FSU recognized as Top 5 college for freedom of expression

Florida State University placed No. 5 in the 2023-2024 College Free Speech Rankings published by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and College Pulse, a comprehensive comparison of the student experience of free speech on their campuses. 

Students from more than 250 of America’s largest and most prestigious college campuses are surveyed and schools are ranked from best to worst according to campus free speech climates. FSU is the highest-rated university from the state of Florida on the list. 

“Florida State University deeply values intellectual debate and fosters a culture where students and faculty can engage in robust civil discourse as they pursue their academic goals,” said President Richard McCullough. “We are pleased FIRE continues to recognize FSU as one of the nation’s top colleges and best in Florida for free expression.”  

For the fourth year in a row, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, a nonprofit organization committed to defending and sustaining the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought, and College Pulse surveyed college undergraduates about their perceptions and experiences regarding free speech on their campuses.  

FIRE surveyed nearly 55,000 college students currently enrolled in four-year degree programs. Students were surveyed via the College Pulse mobile app and web portal from Jan. 13 to June 30, 2023.  

The College Free Speech Rankings, designed to help parents and prospective students choose the right college, are based on a composite score of 13 components, six of which assess student perceptions of different aspects of the speech climate on their campus.  

Students are surveyed on Comfort Expressing Ideas, Tolerance for Liberal Speakers, Tolerance for Conservative Speakers, Disruptive Conduct, Administrative Support and Openness.  

The other seven components assess behavior by administrators, faculty, and students regarding free expression on campus. Higher scores indicate a better campus climate for free speech and expression. 

“Protecting every individual’s right to express themselves freely is a top priority for Florida State University,” said Amy Hecht, vice president for Student Affairs. “We appreciate FIRE’s acknowledgment of our continued efforts to provide a place of learning where divergent ideas and opinions are welcome.” 

Florida State has held the organization’s “green light” rating for free speech on campus since 2020. The green light is FIRE’s top rating and is held by only three other institutions in Florida.