Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation of Individual Rights in Education, was the keynote speaker for the University’s events Tuesday.
FIRE classifies universities as red, yellow, or green light schools depending on how restrictive the schools’ speech codes are.
“No matter how much we’ve done, no matter how many defeats, and at this point we’re talking about dozens of defeats for university speech codes, 58.6 (percent) of universities maintain what we call red light speech codes,” Lukianoff said.
Lukianoff said FIRE has been working with University administrators to help UNC’s speech code earn a rare green light rating.
“UNC is this close to having a green light code and the only word in this entire policy that gives us any concern is it includes ‘any behavior that disparages.’ That’s too vague, that’s too broad, if that were challenged in a court of law, we don’t think that one word would hold up,” he said.
This marks a change from December 2013, when Lukianoff included UNC on his list of the 10 worst schools for freedom of speech for the Huffington Post.
Lukianoff’s issue was not UNC’s speech code in general but a particular case. In March 2013, then-sophomore Landen Gambill was tried by Honor Court for disruptive or intimidating behavior against her ex-boyfriend, whom she had publicly accused of rape.
“Last year, because of the Gambill case, I put UNC on there. That being said, you might be the only school in history to go from being on that list to being a green light school in the course of one year,” he said.