Location: Gainesville, Florida
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit
University of Florida has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.
November 29, 2007
The University of Florida drew criticism from FIRE after the administration was critical of students promoting an event showing the controversial film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” Several student groups-including UF’s Law School Republicans, College Republicans, Jewish Student Union, and Jewish Law Students Association-had posted fliers to advertise a November 13, 2007, screening of the film. The fliers used the headline, “RADICAL ISLAM WANTS YOU DEAD.” Vice President for Student Affairs Patrica Telles-Irvin e-mailed all students at UF stating that “the groups that posted [the fliers] owe the campus, and particularly campus members of the Islamic faith, an […]» Read More
What is sexual harassment? Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or academic environment
What are some examples of behavior that could lead to a claim of sexual harassment? * Sending or showing sexually graphic photos
* Making sexually graphic and/or offensive comments about a person’s body or other sexually graphic comments
* Making or broadcasting sexually graphic sounds ….
As an educational institution, the University recognizes that the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, and the development of individuals require the free exchange of ideas on any subject whether or not controversial, self-expression, and the challenging of beliefs and customs.
Verbal or written threats, coercion or any other conduct that by design, intent or recklessness places another individual in reasonable fear of physical harm through words or actions directed at that person, or creates a hostile environment in which others are unable reasonably to conduct or participate in work, education, research, living, or other activities, including but not limited to stalking, cyber-stalking, and racial harassment.
Demonstrations may be held anywhere on the campus, so long as they do not disrupt
the normal operation of the University or infringe on the rights of other members of the
University community, except that no demonstrations are permitted inside University buildings.
The University of Florida strives to foster an environment where students treat others with respect and human dignity. Any behavior that rises to the level of harassment of another person, related to the race of that person or otherwise, will not be tolerated and is a violation of the University’s Code of Student Conduct.
June 19, 2013
by Jeff Schweers The Gainesville Sun A conservative Florida think tank commends Florida’s university system for offering an affordable and quality higher education for students during a deep economic downturn and state budget cuts. But it also criticizes the system for the growth in administrative costs and salaries, and for policies that appear to restrict student speech and academic freedom. “Florida Rising: An Assessment of Public Universities in the Sunshine State,” a report by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and The James Madison Institute, looked at 11 public four-year undergraduate programs in the state university system. It’s […]» Read More
July 20, 2012
College administrators seem to be natural enemies of student newspapers. Time after time, they have waged war against student publications: refusing to take action against widespread newspaper theft; trying to withhold student-fee funding from papers due to controversial content; and even threatening academic sanctions against individual student journalists who dare to criticize the school. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), where I work, has chronicled many of these battles in FIRE’s Guide to Free Speech on Campus. The explosion in the number of administrators on the modern college campus — since 2005, American universities have employed more administrators than full-time faculty — has only exacerbated this conflict. […]» Read More
December 12, 2007
No stranger to free speech issues of late, University of Florida officials are now under fire for criticizing students who recently hung fliers on campus reading “Radical Islam Wants You Dead.” State Attorney General Bill McCollum claims UF officials stifled free speech by asking the students who posted the fliers to apologize for offending Muslims. In a Dec. 3 letter, McCollum accused Patricia Telles-Irvin, UF’s vice president for student affairs, of creating a “chilling effect on the free speech rights of students.” McCollum’s office said as late as Tuesday that he was still unsatisfied with UF’s response to his concerns, and he […]» Read More
March 9, 2006
A Georgia man told “dead baby jokes” for more than an hour on the University of Florida’s campus Wednesday while protesting an anti-abortion display. Then he went too far, in the view of UF administrators. Joined by a UF student, Matthew Jones held a plastic tarp in front of an anti-abortion display, partially obstructing pictures of aborted fetuses, lynchings and acts of genocide exhibited on display behind him. Before University Police Department officers prevailed upon Jones to lower the tarp, he said he was protesting the “disgusting images” brought to UF by a group called the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform. […]» Read More
October 5, 2005
The First Amendment has been getting a workout in recent weeks on two college campuses — the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — where students are learning that free speech is a messy business. The two cases, one involving a columnist at UNC and the other a political cartoonist at UF, have inflamed minority groups — Muslims and blacks, respectively — provoking protests and debate. That’s the good news insofar as protest and debate are the currency of free speech. What’s not such good news is that the columnist was fired, while the […]» Read More
July 30, 2012
Shelli Gimelstein is a FIRE summer intern. Next to squirrels and Apple products, student newspapers are perhaps the most ubiquitous items on a college campus. You can see them peeking out of backpacks during the morning rush to class, sticking out amid a sea of coffee cups in the study lounge, or lying flat on lecture hall chairs as students sneak glances at the headlines while taking notes. So why are some universities and state commissions treating student newspapers — a staple of campus life that students rely on to know what’s really going on at their school — like […]» Read More
July 19, 2012
This is an odd one. A controversy is brewing at the University of Florida over the administration’s demand that century-old student newspaper The Independent Florida Alligator remove 19 of its signature orange newspaper racks from campus. Why is this happening? I have no idea, and the Alligator doesn’t seem to either. Here’s a segment of the Alligator article on this development, interspersed with my comments and questions: During Fall 2009, administrators proposed to UF’s Board of Trustees a rule that would prohibit distribution of all publications on campus unless approved by the UF vice president for business affairs, according to […]» Read More
June 1, 2012
Earlier this week, an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) discussed the growing popularity on college campuses of programs aimed at promoting civility. While one might reasonably ask whether there is a connection between exorbitant tuition rates, administrative bloat, and programs such as the “transformational, saturation approach” civility projects discussed in the article, there is no problem from an individual rights standpoint with colleges promoting civility. The individual rights problem, which the article barely even hints at, is that a large number of colleges and universities actually compel civility rather than simply encouraging it. The article focuses […]» Read More
April 24, 2012
FIRE President Greg Lukianoff’s appearance on Stossel last week is now available online. The episode highlights two current FIRE cases: Auburn University’s selective banning of student window hangings and the University of Cincinnati’s threats to arrest students who wanted to gather signatures outside of the school’s free speech zone. Greg also told the Florida State University audience that FSU’s speech codes are unconstitutional. Check out the video below! Watch the latest video at &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot; mce_href=&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;http://video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;quot;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;video.foxbusiness.com&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;» Read More
January 12, 2012
Just one day after FIRE announced that the University of Florida (UF) maintained the only remaining Speech Code of the Year for 2011, UF deleted the offending language from its policy. UF earned co-Speech Code of the Year “honors” for its Student Rights and Responsibilities policy, which warned students that ”Organizations or individuals that adversely upset the delicate balance of communal living will be subject to disciplinary action.” Precisely what would be deemed to upset this undefined “delicate balance”—and, therefore, what students would be punished for saying or doing—was left completely to the discretion of administrators. This impermissible vagueness meant […]» Read More
January 4, 2012
Today’s press release announces a welcome victory: After FIRE named California State University-Chico’s definition of sexual harassment one of two “Speech Codes of the Year” for 2011, the university has scrapped the language in question. As of mid-December 2011, Chico State maintained an informational page on sexual harassment stating that faculty members committed sexual harassment if they “implicitly devalue[d] students for their gender or sexual orientation.” Examples of such harassment included “reinforcement of sexist stereotypes through subtle, often unintentional means,” including the use of “stereotypic generalizations” and the “continual use of generic masculine terms such as to refer to people […]» Read More
December 27, 2011
Each month, FIRE singles out a particularly reprehensible campus speech code for our Speech Code of the Month designation. While all of 2011′s Speech Codes of the Month flagrantly violated students’ and faculty members’ right to free expression, two of them were so egregious that they deserve special mention as 2011′s Speech Codes of the Year. University of Florida. According to the University of Florida’s Student Rights and Responsibilities policy, “Organizations or individuals that adversely upset the delicate balance of communal living will be subject to disciplinary action by the University.” If there has ever been a textbook example of […]» Read More
January 18, 2011
The Independent Florida Alligator reports that a Florida state court has ruled in favor of University of Florida (UF) graduate Frank Bracco, who filed suit against the university after it denied him access to video and audio recordings of UF Student Senate meetings. UF had claimed that the recordings were confidential educational records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The court rejected this contention, finding that UF’s actions were in violation of Florida’s public records law. Read the full story here.» Read More
Victory for Religious Liberty at University of Florida, But Freedom of Association Still in Jeopardy
February 4, 2009
University of Florida (UF) has revised its student organization policy to recognize the right of religious organizations to limit membership and leadership positions to those who share the group’s religious beliefs. This policy might sound obvious, but it is not. Student affairs officials often get confused about religious freedom and the freedom of association. They mistakenly believe that the university’s non-discrimination policy trumps the First Amendment. While a non-discrimination policy may be well-intentioned, it may not be enforced at a public university against the religious or political beliefs of a student organization. Likewise, any private university that truly values liberty […]» Read More
December 10, 2007
After FIRE and the Attorney General of Florida intervened, the University of Florida (UF) has lifted its pressure on student groups to apologize for putting up posters advertising the film “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” Several student groups—including UF’s Law School Republicans, College Republicans, Jewish Student Union, and Jewish Law Students Association—had put up the posters to advertise a November 13, 2007, screening of the film. The posters used the headline, “RADICAL ISLAM WANTS YOU DEAD.” On November 26, Vice President for Student Affairs Patricia Telles-Irvin e-mailed all students at Florida a letter entitled “Official Response […]» Read More
January 8, 2007
Tonight, millions of Americans will watch the Ohio State Buckeyes battle the Florida Gators for college football’s national championship. Beverages and junk food will be consumed, face paint will be applied, and fight songs will be bellowed until voices go hoarse. (Indeed, I imagine that in many parts of Ohio and Florida, all of these things have already come to pass.) While commentators and fans will spend the next several hours trumpeting the various strengths of each squad, gamely debating whether Ohio State’s Troy Smith is a more valuable quarterback than Florida’s unconventional tandem of Chris Leak and Tim […]» Read More