In 2017, the North Carolina legislature passed House Bill 527 (now State Law 2017-196) in order to foster free, open inquiry in the state’s colleges and universities. One of the provisions ordered the University of North Carolina system Board of Governors to produce an annual report on two major categories of intellectual freedom: free speech and institutional neutrality.
This report is the Martin Center’s own analysis of free speech and institutional neutrality on the UNC system’s 16 campuses. The report examines universities’ choices for summer reading assignments and commencement speakers, whether they make public statements on controversial topics like climate change and diversity, the content of freshman orientation sessions, and universities’ mission statements. It also records any barriers to student and faculty speech as well as any known disruptions or incidents that curtailed free speech in the past year.