Northern Kentucky University

Location: Newport, Kentucky
Type: Public
Tell Northern Kentucky University to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Northern Kentucky University 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
  • Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 5, 2021

    Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities or work environment, and is base... Read More
  • Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Disciplinary Regulations- Offenses Against Persons

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 5, 2021

    Offenses against persons include but are not limited to: 1. Intentionally or recklessly causing physical or emotional harm to any person, including self, on University property or at University-sponsored activities off campus, and includes intentionally or recklessly causing reasonable apprehension of such harm. Read More
  • Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: October 5, 2021

    Users may NOT do the following: … Send email chain letters or mass mailings for purposes other than official University business Read More
  • Free Expression Policy: Posters, Flyers, Handbills, Banners, and Chalking

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: October 5, 2021

    B. Posting Limits: Posters, Flyers and Banners must be date stamped at the University Center Desk Read More
  • Free Expression Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: October 5, 2021

    Individuals or groups who desire to use campus areas for protests, rallies or demonstrations are strongly encouraged to reserve a specific area(s) in advance to ensure the availability of space. Without a reservation, the University allows campus areas to be utilized on a first‐come, first‐served basis. Protests, ra... Read More
  • Sexual Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 5, 2021

    Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome conduct, determined by a reasonable person, to be so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s Education Program or Activity. Read More
At present, FIRE has not been publicly involved in any cases at this school.
  • When Campus Intolerance Means Free Speech Gets Torn Up and Run Over, Literally

    March 21, 2014

    Being offended is what happens when you have your deepest beliefs challenged. And if you make it through four years of college without having your deepest beliefs challenged, you should demand your money back. I have been saying that line in speeches on campus for more than a decade. Even though it often gets a laugh, the idea that students have an overarching “right not to be offended” seems more entrenched on campus than ever.

  • A Canadian College Student Vandalizes Free Speech Wall, Then Claims Moral High Ground

    January 30, 2013

    Introducing Arun Smith, heroic censor. Last week at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, this student tore down a “free speech wall” display that a libertarian student group had set up on campus. Such displays usually take the form of a large, blank sheet of paper on which students are invited to write anything they like. Student… Read more

  • KFC: Kentucky Foolish Censorship

    May 1, 2012

    "Forget about fraternity rush, spring break, and cramming for exams," FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley writes this week in The Daily Caller. "The students and faculty of Northern Kentucky University (NKU) have brought a disturbing new tradition to campus: justifying the destruction of pro-life displays as ‘freedom of speech.’" Robert notes that since at… Read more

  • Northern Kentucky Students Arrested for Vandalizing Pro-Life Display

    April 18, 2012

    Hopefully the experiences of four Northern Kentucky University students arrested for vandalizing the display of a pro-life student group will serve as another useful lesson to those on campus who still think that destroying the expression of other students is a legitimate act of First Amendment expression. The student group in question here is Northern… Read more

  • Dearth of Critical Thinking on Display as NKU Library Removes Anti-Klan Artwork

    April 1, 2011

    A recent article in The Northerner, of Northern Kentucky University (NKU), reports that an art display has been moved from its place in an NKU library after administrators received complaints over its depiction of a member of the Ku Klux Klan. More specifically, the work is an award-winning triptych of images by NKU professor Hanz Schellhas… Read more

  • NKU Dean to Students: ‘That’s the problem with free speech, guys’

    January 26, 2011

    When discussing the possibility of increased restrictions on the rights of uninvited, non-college-affiliated speakers at Northern Kentucky University (NKU), Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple told student government officials, “[t]hat’s the problem with free speech, guys.” According to the The Northerner, an independent student newspaper at NKU, Waple was responding to concerns some students had expressed… Read more

  • NKU Student Thanks FIRE

    May 10, 2007

    We mentioned last week here on The Torch that Northern Kentucky University (NKU) had revised its free expression policies at the behest of committed students like Alex Kindell. Alex played a crucial role in organizing NKU students, raising awareness about the importance of free expression on campus, and galvanizing student support.   Since Alex’s experience… Read more

  • Students’ Protest Leads to New Expression Policy at NKU

    May 4, 2007

    The Cincinnati Post reported this week that Northern Kentucky University (NKU) has adopted a new freedom of expression policy in response to student protest against proposed revisions. The news comes as a welcome and well-earned victory to the NKU students who had rallied for change on campus.   Two months ago, NKU students had been… Read more

  • NKU Update: Mediation for Jacobsen

    May 25, 2006

    Remember Sally Jacobsen? As previously flagged by FIRE, Jacobsen is the recently retired Northern Kentucky University professor facing theft and criminal mischief charges for allegedly dismantling a campus anti-abortion display. Yesterday, as reported in the Cincinnati Post, a judge offered Jacobsen the opportunity to have her charges dismissed if she completes mediation with representatives from NKU, its… Read more

  • Heckler’s Veto Has Serious Consequences for NKU Professor

    May 15, 2006

    As we reported on the Torch last month, Sally Jacobsen, then a professor at Northern Kentucky University (NKU), turned the concept of free speech on its head by encouraging students in one of her classes to “express their freedom-of-speech rights” by destroying an anti-abortion display erected by an NKU student group. NKU responded quickly to… Read more

  • Are Pictures of Abortion ‘Hate Speech?’

    May 11, 2006

    Last week, Phi Beta Cons noted a story in the Bellingham (Wash.) Herald describing yet another instance of vandalism of a pro-life display. According to the Herald, Western Washington University student David Janus Zhang was so enraged by a “display showing pictures of aborted fetuses next to images of genocide” that he jumped over a… Read more

  • NKU Punishes Vigilante Censorship, but Its Speech Code Remains

    April 19, 2006

    The president of Northern Kentucky University has acted commendably in response to a serious threat to the free speech rights of students. Last week, NKU professor Sally Jacobsen encouraged a group of her students to destroy an anti-abortion display erected by the university’s right-to-life student organization. Photographs published by local media indicate that Professor Jacobsen… Read more

  • The Media Condemn Censorship at NKU

    April 17, 2006

    Today, the Cincinnati Enquirer published an editorial concerning an incident at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) where a professor invited a class “to express their freedom-of-speech rights” to destroy a “Cemetery of Innocents,” an anti-abortion display consisting of 400 crosses and a sign explaining its purpose. The editorial is right on point in saying: Northern Kentucky… Read more

  • Vigilante Censorship Alive and Well in Kentucky

    April 14, 2006

    After nearly five years of dealing with all the terrible and often absurd abuses of free speech in higher education, I am a hard person to shock, but hats off to professor Sally Jacobsen of Northern Kentucky University (NKU) for showing me the most perverted inversion of the concept of free speech I have seen… Read more