teams explicitly devoted to the solicitation and review of bias incident reports by a designated group of cross-departmental members, university officials and often campus security or law enforcement.

Data from FIRE’s 2017 Report on Bias Reporting Systems

See Department of Education, Free inquiry Rule, 85 Fed. Reg. 59916 (Sept. 23, 2020), https://bit.ly/3iROiq8.

“Social Justice in Idaho Higher Education, University of Idaho – Idaho Freedom.” Accessed February 4, 2022. https://idahofreedom.org/research/social-justice-in-idaho-higher-education-university-of-idaho/.

“Greene, Jay P. “Diversity University: DEI Bloat in the Academy.” The Heritage Foundation. Accessed February 4, 2022. https://www.heritage.org/education/report/diversity-university-dei-bloat-the-academy.