University of Alaska Fairbanks

Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

University of Alaska Fairbanks 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
  • Department of Equity and Compliance: Anti-harassment Statement

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 19, 2022

    Discriminatory harassment that violates regents’ policy and university regulation includes verbal or physical conduct that degrades, and/or shows hostility or aversion to an individual because of his or her race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, genetic information, marital status, changes in marita... Read More
  • Title IX – Sex & Gender Equity: Sexual harassment, sex discrimination and Title IX

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 19, 2022

    Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, unwanted and repetitive messages of a sexual nature, unsolicited and unwelcome transmission of images of a lewd or sexual nature, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where: … the conduct... Read More
  • Housing Handbook: Civility & Involvement

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: July 19, 2022

    You are responsible for respecting the rights of others in the residential community and acting with civility at all times. Social responsibility is the very foundation of everything we do and civility means demonstrating mutual respect for all individuals. This includes all interactions between residents, student s... Read More
  • Housing Handbook: General Policies and Procedures- Doors and Room/Apartment Exterior

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: July 19, 2022

    Residents have the right to approach anyone who displays a decoration that they believe to be offensive or obscene in order to discuss their concerns and ask for its removal. For example, posters of nude individuals and harassing or intimidating visual materials are generally considered inappropriate. Check with res... Read More
  • Acceptable Use of Online Resources

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: July 19, 2022

    [S]ome uses which are prohibited or restricted include the following: … Partisan political activity, e.g., sending email supporting a political party or group. Read More
  • Regents’ Policy: Chapter 09.02 – Student Rights and Responsibilities – Student Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 19, 2022

    Harassment is defined as behavior that is severe, pervasive or persistent to a degree that a reasonable person similarly situated would be prevented from fully accessing educational benefits, university services, or other opportunities. Harassment is also defined as behavior that limits the ability of third parties ... Read More
  • Regents’ Policy: Chapter 01.04 – Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination Under Title IX

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 19, 2022

    For purposes of this chapter “Sexual harassment” is a form of sex or gender-based discrimination, and is defined as conduct on the basis of sex or gender that satisfies one or more of the following: … Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that... Read More
  • Regents’ Policy: Chapter 01.02 – General Provisions- Freedom of Speech

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: July 19, 2022

    A. An environment of free and honest inquiry is essential to the functioning and the mission of the university. The board and the university therefore acknowledge, affirm, and espouse the right of freedom of speech as guaranteed in the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Alaska. The essential purpose... Read More
  • Due Process Legal Update: Settlements, Trials, and More

    July 27, 2016

    A little over five years ago, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued the “Dear Colleague” letter that ushered in a period of unprecedented federal intervention into colleges’ internal disciplinary systems. In just those five years, students around the country have filed more than 110 lawsuits alleging that they were denied a… Read more

  • FIRE Explains Student Journalists’ Rights (VIDEO)

    December 1, 2015

    [iframe src=””] In light of recent high-profile threats to a free student press on college campuses nationwide—including threats to defund student publications for publishing controversial material and banishment of student reporters from public events—FIRE wants to ensure that student journalists know their rights. So today, we’re proud to launch a new video designed to do… Read more

  • VIDEO: University of Alaska Fairbanks Newspaper Investigated for Nearly a Year for Protected Speech

    September 19, 2014

    Last December, I wrote here on The Torch about a University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) professor’s repeated sexual harassment complaints against independent student newspaper The Sun Star. Two articles prompted the complaints: one satirical April Fool’s Day article about “a new building in the shape of a vagina” and one investigative piece on the “UAF… Read more

  • A Year Later, Impact of Feds’ ‘Blueprint’ Comes into Focus

    August 28, 2014

    Last summer, FIRE sounded the alarm about a shockingly broad definition of sexual harassment being pushed by the Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) as a “blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country.” Announced at the conclusion of a year-long investigation into the University of Montana’s sexual assault policies and practices, the resolution agreement and findings letter the feds labeled a “blueprint” defined sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech). And this all-encompassing definition wasn’t just a general characterization of sexual harassment; rather, it was the exact policy language that ED and DOJ were requiring the University of Montana to adopt verbatim.

  • Boring Campuses: Not Just the Fault of Helicopter Parents

    April 16, 2014

    In a new article, Slate’s Rebecca Schuman laments the phenomenon of colleges and universities becoming toned-down, less playful, even boring. Schuman argues that this is in part due to parents over-planning their kids’ lives, leaving them incapable of finding creative ways to have fun when they’re older and on their own: A recent trip back… Read more

  • Revisions Promised After Oberlin Faculty Object to ‘Trigger Warning’ Policy

    April 11, 2014

    Last month, ‘The New Republic’ published an article by Jenny Jarvie on the growing trend of “trigger warnings,” disclaimers to audiences that the material they are about to view or read might “trigger” the remembrance of past traumas like sexual assault or other violence. The warnings have proliferated on websites—particularly Tumblr posts, blogs, and message boards—in recent years, but now they’re being adopted in other contexts, like syllabi for college courses.

  • Vindicating Freedom of the Press from Alaska to Wisconsin

    February 25, 2014

    As we celebrate Free Press Week here at FIRE, I find myself thinking back on cases in which FIRE has intervened on behalf of student journalists and protected the freedom of the press that the First Amendment guarantees. I don’t have to look very far back, either. As our work over the past year (including as recently as this month) demonstrates, FIRE is committed to defending student newspapers and media outlets against censorship and ensuring that free press rights can be properly exercised on college and university campuses.

  • Victory: Free Press Vindicated at University of Alaska Fairbanks

    February 11, 2014

    In a victory for freedom of the press, the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) has cleared The Sun Star student newspaper of any wrongdoing following a prolonged investigation of the newspaper’s content prompted by repeated and meritless complaints from a UAF professor. UAF officials announced the end of the investigation in a letter to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which intervened after the situation had dragged on for more than eight months.

  • At U. of Alaska Fairbanks, Months-Long Investigations of Student Newspaper Chill Speech

    December 12, 2013

    University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) independent student newspaper The Sun Star is being subjected to an investigation—again—after a faculty member who complained about the paper’s content appealed two separate findings clearing the newspaper of sexual harassment charges based on its content. Although the university has not formally disciplined the newspaper staff, the months-long and burdensome investigations of clearly… Read more

  • After Removal from Grant Follows Public Criticism of Oil Industry, University of Alaska Professor’s Retaliation Claim Dismissed

    October 21, 2009

    The University of Alaska has dismissed a retaliation claim brought by Professor Richard Steiner, an outspoken critic of the oil industry. Professor Steiner’s claim concerned his removal from a $10,000 research grant administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2008, following a press conference held by Steiner in which he criticized NOAA… Read more

  • Freezing Free Speech at University of Alaska Fairbanks

    March 27, 2007

    When professors and administrators in the accounting department of University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) began debating the renewal of their program’s accreditation, tenured associate professor Charlie Sparks weighed in, advocating for faculty self-governance and changes in the division’s structure.   Sparks now claims that expressing his views on campus won him a one-way trip to… Read more

  • Professor Under Review for Saying 9/11 Might Be an ‘Inside Job’

    July 6, 2006

    The provost of the University of Wisconsin at Madison announced last week that the university would conduct a “review” of an instructor who has publicly stated that he believes the 9/11 attacks were an “inside job.” The instructor, Kevin Barrett, was a guest on a radio show last week where he defended his controversial views…. Read more

  • Grover Furr Ignores Facts, Again

    September 9, 2005

    In the comments section below my and Azhar Majeed’s Inside Higher Ed article, the infamous Grover Furr makes some outrageous accusations against my and FIRE’s writings.  He claims we do not “substantiate” our claims, that our articles are “dishonest” and that our articles “do not merit publication.”  Here is my response: Professor Furr, In claiming… Read more

  • The intimidating atmosphere for free speech on campus

    February 19, 2004

    The University of Colorado at Boulder decided to teach us all a lesson about free speech last week, but it may not be the lesson it intended. Administrators there had originally told the College Republicans and the Equal Opportunity Alliance that they could not hold an “affirmative action bake sale” on campus. In case you… Read more

  • Linda McCarriston’s Letter to FIRE

    April 9, 2001

    April 9, 2001 Dear Professor Kors: It has not been long since Thor Halvorssen of FIRE phoned my university office and found me alone and very frightened in a cinderblock building at the darkest time of the Alaska winter. Perhaps you can imagine my near disbelief that a voice so named, and with so much… Read more

  • University of Alaska President Proclaims Full Rights of Free Speech

    March 27, 2001

    ANCHORAGE, AK—In a memorandum to the faculty of all campuses of the University of Alaska, President Mark R. Hamilton came to the rescue of Professor Linda McCarriston, a poet and teacher of creative writing subjected to administrative interference and investigation because of the content of her work. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)… Read more