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Utah enacts FIRE’s model bill, protects due process rights on campus

Capitol of Utah

(Nagel Photography / Shutterstock)

SALT LAKE CITY, Mar. 18, 2024 — Last Tuesday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed House Bill 414 into law, providing robust due process protections for students involved in campus disciplinary proceedings. 

The bill passed the legislature with strong bipartisan support, and its language is based on the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression’s model campus due process bill, the Student and Administration Equality Act.

“By enacting HB 414, Utah sends the clear message that it takes seriously the rights of the accused and accusers alike,” said Tyler Coward, FIRE’s lead counsel for government affairs. “This law gives students, their parents, and the public confidence that the outcomes of campus disciplinary proceedings are fair and reliable.” 

HB 414’s protections for students and student organizations accused of campus misconduct include:

  • The right to the active assistance of an attorney or non-attorney advocate, who may make opening and closing statements during a disciplinary hearing, examine and cross-examine witnesses, introduce relevant evidence, and provide support and advice;
  • An express presumption of innocence that remains until either the student admits responsibility or the institution proves every element of an alleged violation;
  • Advance notice of the charges; and
  • An express prohibition on conflicts of interest for investigators and the comingling of the judge and investigator roles, precluding the use of the problematic “single investigator model.” 

The bill’s core protections, including the right to the active assistance of an attorney or non-attorney advocate, also apply to students who allege that they are victims of campus misconduct.

The bill also empowers the state attorney general to bring lawsuits against institutions that fail to comply with the requirements of the law.

The bill passed with strong bipartisan support. The state Senate passed HB 414 unanimously and the bill passed the state House of Representatives with a vote of 64-2. The bill was sponsored by Reps. Jordan Teuscher and Todd Weiler.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to defending and sustaining the individual rights of all Americans to free speech and free thought — the most essential qualities of liberty. FIRE recognizes that colleges and universities play a vital role in preserving free thought within a free society. To this end, we place a special emphasis on defending the individual rights of students and faculty members on our nation’s campuses, including freedom of speech, freedom of association, due process, legal equality, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience.


Katie Kortepeter, Communications Campaign Manager, FIRE: 215-717-3473;

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