University of Utah: Department of Communication’s Anti-Racist Code of Conduct Ripe For Abuse


University of Utah

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Case Overview

In November 2020, faculty from the University of Utah Department of Communication voted to adopt the Anti-Racist Code of Conduct which “impos[es] an affirmative obligation on all Departmental members to engage in anti-racist actions and support anti-racist Department institutions and norms.” The ARCC and its supplemental Anti-Racist Strategic Plan force faculty and faculty applicants to endorse a prescribed ideology, reform curriculum without regard for academic freedom, and “eradicate” protected speech. FIRE wrote the department on March 23, urging that it consider the consequences the ARCC will have on faculty whose views, pedagogical choices, or associations do not coincide with the department’s goals, and that it meet the public university’s binding First Amendment obligations by eliminating or revising the ARCC and ARSP. On March 24, the university responded affirming its commitment to free speech and academic freedom, and sharing that new leadership is currently evaluating statements on inclusive practices.