University of Montana

Location: Missoula, Montana
Website: http://www.umt.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Montana has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

This school does not have any cases at this time.

Red Light Policies

  • University Policies: Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Retaliation 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment is covered under this policy if it is based upon an individual’s race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Harassing conduct may take various forms, including, name-calling, graphic or written statements (including the use of cell phones or the Internet), or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating. Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Sex-based harassment includes sexual harassment, which is further defined below, and non-sexual harassment based on stereotypical notions of what is female/feminine v. male/masculine or a failure to conform to those gender stereotypes.

    In determining whether harassment has created a hostile environment, consideration will be made not only as to whether the conduct was unwelcome to the person who feels harassed, but also whether a reasonable person in a similar situation would have perceived the conduct as objectively offensive.

    A Hostile Environment based on race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services, veteran status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation exists when harassment:

    • is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities ; or
    • when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment.

    Harassment that creates a hostile environment (“hostile environment harassment”) violates this policy.

    The University may also take appropriate action if it does not find discrimination or harassment that creates a hostile environment or results in a tangible employment or educational action, but (a) the University found that the respondent engaged in disruptive behavior or (b) to prevent the creation of a hostile environment.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Guide to Event Planning in the UC: Free Speech Area 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    The University has set aside the Library Mall as a free speech zone, where speakers are permitted to speak to the public on any subject of interest to them. The EPO schedules this space on a first-come, first-serve basis. Use of the space is subject to reasonable limitations regarding time of day, place and manner of speaking. A speaker may also be limited in the amount of time he or she can speak, so that others can use the zone.

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  • Equal Opportunity & Affirmative Action Office: Harassment and Sexual Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    To be considered unlawful harassment, conduct must occur that creates a hostile work or educational environment, and must be directed at an individual because of his or her membership in a protected class of people. A hostile environment is created when conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or participation in UM activities, or when a reasonable person would find the conduct sufficiently offensive. Conduct constituting harassment includes bullying, humiliating, intimidating, or other types of abusive behavior designed to make a person feel degraded because of their membership in a protected class.

    Sexual harassment is a particular form of harassment and is strictly prohibited. This type of harassment can occur by conduct that creates a hostile work environment or when tangible benefits are directly tied to an individual’s submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual conduct. Conduct creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive environment includes subjecting an individual to unwelcome sexual comments, unwelcome physical contact, or offensive sexual materials as a regular part of the work or educational environment. Whether the conduct amounts to sexual harassment is determined from the perspective of an objectively reasonable person of the same gender in the same situation.

     

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  • Associated Students of the University of Montana: Free Speech 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    Would your group like to hand out pamphlets or share an idea on campus? Listed below are the areas you may do this. … * Use of the Library Mall, Oval, Washington Park, and other outdoor areas is on a first-come, first-served basis and subject to the time, place, and manner restrictions specific to each area. The area between Mansfield Library and the University Center is designated as the Free Speech Zone. * Use of the Free Speech Zone may only be restricted in terms of speaking time and volume. … * Distribution of printed materials is allowed without permission in the Oval, Centennial Circle (the area near Grizzly Bear statue), the brick walkway from Arthur Avenue to University Hall, and the Free Speech Zone. Distribution is also allowed, at least 40 feet from any entrance, at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, Montana Theatre, Adams Center, and Gallagher Business Building.

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  • Board of Regents Policy & Procedures Manual: Information Technology – Students 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    GUIDELINES: RECOMMENDATIONS, NOT REQUIREMENTS … The following items represent, but do not fully define, misuse of information technology resources … Using resources for derogatory, racially offensive, sexually offensive, harassing, threatening, or discriminatory purposes.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Conduct Code: General Misconduct 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Malicious intimidation or harassment of another. When a student, with the intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, or harass (1) causes bodily injury to another, (2) causes reasonable apprehension of bodily injury in another, (3) damages, destroys, or defaces any property of another or any public property, or (4) makes repeated, persistent and/or severe communications, including telephone, digital, or electronic communications, that are unwelcome to the receiver.

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  • Departments of Education and Justice, ‘arguably the biggest free-speech-on-campus story of the year.’

    December 27, 2013

    by Timothy Dionisopoulos The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has released a list of the worst colleges in the United States for free speech. In an article on the Huffington Post, FIRE listed the top ten most egregious free speech abuses on campus since March of 2012. DePaul University made the list after the school charged conservative student activist Kristopher Del Campo with multiple violations after he published the names of students who admitted to vandalizing the Young Americans for Freedom’s pro-life display. Troy University was profiled for their restrictive “harassment” policy, which FIRE claimed “prohibits an astonishing amount of protected speech, including almost […]

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  • Talking Dirty: 8 Cases of Censoring Sex Talk on Campus

    November 28, 2013

    by Phillip Moon College is all about students being all exposed to new ideas and experiences-and we don’t just mean freshman freaking out at their first party. Academic freedom is supposed to support free speech, but a mix of political correctness, unresolved gray areas and idiots who somehow got into college complicate speech and lead to censorship. Below are several cases of sex-based college censorship, courtesy of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). 1. University of Montana Agreement Threatens Sexuality Courses On May 9, 2013 the University of Montana and Departments of Justice and Education reached an agreement dealing […]

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  • Feds reverse course on new campus speech restrictions

    November 26, 2013

    by Bob Kellogg The Departments of Education and Justice have decided to back away from its highly controversial “blueprint” for defining sexual harassment on college campuses nationwide. William Creeley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says last May the University of Montana, in a settlement agreement with the feds, was required to adopt a sexual harassment policy that was shockingly dangerous to free speech. That policy, he explains, broadly defined sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” – including speech. “Of course, if applied as the federal government wanted it to be applied, this would cover […]

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  • Feds reverse course on new campus speech restrictions

    November 26, 2013

    by Bob Kellogg The Departments of Education and Justice have decided to back away from its highly controversial “blueprint” for defining sexual harassment on college campuses nationwide. William Creeley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says last May the University of Montana, in a settlement agreement with the feds, was required to adopt a sexual harassment policy that was shockingly dangerous to free speech. That policy, he explains, broadly defined sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” – including speech. “Of course, if applied as the federal government wanted it to be applied, this would cover […]

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  • FIRE Makes the OCR Back Down

    November 24, 2013

    by KC Johnson An important victory for FIRE in the organization’s efforts to encourage the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to return to a position of respecting the due process rights of the nation’s college students. Last week, the OCR (which under 1st-term Obama appointee Russlynn Ali consistently ignored FIRE) sent a rather churlish letter to FIRE president Greg Lukianoff in which the agency nonetheless conceded–apparently for the first time–that “the agreement in the Montana case represents the resolution of that particular case and not OCR or DOJ policy.” In other words: the Montana “blueprint” is a “blueprint” no more. Thanks in […]

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  • Feds Back Down on Sexual Harassment Guidelines on Campuses

    November 22, 2013

    by Mary Lou Byrd The federal government is backing away from its previously issued guidelines on sexual harassment that it said would serve as a “blueprint” nationwide for colleges and universities. The Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Education (DOE) previously issued guidelines to the University of Montana suggesting that “unwelcome” speech could constitute sexual harassment. The departments said in a letter to the university that the new definition would serve as a “blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country.” However, in a letter sent to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Catherine Lhamon, the new head of the DOE’s Office for […]

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  • Justice and Education Departments Backing Away from Controversial ‘Blueprint’ for Sexual Misconduct Policy

    November 22, 2013

    by Russell Westerholm The U.S. Departments of Education and Justice are now moving away from the sexual assault policy of the University of Montana (UM) as a “blueprint” for colleges nationwide to follow. According to a press release from FIRE, the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) said a recent agreement does not represent the views of the OCR or DOJ. UM made an agreement with the Justice and Education Departments that introduced what FIRE viewed as unconstitutional changes that restrict free speech. Now, OCR’s new head Catherine Lhamon wrote in a letter to FIRE the agencies are not associating themselves […]

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  • DOJ waves away free speech, privacy at U. Montana

    November 16, 2013

    by Robby Soave Teachers at the University of Montana who fail to submit to a sexual harassment prevention tutorial will have their names added to a list and sent to the Department of Justice under the university’s new policy, which many experts say is intrusive and contradictory. The new policy is the culmination of months of negotiation between the university and the federal government. The university was accused of inadequately guarding against harassment on campus, and failing to respond properly when harassment did occur. To make amends, Montana agreed to implement the DOJ’s harassment guidelines, which are intended to serve as […]

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  • ‘Blueprint’ Balancing Act

    October 18, 2013

    by Allie Grasgreen One little word made the University of Montana’s settlement agreement with the federal government different from all the others. “Blueprint.” With that, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education made Montana the model institution for responding to sexual harassment and assault, an issue that’s receiving more public and federal scrutiny than ever. It thrust Montana officials even further into the public spotlight than they already were, following a string of sexual assault reports, the most high-profile of which involved football players and accusations that administrators were sweeping the issue under the rug. And in trying to comply with what some say is the […]

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  • UM must right its academic course first

    October 17, 2013

    by Mehrdad Kia In the past two years, the University of Montana has scrambled from one crisis to the next. Like a football team that keeps on fumbling the ball inside its own end zone, the university cannot expect to move forward and win the game against tough competition unless its leadership can avoid getting out-coached and turning over the ball. Hardly a week passes without the community learning about another embarrassing incident or a controversial decision. There is now no doubt that the crises the university faces today are self-inflicted. The mishandling of the sexual assault allegations and their […]

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  • Faculty: Sexual Harassment Policy Approved by Feds ‘Orwellian’

    October 2, 2013

    by Mary Lou Byrd Faculty members expressed alarm at new sexual harassment policies at the University of Montana approved by the Departments of Justice and Education. Of special concern is a requirement that those professors who fail to complete training are being reported to the federal government. Faculty members questioned exactly what information the university felt obliged to report to the DOJ and asked how the agency plans to use the information in a letter to University of Montana President Royce Engstrom, the Missoulian reported last week. They also asked what additional information the university would provide to the DOJ if the agency […]

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  • Federal government approves controversial University of Montana sexual harassment policy

    October 1, 2013

    Even after a major revision to a policy on sexual harassment, the University of Montana (UM) is still causing alarm among its faculty and other watchdog organizations for impeding on basic free speech rights. According to a Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) news release, UM’s new sexual harassment policy has gained the approval, from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), it had been waiting for. Despite the revision and federal approval, FIRE still claims it contains language that threatens faculty and students rights to free speech under the First Amendment. The […]

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  • University of Montana Sexual Harassment Policy Awaits DOJ and OCR Approval Two Months After Deadline

    September 11, 2013

    After the University of Montana (UM) agreed to revise a policy containing and ultra-broad definition of sexual harassment, it has yet to be formally approved by the two government agencies that helped draft and revise it.According to a news release from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Education Department (ED) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) have yet to approve the UM’s new policy.The DOJ and OCR originally helped the school draft what they called a "blueprint" for universities and colleges in crafting a sexual harassment policy. However, FIRE led a […]

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  • University of Montana Proposes Less Strict Sexual Harassment Guidelines

    September 11, 2013

    by Mary Lou Byrd The Washington Free Beacon Following months of controversy surrounding sexual harassment policies on campus, the University of Montana has adopted less restrictive guidelines than those proposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Education (DOE). The Washington Free Beaconpreviously reported that the DOJ and DOE expanded its definition of sexual harassment on campuses to include speech. This expansion caused a firestorm of criticism led by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The DOJ and DOE wrote that their expanded definition of sexual harassment would serve as “blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country.” FIRE described […]

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  • Speaking ethically

    March 2, 2006

    University of Montana President George Dennison says his draft “Code of Ethics for The University of Montana” is simply a set of ethical guidelines the university community should subscribe to in light of a contemporary culture awash in ethical quandaries. Though he insists the code isn’t intended as an official policy document, Dennison says he’s currently seeking its endorsement by “various areas of university and faculty governance.” “It’s a position statement of what we all agree to,” Dennison says of the draft. “It’s not intended to be an addition to university policy; it’s a code of ethics to which we […]

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  • A Year Later, Impact of Feds’ ‘Blueprint’ Comes into Focus

    August 28, 2014

    Last summer, FIRE sounded the alarm about a shockingly broad definition of sexual harassment being pushed by the Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) as a “blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country.” Announced at the conclusion of a year-long investigation into the University of Montana’s sexual assault policies and practices, the resolution agreement and findings letter the feds labeled a “blueprint” defined sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech). And this all-encompassing definition wasn’t just a general characterization of sexual harassment; rather, it was the exact policy language that ED and DOJ were requiring the University of Montana to adopt verbatim.

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  • U. of Montana Won’t Report Names of Faculty to Government for Missing Sexual Misconduct Training

    November 21, 2013

    The Missoulian reported earlier this month that the University of Montana (UM) will not report to the federal government a list of names of faculty members who do not complete training on sexual misconduct. The announcement breaks with the requirements set forth by the university’s May 9 agreement with the Departments of Justice and Education (also known as the “blueprint”). This is a positive and significant change from the resolution agreement provision that earned criticism from FIRE as well as UM faculty. UM Legal Counsel Lucy France commented to the Missoulian: “There was a concern in the resolution agreement that the university would provide names of people who completed […]

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  • Smoke and Mirrors: Four Clarifications About the ‘Blueprint’

    November 5, 2013

    Recently, National Women’s Law Center fellow Fran Faircloth criticized FIRE on the YWCA’s blog for speaking out against the federal “blueprint” for campus sexual misconduct policies set forth by the Departments of Justice and Education on May 9. In her article, titled “Pants on FIRE: Four Myths (and Truths) About the Work of the Departments of Education and Justice on Sexual Violence at Schools,” Faircloth falls into two familiar traps. She conflates physical conduct with speech and trusts colleges and universities to apply vague and overbroad rules properly, despite the decades-long history of the threat to free speech presented by […]

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  • University of Montana Faculty Fight Back Against New Policies

    October 2, 2013

    University of Montana (UM) faculty members continue to voice significant concerns about the university’s new sexual harassment policies and procedures, approved by the Departments of Justice and Education last week. Faculty are concerned about a provision that requires staff training on sexual assault and requires that the university provide the Department of Justice with the names of faculty who do not attend this training. Further, as The Washington Free Beacon reports today, several faculty members were troubled by the new sexual harassment policy’s apparent presumption of guilt and authorization of punishment for protected speech. Stewart Justman, Director of UM’s Liberal […]

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  • Stephen Henrick on the Sexual Assault Case OCR Ignored

    October 1, 2013

    Former FIRE legal intern Stephen Henrick wrote for The Huffington Post yesterday to comment on the Department of Education’s double standard when it comes to Title IX enforcement. In his article, Henrick explains: In May of 2012, a student identifying himself as “John Doe” filed suit against the University of Montana claiming he was about to be railroaded into a false conviction for sexual assault. Although the judge hearing the case dismissed it based on a legal technicality, the decision noted that “the process applied to Plaintiff Doe and the behavior of University officials in investigating and prosecuting this matter […]

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  • Feds Approve University of Montana Sexual Harassment Policy That Threatens Speech; Faculty Who Refuse Training to Be Reported to Federal Government

    October 1, 2013

    WASHINGTON, October 1, 2013—The University of Montana’s (UM’s) new sexual harassment policy threatens the First Amendment rights of students and faculty. Drafted in consultation with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the policy was approved by the agencies last week. Faculty members are also alarmed that a list of faculty who refuse to attend the university’s trainings on the new policy will be reported to the federal government. “Not only has the federal government approved an unconstitutional speech code, it has demanded a list of the names of faculty members who don’t attend a training […]

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  • U. of Montana Faculty Criticize Mandatory Reports to Government on Sexual Misconduct Training Attendance

    September 27, 2013

    I teach a legal writing class on Wednesday nights, and I take attendance because my school requires it. While the school may have any number of uses for such records (proof for accreditation, for example), the idea of schools taking attendance is generally uncontroversial. After all, it’s not as if the federal government is demanding to know the names of people who don’t show up to my class. Alas, things are not so simple at the University of Montana. As FIRE has reported extensively, this past May the Departments of Education and Justice entered into a resolution agreement with the […]

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  • Federal Slowdown: Departments of Education and Justice Stall Approval for New University of Montana Sexual Harassment Policy

    September 10, 2013

    WASHINGTON, September 10, 2013—The University of Montana’s new sexual harassment policy, adopted in late August shortly after the start of classes, does not contain the broad definition of “sexual harassment” that sparked months of national criticism led by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Drafted in consultation with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), the new policy defines sexual harassment more narrowly and promises to comply with “free speech requirements for students and employees.” Troublingly, however, the Departments have thus far failed to officially approve the policy. The agencies’ approval is required […]

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  • New Student Orientation Has Started at U. Montana; Still No New Policies Posted

    August 23, 2013

    With first-year law students on their third day of class, and undergrads on their second day of orientation, it’s long past time for the University of Montana (UMT) to reveal its newly revised policies concerning sexual misconduct. Surprisingly, UMT’s old policy on sexual harassment remains on its website, leaving students and faculty unsure about what exactly is prohibited this school year and what must be reported. As detailed in the resolution agreement, revised policies must be approved by the Departments of Education and Justice before being fully implemented. Perhaps the revised policies are stuck at this stage of the process […]

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  • Under New Definition, U of Montana Tutorial is Sexual Harassment

    June 10, 2013

    By now, Torch readers will be familiar with the Departments of Education (ED) and Justice’s (DOJ’s) new definition of sexual harassment, as stated in their May 9 letter to the University of Montana (UMT): "any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature," including speech. As FIRE has explained, under the requirements of this federal "blueprint," speech constitutes "sexual harassment" if only one unreasonably sensitive person finds the speech offensive. Indeed, the ED and DOJ explicitly rejected the requirement in UMT policy that conduct be objectively offensive to a reasonable person before it could be properly deemed "sexual harassment." So naturally, applying […]

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  • University of Montana Condemns ‘Hateful’ Posters, but Keeps Content Secret from Students

    February 2, 2011

    University of Montana President Royce Engstrom has condemned “hateful” and “racially derogatory” posters that appeared on the campus last week via a campuswide e-mail, according to the independent Montana Kaimin campus newspaper. The UM administration, however, is refusing to give any specifics as to the content of the flyers. One official is quoted as saying “[i]t’s good that they’re not swept under the rug, and nobody’s trying to hide it.” But how are students served by universities refusing to share the content of potentially threatening messages appearing on campus? Read the full story here.

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