Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit
University of Nevada, Las Vegas 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.
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
[T]he university … will not tolerate any harassment of or disrespect for persons because of race, sex, age, color, national origin, ethnicity, creed, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, pregnancy, veteran status, or political affiliation.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
Inappropriate use would include but is not limited to: … Using a computer to harass, send offensive messages, or knowingly cause a computer or system crash.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
It is the policy of this University not to interfere with an individual’s right to free speech as expressed in the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Nevada. However, it is also the policy of the university to provide a suitable environment for its faculty, staff, and students to study, conduct research, and perform their other activities without undue interference or disturbance. Therefore, the University has designated certain areas for these activities and will require any and all individuals, without regard to the content of their activities, to confine such activities to these areas. These areas include the Academic Mall from the sidewalk immediately north of the Alumni Amphitheater to the foot of the steps at the Performing Arts Center plaza; the East-West Mall from the east sidewalk of the Academic Mall to the eastern edge of the McDermott Physical Education Building plaza; the Alumni Walk from the Lied Library to the south end of the walk where it empties into the Thomas and Mack Center parking lot. Not included are the Dickinson Plaza at the Lied Library and the interior courtyard (above the steps connecting the courtyard to the Alumni Walk) of the Classroom Building Complex. … Any individual observed on the University grounds conducting expressive activities in an undesignated area will be approached by a university employee and will be courteously asked to move to one of the designated areas to continue their activities.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Under this policy, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual or gender bias nature constitute sexual harassment when: … The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment in which to work or learn.
Examples of unwelcome conduct of a sexual or gender related nature that may constitute sexual harassment may, but do not necessarily, include, and are not limited to: … Sexually explicit or gender related statements, comments, questions, jokes, innuendoes, anecdotes, or gestures; … Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, magazines, cartoons, or screen savers ….
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Harassment, which is any verbal, visual, electronic, or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, and/or ongoing that it adversely affects, or has the purpose or logical consequence of interfering with any student’s educational program; or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment within the University community. Harassment can include, but is not limited to, the above behaviors towards any person because of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation/identity, age, creed, national origin, disability, veteran status, or on any other basis.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Sexually harassing any person, male or female, by making one or more unwelcome sex-related comments or sexual overtures, engaging in other similar physical behaviors, or displaying offensive visual materials which interfere with, or are intended to interfere with another person’s work or study. Even one incident, if it is sufficiently serious, may constitute sexual harassment.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Threatening, assaulting, or causing physical harm to oneself or to another. Uttering any words or performing any acts that cause physical injury, or threaten any individual, or interfere with any individual’s rightful actions, including but not limited to the
1. words or actions that would cause an individual to fear for his or her immediate
2. the use of physical force against an individual.
3. repeatedly contacting another person when the contact is unwanted.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
As members of the University community, students can reasonably expect all the guarantees and protections afforded students of public institutions by the United States and Nevada Constitutions, including: … The right to engage in inquiry and discussion, to exchange thought and opinion, and to speak, write, and print freely on any subject in accordance with the guarantees of federal and state laws.
June 5, 2014
At Las Vegas Review-Journal UNLV’s presidential search committee met Monday, settling on a process and job description for the school’s next leader. Specifically, as reported by the Review-Journal’s Kristy Totten, the committee wants a diverse group of three to five candidates to visit campus and complete interviews. Those candidates must have a mix of academic and business skills. The committee left out one very important criteria: UNLV’s next president must be an unrelenting advocate for free speech on campus. If the search committee needs some guidance, it can look to the University of Oregon. Susan Kruth of the Foundation for Individual […]» Read More
March 1, 2006
by David Beito, Ralph Luker, and Robert “K. C.” Johnson Perspectives (American Historical Association) Has the AHA turned its back on academic freedom? In January, members present at its business meeting rejected a resolution to condemn attacks on academic freedom, whether from the right or from the left. Instead, they passed a weaker resolution that selectively condemned only threats coming from the right.We weighed into this controversy as part of a three person “left/right” coalition for academic freedom. Our chances were slim and we knew it. Only in December did we learn that the AHA business meeting would consider a […]» Read More
October 24, 2005
At the start of the last school year, activists at DePaul University set up a pair of tables along a student thoroughfare and distributed literature to passers-by. They caught the eye of faculty member Thomas Klocek, who took one of their handouts and read about Israel’s “brutal and murderous occupation” of “Palestine” as well as its “apartheid violence” in the West Bank and Gaza. This was provocative stuff — but nothing out of the ordinary for the two groups behind it all, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and United Muslims Moving Ahead (UMMA). Engaging the students in a discussion […]» Read More
April 16, 2005
By Mark Bergin at World Magazine Scott McConnell disputes the postmodern fads of elementary pedagogy, calling multiculturalism and lax discipline educational stumbling blocks. The former graduate student at Le Moyne College in Syracuse advocates a more traditional classroom—complete with cultural value judgments and corporal punishment. Such ideas, according to Le Moyne officials, merit expulsion. Mr. McConnell’s story tops the Collegiate Network’s 2005 Campus Outrage Awards, an annual listing of ridiculous happenings in academia. The Pollys—so dubbed in mockery of political correctness run amok—are meant to incite more than just chuckles among conservatives. “We want to focus national attention on the absurdity […]» Read More
April 14, 2005
By Jim Brown at Agape Press A higher education watchdog group has unveiled its annual “Campus Outrage Awards,” documenting the worst “absurdities” and most egregious examples of political correctness on college campuses this year. The president of Harvard University receiving a faculty vote of no confidence for suggesting that innate differences might account for some of the inequalities between men and women in certain fields of endeavor; and Duke University hosting a Palestine Solidarity Movement conference with a segment designed to recruit students for terrorist groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad — those are just two of the dubious honorees […]» Read More
April 1, 2005
Collegiate Network Duke spends over $50,000 on a tactical training session for activists dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, while a graduate student at LeMoyne College is expelled for writing that light spanking has a legitimate role in classroom discipline. A UNLV professor is engulfed in a whirlwind of controversy after making a remark about the financial planning habits of homosexuals, while a student at Occidental College is convicted of sexually harassing the whole school over the radio. Ward Churchill is defended by the academic community for declaring that victims of the World Trade Center bombing deserved […]» Read More
August 2, 2004
In 1964, students at the University of California, Berkeley staged a massive occupation of the school’s administration building, demanding that they be allowed to express their views on campus. Eight hundred were arrested during the sit-in, which took place in the midst of the civil rights movement. These days your civil disobedience, if it can be called that, is a little more mannerly, adhering to time and place restrictions on most campuses. At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, petitioning, leafletting and demonstrations are permitted in so-called free speech zones. The issue of free speech on campus arose recently after […]» Read More
November 14, 2014
What happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas. This is especially true of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’s (UNLV’s) disregard for academic freedom, recently exposed by The Ralston Report and covered by Inside Higher Ed. The controversy arose in August after the Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER), an independent think tank operated out of UNLV, released a study (pages 15–40 of the PDF) analyzing a proposed “margin” tax on high-earning businesses to help fund K–12 education throughout the Silver State. The study concluded that the tax would provide some economic benefit to the state, in that […]» Read More
September 4, 2014
Yesterday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal published an editorial lamenting that students are returning to college campuses where free speech too often falls victim to speech codes. As the editorial notes, opposition to the First Amendment is all too common on campus. Using FIRE’s recent case at the University of Oregon as an example, where a student was hit with five conduct charges for a four-word joke (“I hit it first”), the Review-Journal points out that many universities enforce broad harassment policies against their students in an attempt to create an environment of tolerance. FIRE rightly and specifically noted that the […]» Read More
July 9, 2014
FIRE is pleased that so many media outlets have covered the project’s launch. But in addition to the news coverage reporting on the project, I am thrilled that the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently ran an editorial urging my alma mater, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), to abandon its speech codes. (The Review-Journal actually ran another editorial last month urging UNLV to hire as its new president “a strong free-speech advocate to lead the university.”)» Read More
January 27, 2014
If the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) don’t get it, at least the Las Vegas Review-Journal does: UNLV and UNR, as public institutions, cannot maintain their broad and vague prohibitions on “offensive” or “disrespect[ful]” speech. The Review-Journal spoke with FIRE’s Samantha Harris for an editorial published yesterday explaining how the Nevada schools earned their “red light” ratings in our Spotlight database and why this should concern Nevada students. “Students across the country have been disciplined and expelled for exercising their constitutional rights,” the editorial says. “Make no mistake, cracking down on ideas is tyrannical.” After all, colleges and universities especially are supposed […]» Read More
September 18, 2012
In April of 2011, my colleague Azhar Majeed wrote to University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) President Neal Smatresk urging him to revise two policies (UNLV’s Statement on Diversity in the University Community and its Student Computer Use Policy) that violated the First Amendment by restricting constitutionally protected speech. When I joined FIRE’s staff in March, I took particular interest in our efforts to fight for free speech at UNLV, not only because I am a UNLV alumnus (Class of 2000—Go Runnin’ Rebels!), but also because reforming these two restrictive student speech policies would cap work that I began nearly […]» 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
March 11, 2011
From TaxProfBlog comes word that the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, which needs to fill a $2.26 million budget hole at its William S. Boyd School of Law, has decided to raise law school tuition and fees by a total of approximately $2.2 million (a 15-20 percent hike to the $20,000 in-state tuition and $33,400 out-of-state tuition for each student) while cutting a mere $68,351 from its operating budget and shedding a grand total of zero faculty or staff positions. You have to wonder: if UNLV law is so uniquely free of administrative bloat that $68,351 is really all it can afford to […]» Read More
February 22, 2011
On February 7, an article was ripped out of several copies of The Vagus Nerve, a monthly art and literature magazine of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and then symbolically defaced with Twinkies. The article in question argued that some girls should wear jeans instead of leggings and also “put down the Twinkie.” This appears to be the second instance of college newspaper-related mischief so far this month, as 2,000-3,000 copies of The Towerlight, Towson University’s student newspaper, were stolen from various campus locations on February 10. As we have often stated on The Torch, newspaper vandalism is not only […]» Read More
Editorial Teaches Critics of the ‘UNLV Civility Statement’ about the True Purpose of Higher Education
January 31, 2011
Recently, the University of Nevada – Las Vegas (UNLV) released the “UNLV Civility Statement,” which urges students to act civilly, but welcomes “unpopular and unsettling ideas” as an integral part of intellectual inquiry. In response, The Rebel Yell, UNLV’s campus newspaper, published a misguided editorial that called upon the administration to punish acts of incivility. Today, the Las Vegas Review Journal ran an excellent response to The Rebel Yell, kindly reminding it that the purpose of higher education is not to proscribe ideas, but to foster an atmosphere of learning where students are exposed to widely varying viewpoints, including those that one might find “uncivil.”» Read More
January 25, 2011
As reported by the Rebel Yell student newspaper last week, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Faculty Senate has approved a new civility policy statement that expresses the university’s intent to foster civil expression on campus. The statement will appear online as a supplement to the university’s existing policy on hate crimes. The adoption of a civility statement at any university is understandably a matter of concern, given the tendency of many universities to censor and punish campus expression for being “uncivil.” Johns Hopkins University, to use one prominent example, finds itself still on our Red Alert list years after it passed […]» Read More
May 1, 2009
It seems like every week we’re reporting that FIRE’s short film on the University of Delaware’s experiment in thought reform has doubled the amount of views received on YouTube from the week before—a trend I’m all too happy to continue. This week the folks at Reason (which—throwback!—published Alan Charles Kors’ article “Thought Reform 101″ back in 2000) gave FIRE an extra hand by blogging about the video on their website, helping to push it toward 50,000 views. Thought reform at Delaware was also the subject of Robert’s article this week for Pajamas Media. Robert also discussed Virginia Tech’s efforts at […]» Read More
April 29, 2009
In a victory for freedom of speech and conscience on campus, the chancellor of the University of Nevada system has ordered UNLV to rewrite a proposed bias incident policy that drew the ire of free speech activists, including FIRE and the ACLU of Nevada. According to an article in the Las Vegas Sun, Chancellor Jim Rogers, who read the policy this morning for the first time, said, “My initial reaction is that I’m very, very uncomfortable with it. I think it is far too restrictive. I think it really will impede freedom of speech.” “The chancellor’s office would never support […]» Read More
November 28, 2005
“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Those words have empowered bullied schoolchildren for decades, but in the adult world, words cannot only hurt you, they can get you fired. The classroom has often been regarded as a free marketplace of ideas, a place where any subject, no matter how controversial, can be discussed. Such freedom, though, entails a great deal of responsibility. Problems lie in the ambiguousness of the phrase “academic freedom and responsibility,” which makes the interpretation of student and faculty rights exceptionally difficult, leading to situations like the one that occurred […]» Read More
April 1, 2005
Today the Collegiate Network released its “2005 Campus Outrage Awards,” and Le Moyne College received a not-so-coveted first-place award for dismissing student Scott McConnell for advocating corporal punishment. In addition to this dubious distinction, McConnell’s case has been covered by The New York Times, NPR, The Baltimore Sun, The American Spectator, The Post-Standard, and the Christian Science Monitor. As I said in our press release on this case: “The fight for the academic freedom of Scott McConnell and for all Le Moyne students will not end just because administrators don’t feel like addressing the issue.” Let’s hope Le Moyne realizes that this debate […]» Read More