Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

Rutgers University – New Brunswick 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

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
  • Rutgers Policy 60.1.12: Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 16, 2021

    Harassment is conduct directed toward an individual or group based on membership in one or more protected classes. Such conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter an individual’s employment conditions, or a student’s educational opportunities1 which, in turn, creates an unreasonably intimidating, offe... Read More
  • Student Centers and Activities: Student Involvement and Leadership- Events and Program Planning Guidelines

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 17, 2021

    Large Events Rutgers University Division of Student Affairs defines large events as programs with many complex variables regarding event type, attendance size, and facility limitations and use. Factors considered in implementing Large Event policies include: Type of Event (concert, dance, fashion show, talent show,... Read More
  • Student Affairs: Bias Prevention

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: September 16, 2021

    Bias is defined by the University as an act, verbal, written, physical, psychological, that threatens, or harms a person or group on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, civil union status, domestic par... Read More
  • University Student Life Policy Against Verbal Assault, Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying, and Defamation

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 16, 2021

    A community establishes standards in order to be able to fulfill its mission. The policy against verbal assault, harassment, intimidation, bullying, and defamation seeks to guarantee certain minimum standards. Free speech and the open discussion of ideas are an integral part of the university community and are... Read More
  • Rutgers Policy 70.1.1: Acceptable Use Policy for Computing and Information Technology Resources

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 16, 2021

    Violations include but are not limited to: … using electronic resources for deceiving, harassing, or stalking other individuals. Read More
  • Rutgers Policy 50.3.5: Disruptions: Administrative Policy and Response

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 16, 2021

    The primary function of an academic community is to discover and disseminate knowledge through research and teaching. Freedom of expression is vital to our shared goal of pursuit of knowledge. Such freedom comes with a responsibility to welcome and promote this freedom, even in disagreement or opposition. Community ... Read More
  • Rutgers Policy 10.2.11: Code of Student Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: September 16, 2021

    Bullying, intimidation, and harassment: Making any communication to another person in any manner likely to cause alarm, including through electronic or social media platforms. Subjecting or threatening to subject another person or animal to striking, kicking, shoving, or offensive touching. Threatening to reveal... Read More
  • Rutgers Policy 60.1.33: Title IX Policy and Grievance Procedures

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 16, 2021

    For the purposes of this Policy, “Covered Sexual Harassment” includes any conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes one or more of the following: … Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access t... Read More

FIRE surveyed roughly 37,000 students at 154 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. In 2021, FIRE released rankings of those schools, based on a number of factors, including openness, tolerance, self-expression, administrative support for free speech, and campus policies, scoring overall speech climate on a scale from 0-100. See the full report on FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.



Overall Ranking 98/154
Ideological Diversity 54/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 58.72
Openness 10.46
Tolerance (Liberals) 9.29
Tolerance (Conservatives) 6.81
Administrative Support 6.25
Comfort 15.74
Disruptive Conduct 10.18
Speech Code YELLOW
  • 20 years later, 9/11 still prompts protests and calls for censorship on campus

    September 16, 2021

    Correction (Sept. 21, 2021): After an investigation, University of Virginia campus police said the flags were likely blown over by the wind. One of the more glaring ironies involving America’s response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 is how the events, which were immediately and unequivocally described as assaults on freedom, also prompted demands for censorship and governmental… Read more

  • FIRE analysis: Rutgers violated the Constitution by defunding student newspaper

    June 3, 2019

    Student rights aren’t subject to popular vote Defunding followed campaign by student group criticized by the newspaper NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., June 3, 2019 — Rutgers University’s student newspaper, the award-winning Daily Targum, lost its funding despite winning the overall support of student voters in an April referendum. But an analysis by the Foundation for Individual… Read more

  • So to Speak podcast: Campus free speech roundup

    January 24, 2019

    On today’s episode of So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast, we are joined by four members of FIRE’s staff to discuss the latest campus free speech news, including two new FIRE initiatives to tackle art censorship and restrictions on free speech and academic freedom abroad. Participants in this show are: Nico Perrino, host of… Read more

  • VICTORY: Rutgers reverses finding against professor who posted about resigning from the white race on Facebook

    November 15, 2018

    NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Nov. 15, 2018 — Rutgers University has officially reversed its decision to find a tenured history professor guilty of violating university policy because he wrote two Facebook posts critical of white gentrification in Harlem. The reversal is a vindication for the right of professors to speak as private citizens on issues of… Read more

  • OCR’s use of overly broad anti-Semitism definition threatens student and faculty speech

    September 14, 2018

    Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights had reopened a 2011 case at Rutgers University regarding alleged discrimination against Jewish students at a public event. In an Aug. 27 letter to the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the organization that had filed the complaint against… Read more

  • Rutgers president orders review of ruling against professor for Facebook posts about white gentrification in Harlem

    August 31, 2018

    In a letter sent Wednesday evening, Rutgers President Robert L. Barchi informed senior administrators that he has ordered the reevaluation of an earlier ruling finding Professor James Livingston guilty of violating university policy for two Facebook posts critical of white gentrification in Harlem. The tenured professor of history at Rutgers-New Brunswick came under investigation earlier… Read more

  • Rutgers caves to outrage mob: Professor faces punishment for Facebook posts about white people, Harlem gentrification

    August 21, 2018

    University calls professor’s sarcastic post a ‘belligerent barb against whites’ NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Aug. 21, 2018 — It appears Rutgers University’s commitment to faculty First Amendment rights is no match for an online outrage mob. Tenured professor of history James Livingston was found guilty of violating Rutgers’ Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment late last month… Read more

  • FIRE’s Prediction Proves True: This Year, Colleges ‘Play It Safe’ with Commencement Speakers

    April 21, 2015

    As anyone who won their office March Madness pool will tell you, successfully predicting future events can be fun sometimes. Other times, less so—like when your favorite free speech watchdog organization correctly forecasts a disappointing development for campus discourse. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with the latter today. Over at Inside Higher Ed, reporter Jake New assesses… Read more

  • New Jersey Supreme Court Rules Part of State’s Bias Intimidation Law Unconstitutional

    March 19, 2015

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that a section of the state’s bias intimidation law was unconstitutionally vague because it allowed for a defendant to be convicted if his or her victim was intimidated and “reasonably believed” that he or she was targeted on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, disability,… Read more

  • Don’t Save the Date: NYT, WSJ, Fox, MSNBC, NPR Cover ‘Disinvitation Season’

    May 13, 2014

    The Class of 2014 is preparing for graduation by buying their caps and gowns—but let’s hope they weren’t counting on having a speaker for the ceremony. The years-long, snowballing trend of protests against commencement speakers, which FIRE has termed “disinvitation season,” is getting major attention this year from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR, among many other outlets.

  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ In Full Swing; IMF Head Next Victim

    May 12, 2014

    Condoleezza Rice. Duncan Lance Black. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Charles Murray. All of them have been disinvited from speaking at colleges this spring (or put under such pressure that they withdrew from speaking), for, respectively, the political, personal, religious, and scientific controversies surrounding their lives and work. Now those keeping score can add to that list Christine Lagarde, the formerly scheduled commencement speaker at Smith College and current managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

  • Greg on Philadelphia’s WHYY ‘Radio Times’ This Monday!

    May 9, 2014

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be appearing live as a guest on the popular Delaware Valley radio show Radio Times with host Marty Moss-Coane at 10:15 a.m. this Monday.

  • Commencement Invitation Drama Continues; Free Speech Advocates Speak Out

    May 9, 2014

    This spring, FIRE has already brought you the news of women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali being disinvited from speaking at Brandeis University, Condoleezza Rice canceling her commencement speech at Rutgers University after some students objected to her invitation, and Pasadena City College disinviting and then re-inviting Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black. It’s been a pretty active “disinvitation season” so far, and free speech advocates are speaking up about why this trend is so worrying.

  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ Rolls On: Condoleezza Rice Cancels

    May 5, 2014

    As we reported here on The Torch, “disinvitation season” got off to an early start this year back in March when faculty and students at Rutgers University urged the institution to rescind its selection of Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker this year. The university reaffirmed its choice of Rice as speaker, but late last week, Rice withdrew.

  • Disinvitation Season Continues at Azusa Pacific University and Elsewhere

    April 23, 2014

    Azusa Pacific University (APU) in California has “postponed” a scheduled talk by Charles Murray, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and co-author of (among other works) The Bell Curve, citing “the lateness of the semester” as well as “the full record of Dr. Murray’s scholarship.” The university claims that it will host Murray on campus for a “thoughtful and meaningful dialogue” in the 2014–2015 academic year.

  • Tyler Clementi Act: Still Well-Intentioned, Still a Threat to Free Expression

    March 31, 2014

    ‘The Huffington Post’ reported last week that Senator Patty Murray of Washington will reintroduce the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act after learning of harassment suffered by one of her interns while attending college. The intern’s story is shocking, and the Act is well-intentioned. Unfortunately, it is still as flawed as it was when introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey back in 2010 following the tragic death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.

  • Greg: Condoleezza Rice and the Early Start of ‘Disinvitation Season’

    March 10, 2014

    Here at FIRE, we’ve dubbed the spring “disinvitation season,” because among the many invitations extended for college and university commencement speakers, there are an increasing number of speakers subsequently disinvited because of their viewpoints, professions, or life choices. Last year, I wrote about the phenomenon in mid-May amidst a flurry of disinvitations, but this year things are getting off to an earlier start, as FIRE President Greg Lukianoff notes in The Huffington Post today.

  • Former FIRE Intern Asks ‘Daily Targum’ Board of Trustees to Respect Student Rights

    February 19, 2014

    The Daily Targum, a student newspaper at Rutgers University, has recently been under scrutiny because of the amount of influence the paper’s Board of Trustees exerts over the student staff. The Board acts as an advisory panel and, according to College Media Matters, has the ability to cut out articles and opinion pieces they dislike. (FIRE’s Catherine Sevcenko explained the problem with this last Thursday.)

  • ‘Unlearning Liberty’ Again, This Time by Self-Censorship at ‘The Daily Targum’

    February 13, 2014

    The Soviet Union was said to operate on a system of “telephone justice”: a judge would hold a trial and then call the local Communist Party boss to find out if the defendant should be found guilty or not. It appears that The Daily Targum, Rutgers University’s student paper, operates on a similar system of “telephone editorial policy.”

  • Victory: Rutgers Will Not Punish Satirical Newspaper

    May 1, 2012

    On Friday, I blogged about Rutgers University’s bias investigation of the student satire publication The Medium for jokingly attributing a fake article praising Adolf Hitler to another student. As we made clear in the letter we sent Rutgers, punishing the protected expression of The Medium—or even allowing the impression to take hold that such expression… Read more

  • Rutgers’ Bias Investigation of Satirical Newspaper is No Laughing Matter

    April 27, 2012

    Last week, we pointed to a piece penned by former FIRE intern Alex Lewis in The Daily Targum, Rutgers University’s main campus newspaper, in response to a controversial "bias investigation" of The Medium, a weekly satirical Rutgers newspaper. Now, The Star Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) is covering the incident as well, in a piece that… Read more

  • Former FIRE Intern Pens ‘A Case for Free Speech’ at Rutgers

    April 20, 2012

    In his column for the The Daily Targum this semester, former FIRE intern and Rutgers University senior Alex Lewis has written two articles making "A case for free speech" at Rutgers. In the first article, published last month, Alex wrote about the philosophy of free speech and why it is important not to censor speech,… Read more

  • Renewed Focus on New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Law, But Little Recognition of Impact on College Student Speech

    September 9, 2011

    Last week, The New York Times published a front page story on New Jersey’s new anti-bullying law, which took effect on September 1. In the article, reporter Winnie Hu documents complaints about the law’s requirements, which some school district officials throughout the state have found to be expensive, confusing, and burdensome. Hu reports:  The law,… Read more

  • Rutgers Ditches Unconstitutional ‘Bias Prevention’ Committee, Red-Light Rating

    August 8, 2011

    In 2006, FIRE wrote about Rutgers University–New Brunswick and its Orwellian “Bias Prevention Steering Committee.” The mission of the various deans, administrators, and staff members who comprised the committee was to monitor reported acts of bias which, startlingly, included “cultural conflicts” defined by the University as “disagreements, arguments, or controversies that developed due to the… Read more

  • Rutgers University: An Institution of Higher (Re-) Education

    September 14, 2006

    <align=”left”> Rutgers University in New Brunswick has a Bias Prevention Steering Committee designed to identify instances of bias at Rutgers and to “address[] persons who perpetrate bias acts.” According to Rutgers, “bias prevention” is defined as An organized system of monitoring, intervening in, and restoring in the aftermath of bias incidents in an environment, e.g.,… Read more