On campuses dominated by speech codes derived from “political correctness”, recent stories such as the student-organized defense of Chick-Fil-A, criticisms of Vice President Joe Biden’s “restricted free speech zone” at Wright State University, and the petition wars occurring at UCLA, show that young activists are actively promoting independent conservatism at their schools.

Jennifer Kabbany of “The College Fix” reports on a few key wins in the struggle for real free speech rights:

Faced with criticism, a small but steadily increasing number of universities ease rules that restrict free speech on campuses.

Administrators at the University of Mississippi – commonly called Ole Miss – certainly had every right to describe themselves at First Amendment friendly. After all, in 2009 its officials allowed the Ku Klux Klan to rally on campus grounds before a football game, and even provided the protestors police protection.

Nevertheless, when Ole Miss officials noticed the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education had given the university a failing grade over the school’s written rules regarding free speech on campus, administrators were prompted to revise its policies, said Scott Wallace, assistant dean of students.

“We are a marketplace of ideas, that is what universities are,” Wallace told The College Fix. “And we cannot fully teach students and fully conduct research effectively without the opportunity to speak freely.”

Wallace and other campus officials worked with Foundation for Individual Rights employees to revise the university’s speech codes, and in January the nonprofit gave the school a “green light” – its highest ranking – and a signal it believes Ole Miss is completely First Amendment compliant.

The University of Mississippi was one of three new universities to make the nonprofit’s annual “best colleges for free speech” list, released earlier this month. The other two were Mississippi State and James Madison universities.

According to Kabbany, Robert Shibley (the education foundation’s senior vice president) indicated the three newly listed campuses show that a growing number of universities are revising their speech codes to be more than just semantics.

A college can certainly crack down on dissent whether or not it has policies that violate the Constitution,” Shibley said. “However, colleges generally are forced to justify such efforts as censorship by citing written policies that have been violated. When those policies don’t exist, it makes it much harder for colleges to engage in censorship because it denies them ‘cover’ for their actions.