Location: Grand Forks, North Dakota
Federal Circuit: 8th Circuit
University of North Dakota 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.
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
Students, groups, and organizations associated for religious purposes may not co-sponsor religious activities on University property with a person or group of persons who are not students, faculty, or administrative staff members.
Persons wishing to conduct political or religious activities in residence halls must register that intent in writing with the Assistant Director at least three days in advance of that activity. The Assistant Director will refer the individual to the hall council for approval of main lounge usage for such activities.
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies
Information that may not be posted any time or anyplace:
1 . Materials mentioning alcohol or implying its use.
2 . Materials concerning establishments whose primary purpose is the sale of alcohol.
3. Materials that are obscene, profane, or vulgar.
Code of Student Life: Regulations Regarding Signs, Posters, Handbills and Other Promotional Material 14-15
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies
No posters or other publicly displayed or distributed materials should contain obscene, vulgar, or libelous material, nor should
any material be distributed which contains material in violation of the Code of Student Life or any federal, state or local law or
which makes an unauthorized solicitation.
Code of Student Life: Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy Statement and Procedures for Complaints of Discrimination or Harassment 14-15
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Harassment, by definition, must be sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive so as to interfere with or limit the ability of the individual or group to participate in, or benefit from, the University of North Dakota’s programs or activities.
Harassment based on race, national origin, color, disability, age, or other protected class status may include, but is not limited to, acts of bullying, verbal or physical conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment in any University activity or program.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
Browsing and/or sharing of pornographic material, or Internet chat of the sexual nature is prohibited on University owned computers.
Users shall not use the system for any illegal purpose or to enter or send any material that is obscene or defamatory, or material that is intended to annoy, harass or alarm another person which serves no legitimate purpose.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
Any peaceful assembly or demonstration will be registered with the Associate Dean of Student Life prior to the event. Whenever possible, at least 24 hours of lead-time will be given.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Harassment of an individual or group that is related to their status in a protected class that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive so as to interfere with or limit the ability of the individual or group to participate in or benefit from the University of North Dakota’s programs or activities is prohibited. Harassment may take the form of oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is related to an individual’s or group’s protected class status. This includes gender, race, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, genetic information (GINA), color, disability, or other protected classes.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
College and university students are both citizens and members of the academic community. As citizens, students should
enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly and rights of petition that other citizens enjoy….
March 24, 2015
By Dave Thompson at Prairie Public News A House committee is considering a bill that would allow a college student facing suspension or expulsion to have a lawyer present at the hearing. The Senate has already passed the bill. “It’s shocking to most people that, in 2015, students don’t enjoy that right, given how much is at stake when one’s education is on the line,” said Joseph Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). “There’s a never ending list throughout the country of students expelled in hearings where they’re not allowed to have lawyers actively participating on […]» Read More
February 1, 2015
By Joe Cohn at Grand Forks Herald The following testimony in support of Senate Bill 2150 was submitted to the North Dakota Senate Judiciary Committee by Joe Cohn, legislative and policy director for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). It has been edited for length. I am an attorney and executive for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending core constitutional rights on our nation’s university campuses. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty and sanctity of conscience -; the essential qualities of individual liberty and […]» Read More
January 26, 2015
By John Hageman at The Bismarck Tribune A North Dakota legislative committee took no action Monday on a bill that would give the state’s university students the right to an attorney during disciplinary hearings. The proposal, Senate Bill 2150, would give students and student organizations the right to an attorney or non-attorney advocate — hired at the student’s or organization’s expense — who could fully participate in the hearing process. The right would not extend to accusations of academic dishonesty. The Senate Judiciary Committee did not make any recommendation on the bill Monday after a 90-minute hearing, said bill sponsor […]» Read More
January 20, 2015
By Courtney Such at The College Fix Universities have a long history of prohibiting access to legal representation for students in disciplinary hearings, for matters as serious as sexual assault. North Dakota would become just the second state in the nation to let students bring a lawyer when they are accused of non-academic infractions, under a bill introduced earlier this month. The legislation is too late for one student, whose treatment at the hands of the University of North Dakota gave urgency to the cause of disciplinary reform. SB-2150 would create a new section of state law “relating to student […]» Read More
January 19, 2015
By Ashe Schow at Washington Examiner The U.S. Constitution’s Sixth Amendment guarantees, among other things, the right to counsel in criminal proceedings. Colleges and universities have thus far skirted this right in campus sexual assault cases by stating the hearings are disciplinary — not criminal — in nature. But because the information used in those hearings can be turned over to police to be used in criminal proceedings, allowing students involved in the hearing — the accusers and the accused — to have legal representation is just common sense. And yet, it’s not so common. Only one state — North […]» Read More
March 14, 2014
By Bob Unruh at WND.com A federal judge has ruled that a series of claims by a student-athlete against his school will go to trial after he was branded a rapist during a campus hearing even though a local prosecutor who investigated said the case should be dropped. A ruling from U.S. District Judge Arthur Spiegel rejected the request by Xavier University to toss the entire case. It ordered a trial on claims by Dezmine Wells regarding breach of contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel through injury to his personal reputation, his profession reputation and with malice, negligence and discrimination. The […]» Read More
February 25, 2014
by Michael Barone, Mona Charen, Phyllis Schlafly and Heather MacDonald at WND A national rights organization is expressing alarm that the Obama administration continues to pursue a requirement allowing sexual-assault cases on college and university campuses to be decided on a “preponderance” of evidence The standard is far lower than the standard of presumed innocent until shown guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” as required in criminal courts. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education charges that the Department of Education is engaging in “bait-and-switch” tactics in a series of negotiating sessions intended to hammer out the fine print of the rules […]» Read More
October 31, 2013
by Timothy Bella For Caleb Warner, weekends still revolve around sports and hanging out with his friends. But life hasn’t been so carefree in the four years since he met a young woman. “We met at a party,” Warner told America Tonight. “And, I don’t know, we just kinda made eye contact. And, you know, one thing led to another.” On Dec. 13, 2009, Warner, then a junior at the University of North Dakota, attended a party thrown by his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta. There, he met a freshman who caught his eye. They played beer pong in the basement […]» Read More
January 6, 2013
Look on the bright side: At least UND didn’t get scorched by FIRE as having the Speech Code of the Year. Last week, FIRE — the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — awarded that “honor” to two other schools, including Oakland University in Michigan. There, the school’s policy prohibits offending or disturbing anyone via phone or computer, “nor shall any person” use “immoral or insulting language” over those devices. Oakland’s policy “illustrates perfectly the mock-Victorian sensibility that seems to underlie so many university speech codes, a sensibility according to which adult college students must not be exposed to anything […]» Read More
May 10, 2012
How many other Caleb Warners are out there? That’s the focus of a new letter to the Obama administration that pleads with officials to remove a threat to students the Department of Education created a year ago with directions that on-campus sexual assault cases be determined on a low-level “preponderance of evidence” standard of proof. Warner was found guilty of sexual assault by a campus court at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks in 2010 despite the facts established at the time by city police. Officers not only refused to charge him but alleged his accuser made a […]» Read More
November 6, 2011
Nearly two years ago, in February 2010, University of North Dakota student Caleb Warner was thrown out of school with a three-year ban on reapplying after a campus disciplinary panel found he had violated criminal laws by sexually assaulting a fellow student. In fact, Warner was never actually charged with a crime in the justice system — but his accuser, Jessica Murray, was. In May of the same year, the Grand Forks, North Dakota police department formally charged her with filling a false report after concluding its investigation. (Murray now resides in California and has never appeared in court to […]» Read More
November 3, 2011
Back in March I suggested people learn the name Caleb Warner. At the time, he was a former University of North Dakota student. He was kicked out of UND after a woman filed a rape charge against him. Robert Boyd, UND’s vice president of student outreach at the time, made the ruling in February 2010 based on the police report. Boyd, didn’t wait to see if the police actually sought criminal charges against Warner. They never did. Instead the police charged his accuser of making a false report to police. Warner requested a rehearing in July 2010 after the police […]» Read More
October 25, 2011
The mother of a UND student who was falsely accused of sexual assault and kicked out of school says her son will not return to UND. Sherry Warner-Seefeld says her son Caleb Warner just wants to put the incident behind him and get on with his life. Nearly two years after being accused of rape Warner’s expulsion was reversed. Despite being cleared of the charges, Warner wasn’t able to get his expulsion reversed until he brought in the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education to represent his case. He was accused of four violations of the code of student life […]» Read More
July 21, 2011
Earlier today, Tim Cavanaugh noted that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has instructed colleges that due process in cases involving sexual harassment or assault is inconsistent with federal law. “In order for a school’s grievance procedures to be consistent with the standards in Title IX,” OCR’s head, Russlynn Ali, wrote in an April 4 letter, “the school must use a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred).” Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Reason contributor Harvey Silverglate suggests that Ali’s missive, which “sends the message that results—not […]» Read More
July 15, 2011
by Harvey Silverglate in The Wall Street Journal For a glimpse into the treacherous territory of sexual relationships on college campuses, consider the case of Caleb Warner. On Jan. 27, 2010, Mr. Warner learned he was accused of sexual assault by another student at the University of North Dakota. Mr. Warner insisted that the episode, which occurred the month prior, was entirely consensual. No matter to the university: He was charged with violating the student code and suspended for three years. Three months later, state police lodged criminal charges against his accuser for filing a false police report. A warrant for […]» Read More
November 7, 2005
By Suzanne Fields at Townhall.com What do the Bible and the “The Vagina Monologues” have in common? Not much. But surely we can all agree that both are covered by the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Well, that’s not so at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. At UWEC you can live in a dorm and watch a performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” but you can’t join a Bible studies group. Any resident assistant, or RA, as the live-in student counselors are called, can put on a performance of the play, and one has, but leading […]» Read More
February 13, 2015
Last month, The Torch was pleased to report that a bipartisan bill was introduced in the North Dakota Legislative Assembly to provide students and student organizations at public universities the right to hire lawyers for representation in certain campus disciplinary hearings. More good news: Earlier this week, an amended version of the bill was passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee and now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a hearing on Tuesday morning. The bill states in part: Any student enrolled at an institution under the control of the state board of higher education has the right to […]» Read More
January 9, 2015
Colleges and universities aren’t always known for providing meaningful due process to students in hearings where suspension or expulsion is at stake, but that may soon change in North Dakota. Yesterday, state legislators introduced SB 2150, a bill that, if passed, would make North Dakota the second state to grant students enrolled in its public colleges and universities the right to hire lawyers in suspension or expulsion hearings. The bipartisan bill is championed by Senators Ray Holmberg (R), Kelly Armstrong (R), and Jonathan Casper (R), as well as Representatives Lois Delmore (D), Mary Johnson (R), and Diane Larson (R). It […]» Read More
December 8, 2014
Emily Yoffe has thoroughly examined and thoughtfully considered the complex issue of how colleges and universities handle allegations of sexual assault, and the result is a must-read article published yesterday in Slate. Yoffe starts by detailing the case of Drew Sterrett, a former University of Michigan student who is claiming in a lawsuit (PDF) against the university that it punished him for an alleged sexual assault without a fair hearing and despite significant exculpatory evidence. This account may not surprise readers familiar with John Doe’s pseudonymous lawsuit against Occidental College (which Yoffe also discusses in her piece), or the case […]» Read More
October 17, 2014
On Monday, Vox co-founder Ezra Klein penned an op-ed about how he firmly supported the affirmative consent bill recently passed in California despite his candid acknowledgment that the bill was in fact “terrible.” The general tenor of his column, which I discussed in The Daily Caller yesterday, was that you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs—the eggs being people unjustly found guilty of rape. Critics on the left and the right were equally appalled, as well they—or anyone concerned with civil liberties—should have been. Under this barrage of well-deserved criticism, Klein returned with a longer piece yesterday, […]» Read More
NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’ and ‘Chronicle of Higher Education’ on Campus Sexual Assault and Due Process
September 3, 2014
National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) Tovia Smith spoke with both due process advocates and victims’ rights advocates on “Morning Edition” today, illuminating the serious problem of college students who are accused of sexual assault being denied a fair hearing. The report included comments from FIRE’s Robert Shibley, claimants’ attorney Colby Bruno, an unnamed former student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who was expelled for an alleged sexual assault, and several others.» Read More
July 15, 2014
FIRE is pleased to announce the launch of a new organization, Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), dedicated to defending due process on campus. FACE president and co-founder Sherry Warner Seefeld is the mother of Caleb Warner, who was falsely found responsible for sexual assault by the University of North Dakota in one of FIRE’s best-known due process cases. Co-founders Judith Grossman and Allison Strange are mothers with similar experiences. FIRE looks forward to working with FACE on due process issues in the years to come.» Read More
July 7, 2014
Last week, the New York Times Editorial Board addressed the issue of campus sexual assault. Unfortunately, the Board missed an opportunity to address many serious concerns held by FIRE and others about university policies and practices that threaten the due process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct.» Read More
May 27, 2014
Earlier this month, a group of University of North Dakota (UND) students attending the off-campus event “Springfest” drew criticism for wearing shirts that read “Siouxper Drunk” and depicted a Native American drinking from a beer bong. While the First Amendment prohibits a public university like UND from imposing discipline on the students for the content of the T-shirts, some students and local Native American tribe members are calling for UND to punish students who wore the shirt. Meanwhile, news outlets are creating an air of suspense where none should exist, as UND is legally limited in how it can respond to the shirts.» Read More
February 18, 2014
In an email to FIRE supporters today, Sherry Warner-Seefeld, mother of Caleb Warner, writes about her son’s experience when he was wrongfully accused and found guilty of sexual assault by administrators at the University of North Dakota. We wanted to share Sherry’s words with Torch readers as a reminder of how important—and under attack—due process rights on campus are.» Read More
Al Jazeera America Series on Campus Sexual Assault Highlights All Victims of the Broken University Disciplinary System
November 1, 2013
Last week, the flagship news magazine program on Al Jazeera America, America Tonight, broadcast a series of reports about the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, ending with a town hall discussion on this critically important subject. In a fair, thorough portrayal of the issues involved, America Tonight put together in-depth segments on the experiences of sexual assault victims, the fraternity culture on campus, and how sexual predators use alcohol as a tool to incapacitate their victims. These reports should be required viewing for anyone who is on a college campus or who has a child there. America Tonight also did an in-depth report about Caleb Warner, the student who was […]» Read More
‘Grand Forks Herald’ Calls for University of North Dakota to Revise December’s Speech Code of the Month
January 7, 2013
On Sunday, the Grand Forks Herald published an editorial calling on the University of North Dakota to revise its speech-restrictive “harassment” policy, which earned the “honor” of being named our Speech Code of the Month for December 2012. The policy’s overbreadth is striking, defining “harassment” (PDF) to include speech that causes a group or individual “unwelcome attention,” “humiliation,” “ridicule,” or even just “offense.” Under the specific terms of the policy, merely “ignoring an individual at work or study” may be harassment. Making matters worse, the policy also notes that harassment may include “unacceptable behavior affecting the dignity of an individual […]» Read More
December 3, 2012
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2012: the University of North Dakota (UND). UND defines “harassment” (PDF) as: [U]nacceptable behavior, which can range from violence and bullying to more subtle behavior such as ignoring an individual at work or study. It subjects an individual or a group to unwelcome attention, intimidation, humiliation, ridicule, offense or loss of privacy. It is unwanted by the recipient and continues after an objection is made. The policy further provides that: This definition includes sexual and racial harassment, and bullying as well as any other form of personal harassment arising from […]» Read More
April 23, 2012
This weekend, Justin Pope of the Associated Press came out with a pair of thorough and insightful articles about the “legal minefield” in which universities currently find themselves when it comes to addressing claims of sexual assault on campus. As Pope explains, Typically, colleges enjoy wide leeway in responding to student misconduct, whether that means using a disciplinary board to enforce their own rules or simply punting the matter to law enforcement. But as Title IX is now interpreted — and would be reinforced under a new version of the Violence Against Women Act awaiting a Senate vote — colleges […]» Read More
November 7, 2011
Writing for RealClearPolitics, columnist Cathy Young details the threats to due process rights for students accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault presented by recent guidance from the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and a new draft of a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Young uses FIRE’s recent victory at the University of North Dakota on behalf of student Caleb Warner as a frame to evaluate the reduced evidentiary standard mandated by OCR—a standard that would be enshrined in federal law, were the VAWA draft currently circulating on Capitol Hill to pass: Nearly […]» Read More
November 1, 2011
The Grand Forks Herald published an article yesterday by reporter Tu-Uyen Tran about former University of North Dakota (UND) student Caleb Warner’s due process nightmare. Warner’s ordeal, which finally ended last month, began when a female UND student accused him of sexual assault following a sexual encounter that Warner believed to be consensual. Following a disciplinary hearing that employed the low “preponderance of the evidence” standard, Warner was found guilty of sexual assault by UND and suspended for three years. Meanwhile, North Dakota law enforcement officers found no evidence of wrongdoing by Warner. Instead, they charged Warner’s accuser with filing […]» Read More
October 31, 2011
WDAY Channel 6 News out of Fargo, N.D., is reporting that student Caleb Warner will not be returning to school at the University of North Dakota (UND). For those who are new to The Torch, Warner was found guilty of sexual assault by a UND campus court in February 2010, despite the fact that the Grand Forks police who investigated the case not only refused to charge Warner with sexual assault, but actually charged his accuser with making a false report to law enforcement about the incident. Nevertheless, UND refused to reexamine its finding on Caleb Warner for nearly a […]» Read More
October 31, 2011
A disciplinary panel at UND decided that Caleb Warner had, among other things, violated criminal laws against sexual assault. The police investigated and, instead, charged his accuser for false report. Though the university reversed sanctions against Warn by Tu-Uyen Tran Grand Forks Herald In February 2010, a disciplinary panel at UND decided that Caleb Warner had, among other things, violated criminal laws against sexual assault. He was kicked out and told that he could file an application to come back after three years. Grand Forks Police investigated the case and, instead of charging Warner, charged his accuser Jessica Murray […]» Read More
Victory for Due Process: Student Punished for Alleged Sexual Assault Cleared by University of North Dakota; Accuser Still Wanted for Lying to Police
October 18, 2011
As FIRE reports in today’s press release, a student convicted of sexual assault and banned from campus by a University of North Dakota (UND) tribunal is free to return to school this week. After a year and a half, UND officials have determined that the university’s finding of guilt against student Caleb Warner was “not substantiated” in the face of the evidence. That same evidence led North Dakota law enforcement to charge Warner’s accuser last year with making a false report to law enforcement-a charge for which she is still wanted by the police. UND finally reexamined Warner’s case only […]» Read More
Victory for Due Process: Student Punished for Alleged Sexual Assault Cleared by University of North Dakota; Accuser Still Wanted for Lying to Police
October 18, 2011
GRAND FORKS, N.D., October 18, 2011—A student convicted of sexual assault and banned from campus by a University of North Dakota (UND) tribunal is free to return to school this week. After a year and a half, UND officials have determined that the university’s finding of guilt against student Caleb Warner was “not substantiated” in the face of the evidence. That same evidence led North Dakota law enforcement to charge Warner’s accuser last year with making a false report to law enforcement—a charge for which she is still wanted by the police. UND finally reexamined Warner’s case only after the […]» Read More
July 21, 2011
Nico Perrino, a 2010 FIRE summer intern and current undergraduate at Indiana University – Bloomington (IUB), has been working to reform IUB’s speech codes since returning to campus from his internship. Today, Nico has a column in the Indiana Daily Student calling attention to the inroads against student due process rights on campus made by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR’s) recent “Dear Colleague” letter. Nico writes in his column: The letter, sent to all public institutions of higher education, mandates that universities, which receive federal funding, adopt the “preponderance of evidence” standard when investigating reports of rape […]» Read More
July 18, 2011
FIRE Co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate’s Friday op-ed in The Wall Street Journal continues to draw attention to the absurd rulings of some campus courts, and underscores the due process concerns raised by schools’ harried attempts to comply with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights’ (OCR’s) mandate to use the “preponderance of the evidence” evidentiary standard. Last Friday, Trevor Burrus, a legal associate with the Cato Institute, wrote a piece for Cato’s blog, Cato@Liberty, praising Harvey and FIRE for “highlighting the emerging problem of due process violations on college campuses.” As Burrus aptly noted, the preponderance of the […]» Read More
In Today’s ‘Wall Street Journal': University Finds Student Guilty of Sexual Assault While Police Charge Accuser for Lying About It
July 15, 2011
GRAND FORKS, N.D., July 15, 2011—In a stark demonstration of the failure of campus judicial procedures, the University of North Dakota (UND) has found a student guilty of sexual assault despite the fact that local police refused to charge him with a crime and instead charged his accuser for lying about the incident. Former student Caleb Warner has been banned by UND from stepping foot on any state public campus for three years. Meanwhile, his accuser has been wanted by the Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department for more than a year on the charge of making a false report to law […]» Read More
March 14, 2011
The Grand Forks (ND) Herald ran an editorial last week discussing the case of former student Caleb Warner, who was expelled from the University of North Dakota (UND) after a college tribunal found him guilty of charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault. Notice the word “alleged.” The twist in this case is that his accuser is now wanted by the Grand Forks police on charges of filing a false police report with regard to the case. The police have even issued an arrest warrant for her; apparently, she has returned to her home state of California and has so far […]» Read More