Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
Federal Circuit: 8th Circuit
University of Northern Iowa 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: Internet Usage Policies, StatementThe following are a sample, but not exhaustive list of behaviors with respect to the electronic environment which are expressly prohibited.
Sending anonymous, deceptive, fraudulent, or unwelcome electronic communications, such as chain letters.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementViolations of respect include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Physical or verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, stalking, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person (this rule also applies to the use of electronic resources, such as online communities, email, web logs, etc).
Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech, StatementThe University will not seek to discipline or prosecute individuals for expression of views in a manner that is protected by their rights under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, but may challenge protected speech that conflicts with institutional values by speaking out against it, by providing educational opportunities, by supporting those negatively affected by such speech, or by other legal means.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementThe basic purposes of the University of Northern Iowa are the enlargement, dissemination, and application of knowledge. A basic necessity for the achievement of these purposes is freedom of expression and communication.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementHarassment occurs when unwelcome conduct based on an individual's membership in a protected group unreasonably interferes with the individual's work or academic environment.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementSexual harassment occurs when an individual is subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: ... 3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, academic, or social environment.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementProviding a forum for the free expression of ideas is a cherished and time-honored feature of university life.
December 18, 2012
A new report lists the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa among schools that earn the lowest rating regarding free speech on campus. The UI, ISU and UNI were among the schools on the “red light” list from the 2013 report on campus speech codes by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Grinnell College was on the “yellow light” list in the report. More than three-fifths — 62.1 percent — of the 409 schools surveyed have speech codes that “clearly fail to meet First Amendment standards,” according to the foundation. Those schools were […]» Read More
October 29, 2008
FIRE recently named the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) our Speech Code of the Month for stating on its website that: A bias incident is any inappropriate word or action directed toward an individual or group based upon actual or perceived identity characteristics or background of a group or person and that is contrary to law or policy. [...] The campus community takes great pride in promoting a healthy environment and will not tolerate bias or hate incidents. Shortly thereafter, an administrator from UNI contacted FIRE to let us know that the document in question was not a policy but […]» Read More
October 2, 2008
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for October 2008: the University of Northern Iowa. We have written in the recent past about the explosion of overbroad “bias incident” policies on college campuses nationwide. Many schools maintain policies that define so-called “bias incidents” to include a great deal of constitutionally protected expression. But perhaps none does so as dramatically as the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), a public university, which defines a bias incident as “any inappropriate word or action directed toward an individual or group based upon actual or perceived identity characteristics or background of a group or […]» Read More