University of California, Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, California
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

University of California, Berkeley 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

Due Process Rating

Sexual Misconduct

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Non-Sexual Misconduct

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Title IX

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Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
  • Berkeley Campus Regulations Implementing University Policies: Areas for Public Expression

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

    On University grounds open to the public generally, all persons may exercise the constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech and assembly. Such activities must not, however, interfere with the right of the University to conduct its affairs in an orderly manner and to maintain its property, nor may t... Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct: Sexual, Racial and Other Forms of Harassment (Interim)

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 24, 2022

    Harassment defined as conduct that is so severe and/or pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so substantially impairs a person’s access to University programs or activities that the person is effectively denied equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities. Read More
  • University of California Policy: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 24, 2022

    Sexual Harassment is when: … unwelcome sexual or other sex-based conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably denies, adversely limits, or interferes with a person’s participation in or benefit from the education, employment or other programs or activities of the University, and... Read More
  • Respect and Civility in the Campus Community

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: March 17, 2021

    [T]he administration of this University publicly declares its expectation that all members of the campus community will work to develop and maintain a high degree of respect and civility for the wealth of diversity in which we are all fortunate to live and work together. Read More
  • University of California Campus Climate

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: March 17, 2021

    If you experience or observe behavior that is inconsistent with our Principles of Community, please report it. You may report in a variety of ways: Report anonymously or by name, via this Campus Climate page, by selecting the University of California campus where the incident occurred from the list to the right and... Read More
  • Residential Code of Conduct Section A: General Policies

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 17, 2021

    A20. Verbal Harassment A. Verbal or written statements that intimidate, harass, coerce or threaten others or their property are prohibited. This includes images, all modes of electronic communication, and social media. Read More
  • Major Events Hosted by Non-Departmental Users

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Security Fee Policies
    Last updated: March 17, 2021

    In consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs, UCPD will assess security needs based on objective and credible evidence of specific risks, and not on assessment of the viewpoints, opinions, or anticipated expression of event speakers, sponsors, participants, community, or performers. Permissible factors for consi... Read More
  • University of California Policy: 30.00 Policy on Speech and Advocacy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, Statement
    Last updated: March 17, 2021

    The University is committed to assuring that all persons may exercise the constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech, assembly, and worship. … The University recognizes, supports, and shall not abridge the constitutional rights of faculty, students, or staff to participate, either as individu... Read More
  • Regents Policy 3303: Policy on Employee and Student Protections Related to Student Press and Student Free Speech Rights

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, Statement
    Last updated: March 17, 2021

    No University of California student shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions solely on the basis of speech or other communication that is protected from governmental restriction under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 2 of Article I of the California Constitution, or Section 66301 of t... Read More
  • University of California, Berkeley Statement on Free Speech

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, Statement
    Last updated: March 17, 2021

    Constitutionally protected expressive activity will not be subject to discipline under the Code. Nevertheless, members of the campus community must recognize that certain types of conduct and speech are not constitutionally protected and that when individuals engage in them — even in the context of expressive action... Read More
  • University of California Policy: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence: DOE Sex-Based Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 17, 2021

    DOE-Covered Conduct. Conduct is DOE-Covered Conduct if all of the below are true: … The alleged conduct is DOE Sex-Based Misconduct, meaning it is any of the following: … unwelcome sexual or other sex-based conduct (as defined in Section II of the Policy) that a reasonable person would determine is so se... Read More

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.


Sexual Misconduct

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Non-Sexual Misconduct

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Title IX

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

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 83/154
Ideological Diversity 133/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 59.37
Openness 9.64
Tolerance (Liberals) 11.62
Tolerance (Conservatives) 7.25
Administrative Support 6.05
Comfort 15.42
Disruptive Conduct 9.39
Speech Code YELLOW
  • UC Berkeley clarifies media policies after FIRE letter; student journalists get equal campus access

    March 17, 2021

    Until last week, the University of California, Berkeley required all journalists — including student journalists — to secure administrative permission before filming documentaries or other long-form journalism on campus. After FIRE wrote to Berkeley in November, the university revised its policy to exempt student journalists. In effect, the old policy meant that students were free… Read more

  • FIRE urges 15 top colleges and universities to improve restrictive press policies

    November 12, 2020

    Over the summer, a report from the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement revealed that a majority of top colleges and universities maintain policies unfriendly to the press, including the student press. As FIRE reported at the time, UC Center fellow John K. Wilson found that these policies include requirements… Read more

  • UC Berkeley agrees to pay $70k, change policies, in speech suit settlement

    December 4, 2018

    The University of California, Berkeley announced yesterday that it had settled a First Amendment lawsuit with two conservative groups who accused the university of viewpoint discrimination. In settling the case brought by the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation yesterday, the university denied it engaged in viewpoint discrimination against the groups’ invited speakers — but… Read more

  • Berkeley revises student organization rules in lawsuit settlement

    July 9, 2018

    Back in December 2017, Young Americans for Liberty at UC Berkeley, an unrecognized student organization, filed a lawsuit against school administrators who failed to recognize the organization. In an amended complaint, filed in March of this year, the organization and one of its officers alleged that Berkeley would not recognize the YAL chapter as a… Read more

  • Lawsuit against Berkeley speaker policies to proceed

    May 1, 2018

    Last week, the Honorable Maxine M. Chesney of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California allowed a First Amendment lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley, to proceed. The suit, filed last April by Young America’s Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans, alleges that Berkeley adopted a series of policies that… Read more

  • Association of American Universities endorses free speech statement

    April 20, 2018

    The Association of American Universities reaffirmed its commitment to freedom of expression and speech in a statement released this week. The statement by the AAU, an organization composed of 62 higher education institutions, endorsed expressive freedom as central to the purpose of a university: The free and open exchange of ideas and information is fundamental… Read more

  • New journal article discusses the conflict between academic freedom and open records laws

    March 20, 2018

    A recent paper provides an in-depth look into the ongoing friction between state open records laws and the academic freedom of university researchers. The article, written by University of California, Berkeley, School of Law professor Claudia Polsky, addresses how these laws have been used to conduct politically-motivated fishing expeditions into the private academic records of… Read more

  • UPDATE: After Florida school shooting, ‘Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ promising high schoolers a right to protest

    March 14, 2018

    Update: FIRE has tallied the number of colleges and universities that have made statements supporting free speech, based on the list compiled by Chris Peterson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology assistant director of undergraduate admissions. Out of the schools in our Spotlight database that made statements on free speech, 61 have a “red light” speech code… Read more

  • The 10 worst colleges for free speech: 2018

    February 12, 2018

    Every year, FIRE chooses the 10 worst colleges for free speech — and unfortunately, 2017 left us with plenty of options: Campuses were rocked by violent mob censorship, monitored by bias response teams, plagued by free speech zones, and beset by far too many disinvitation attempts. Although the number of colleges with the most restrictive… Read more

  • FIRE names America’s 10 worst colleges for free speech: 2018

    February 12, 2018

    PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 12, 2018 — Each year, colleges across the country find dubious ways to silence student and faculty expression. In the last year, administrators became embroiled in litigation for telling a student he couldn’t hand out Spanish-language copies of the U.S. Constitution outside a free speech zone, continued a years-long effort to ban a… Read more

  • Department of Justice files statement of interest in UC Berkeley First Amendment case

    January 26, 2018

    Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit brought by the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation alleging that Berkeley’s High-Profile Speakers and Major Events policies violate their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In its statement of interest, the DOJ argues that the “Plaintiffs’ allegations, if proven, demonstrate… Read more

  • Berkeley: Then and now (VIDEO)

    December 8, 2017

    Today marks the 53rd anniversary of the University of California, Berkeley faculty senate vote which, at the urging of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement, reformed the institution’s policies on campus expression. In 1964, the students who participated in the movement demanded that Berkeley respect their First Amendment rights. The result was a revolution for student… Read more

  • So to Speak podcast: Berkeley then and now

    November 3, 2017

    Nowhere have the campus free speech debates been as intense as at the University of California, Berkeley — the home of the Free Speech Movement. Violent protests against one speaker. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in security costs to protect another. Speaking invitations extended and then (maybe?) rescinded. And that’s just this year. On this… Read more

  • Chemerinsky and Gillman create free speech checklist for college administrators

    September 15, 2017

    Last week, Erwin Chemerinsky and Howard Gillman—the dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law and the chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, respectively—issued a short free speech checklist for college administrators. Although the list is intended to help college administrators navigate the contours of the First Amendment, it also serves as… Read more

  • Berkeley’s new chancellor releases powerful statement: ‘Free speech is our legacy’

    August 23, 2017

    The University of California, Berkeley’s new chancellor, Carol Christ, reinforced her commitment to regain the school’s “free speech legacy” in an email to the campus community this morning. Having declared earlier this month that 2017 was to be a “free speech year,” Christ once again asked students and faculty to rally around the idea of… Read more

  • Berkeley plans multi-platform free speech initiative for new academic year

    August 17, 2017

    The University of California, Berkeley has grappled with, and sometimes stumbled, managing its obligations under the First Amendment in recent months. But the start of a fresh academic year brings new chancellor Carol Christ at the helm. And on Tuesday, Christ announced that Berkeley is going to put free speech at the very forefront of… Read more

  • UC Berkeley will host Ben Shapiro event, pay fees after College Republicans accuse university of censorship

    July 20, 2017

    The University of California, Berkeley has confirmed to FIRE it will host an on-campus event sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans featuring conservative commentator Ben Shapiro on September 14 at 7 p.m. — even if the university has to foot the bill. “It’s clear that we have a number of workable options,” said Dan Mogulof,… Read more

  • FIRE statement on the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s speech at UC Berkeley

    April 26, 2017

    Today, Ann Coulter announced that she will no longer attempt to speak at the University of California, Berkeley tomorrow, Thursday, April 27, because of safety concerns. This latest success for those willing to threaten or engage in violence in order to silence a campus speaker establishes a genuinely dangerous precedent. Public colleges and universities have… Read more

  • Berkeley sued over Ann Coulter cancellation

    April 24, 2017

    This morning, the Young America’s Foundation and Berkeley College Republicans filed a lawsuit against officials at the University of California, Berkeley, arising out of administrators’ unilateral decision to “reschedule” a planned Thursday appearance by Ann Coulter, invited to speak at the university by several student organizations. After substantial public backlash, including criticism from Sen. Bernie… Read more

  • [UPDATED] A message from FIRE’s president: UC Berkeley and the state of free speech on campus

    April 20, 2017

    Update (4:25 pm, EDT): The New York Times reports that the University of California, Berkeley will allow Ann Coulter to speak on campus May 2, after initially cancelling her planned April 27 appearance. FIRE will continue to investigate the details of this developing story. We at FIRE have watched the situation on campus with growing… Read more

  • UC Berkeley Chancellor Condemns Calls for Violence, Reiterates Support for Free Speech

    February 15, 2017

    If you have been following our Newsdesk or social media accounts, you’ve probably seen our coverage of the recent protest that turned violent at the University of California, Berkeley. That violence reportedly caused $100,000 in property damage and multiple injuries, leading to the cancellation of Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled talk. Before the event, we commended… Read more

  • After the Smoke Clears at Berkeley, Could More Have Been Done?

    February 4, 2017

    Last week, we praised University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks for professing his respect for the First Amendment rights of his students. Faced with calls to cancel Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ appearance on campus at the invitation of the College Republicans, Chancellor Dirks refused. Instead, he committed the university to treating Yiannopoulos and the… Read more

  • Updated Statement on Violent Protest at University of California, Berkeley

    February 2, 2017

    Last night, a violent protest at the University of California, Berkeley forced the cancellation of a speech by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. The fires, vandalism, and injuries resulting from the unrest at Berkeley have drawn national media attention and a tweet from President Donald Trump. FIRE condemns both violence and attempts to silence protected expression… Read more

  • Statement on Violent Protest at University of California, Berkeley

    February 1, 2017

    On Wednesday night, protests at the University of California, Berkeley turned violent in response to a scheduled campus speech by Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos. As a result, the speech was cancelled and Yiannopoulos was evacuated from campus. The use of mob violence to respond to constitutionally protected expression is an affront to our nation’s liberal… Read more

  • In Maryland and California, University Leaders Set Example with Commitments to Free Speech

    January 27, 2017

    Regular readers of FIRE’s website are all too familiar with campus administrators censoring student and faculty speech, particularly when faced with controversial or unpopular viewpoints. For one example of thousands, we issued a press release Wednesday calling on Fordham University to honor its promises of free expression by reversing its misguided denial of recognition to… Read more

  • Speech Code Countdown: Most of America’s ‘Best Colleges’ Restrict Speech

    October 5, 2016

    U.S. News & World Report recently released its annual rankings of the “Best Colleges” for 2017. The rankings are based on a multitude of “indicators of academic excellence” that prospective students use to narrow down their college application lists, including graduation and retention rate, financial resources, the institution’s reputation, and student selectivity. But U.S. News’… Read more

  • Berkeley Protesters Attack College Republicans, Campus Police Let It Happen

    September 13, 2016

    In the 1960s, the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) became famous for its Free Speech Movement, during which students fought for the right to express themselves on campus. But today there is worrisome evidence that the university won’t lift a finger when freedom of speech is literally under attack. According to media reports, the… Read more

  • Berkeley Student Protesters Rush Stage at Event Hosted by Metallica Drummer, Allegedly Assault Panelist (VIDEO)

    March 16, 2016

    Heavy metal band Metallica, who have already covered one song called “Free Speech for the Dumb,” might title their next album “… And Free Speech for All at Berkeley.” The movement to heckle and silence speakers on campus was ratcheted up on March 2 after a group of students stormed the stage at a University of… Read more

  • ‘Slate’: ‘Every College Should Issue a Transparency Report About Government Requests for Student Data’

    September 24, 2015

    Writing in Slate last week, digital rights activist April Glaser urged colleges and universities to report the private electronic student data they release at the request of certain entities, including internal committees, federal agencies, and law enforcement. The piece called the University of California, Berkeley’s promise of biannual “transparency reports,” detailing categories of what is released… Read more

  • University of California Considers Yet Another Proposal to Silence Protected Speech

    September 14, 2015

    Later this week, the University of California (UC) will consider a new proposal to silence speech protected by the First Amendment. Here we go again. This Thursday, the Committee on Education Policy of the Regents of the University of California will discuss a new “Statement of Principles Against Intolerance” that would require UC students and… Read more

  • 5 Important Points About the Bill Maher-UC Berkeley Controversy

    January 4, 2015

    As you probably already know, the University of California, Berkeley, is embroiled in a commencement speaker controversy. Students are protesting UC Berkeley’s invitation to evangelical atheist and comedian Bill Maher to speak at the school’s December graduation. The controversy comes in the wake of a headline-grabbing exchange with actor Ben Affleck on Maher’s HBO show,… Read more

  • Bill Maher Delivers Commencement Speech Without Censorship

    December 22, 2014

    Bill Maher spoke at the University of California, Berkeley’s winter graduation ceremony on Saturday following months of demands that the university disinvite Maher because of his controversial statements about Islam. Thankfully, the UC Berkeley administration steadfastly resisted those demands, even releasing statements explaining why the university’s commitment to freedom of expression required it to allow… Read more

  • Protest Dos and Don’ts, Brought to You By Michigan State and UC Berkeley

    December 15, 2014

    This past weekend, columnist George Will spoke at Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) December commencement ceremony, after university officials rebuffed students’ demands that he be disinvited. Will’s speech was not free from protesters, but thankfully it was free from disruption. The strategy employed by those objecting to Will’s presence stands in stark contrast to that of… Read more

  • Confused Protesters Disrupt Dialogue Between Peter Thiel and UC Berkeley Students

    December 11, 2014

    Last night, entrepreneur and libertarian Peter Thiel was taking questions from students gathered to hear him speak at the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) when scores of protesters broke into the venue and shouted Thiel down, halting the event. The Berkeley Forum, the student organization that hosted the event, later criticized the protesters for… Read more

  • Chris Rock Explains Why He Doesn’t Want to Perform on College Campuses

    December 1, 2014

    New York magazine’s Frank Rich interviewed comedian Chris Rock for a piece published yesterday, and Rock took the opportunity to point out another sad result of college students “unlearning liberty”: talented comedians no longer want to perform on campus. In the interview, Rich and Rock discussed how Rock, like many comedians, has been criticized by… Read more

  • Center for Constitutional Rights and Allies Write to Universities About Problems with Mandating ‘Civility’

    November 19, 2014

    Colleges and universities too often attempt to censor or chill expression by calling for “civility,” demanding that speakers exercise restraint in a way that is inconsistent with First Amendment principles. Earlier this month, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) joined Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus, Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, the National Lawyers Guild, and… Read more

  • Greg in ‘Huffington Post’: 5 Important Points About the Bill Maher–UC Berkeley Controversy

    November 4, 2014

    The debate over whether the University of California, Berkeley should disinvite Bill Maher as its December commencement speaker is still raging on, even after the UC Berkeley administration publicly reaffirmed its invitation to Maher. As I reported last week, many critics of Maher’s are arguing that statements he has made about Islam, among other topics,… Read more

  • UC Berkeley Rejects Students’ Demands to Disinvite Bill Maher

    October 30, 2014

    Torch readers know that FIRE and other free speech advocates have had much to criticize the University of California, Berkeley about lately. Many have pointed out that UC Berkeley’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement rings somewhat hollow in light of its numerous speech codes. And last month, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks… Read more

  • Free Speech Advocates Continue to Call Out UC Berkeley for Shallow Celebration

    October 16, 2014

    As the University of California, Berkeley celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement (FSM) this fall, many remain critical of the university’s failure to protect freedom of speech on campus today. Last month, FIRE reported on UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks’s misunderstanding of the relationship between free speech and civility, as expressed in… Read more

  • FIRE Urges UC Berkeley to Honor ‘Free Speech Movement’; FIRE President to Speak at 50th Anniversary Event

    September 26, 2014

    BERKELEY, Calif., September 26, 2014—As the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) celebrates the 50th anniversary of the historic Free Speech Movement this fall, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) sent the university a letter today urging it to revise its six speech codes to comply with the First Amendment. FIRE President Greg… Read more

  • Catch FIRE President Greg Lukianoff in D.C., Chapel Hill, and Berkeley Next Week

    September 19, 2014

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be on the move next week as he travels from campus to campus to promote free speech and First Amendment rights at America’s colleges and universities. On Monday, Greg will be participating in the Fourth Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering on the campus of George… Read more

  • Free Speech, UC Davis, and the Anti-Defamation League

    September 17, 2014

    Peter Schmidt of The Chronicle of Higher Education reports today on an email that was sent to University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi by Seth Brysk of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which Katehi’s office forwarded to campus administrators. The email, the full text of which is publicly available on the Electronic Intifada… Read more

  • The Free Speech Movement vs. UC Berkeley Chancellor Dirks on Free Speech

    September 12, 2014

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and Popehat’s Ken White aren’t the only ones criticizing University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks for his half-hearted celebration of the 50th anniversary of UC Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement (FSM) last week. Members of the FSM itself are speaking up. The Berkeley Daily Planet reported yesterday that the Board of… Read more

  • UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Email Is Very Wrong About Freedom of Speech

    September 9, 2014

    Popehat’s Ken White has called out University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) Chancellor Nicholas Dirks for an email he sent to faculty, staff, and students on Friday in which he utterly failed to grasp key First Amendment principles. Dirks began his email by celebrating the 50th anniversary of the “Free Speech Movement.” FIRE hoped UC… Read more

  • Freedom of Speech or Freedom From Speech: 50 Years After the Berkeley Free Speech Movement

    September 9, 2014

    Late Friday afternoon, at a time usually reserved for announcements campus administrators would prefer to bury, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent out a message to all faculty, staff, and students titled “Civility and Free Speech.” While the message was intended to honor the 50-year anniversary of the start of the famed Berkeley Free Speech… Read more

  • FIRE President Takes On Berkeley Chancellor in WSJ; Releases New Book, ‘Freedom From Speech’

    September 9, 2014

    WASHINGTON, September 9, 2014—Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) announces the release of President Greg Lukianoff’s second book, Freedom From Speech, as well as his latest op-ed in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), in which he criticizes the University of California, Berkeley chancellor’s weak defense of campus free speech. In Freedom From… Read more

  • UC Berkeley Should Commemorate the ‘Free Speech Movement’ By Becoming a ‘Green Light’ School

    May 1, 2014

    This year, the University of California, Berkeley is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the “Free Speech Movement,” which emerged in 1964 to protest UC Berkeley’s ban of on-campus political activities. However, the 50th anniversary isn’t until this fall, so UC Berkeley administrators still have plenty of time to make the event even more significant by revising the university’s speech-restrictive policies and becoming a “green light” institution.

  • 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

  • Citing Centrality of ‘Robust and Discordant Expressions’ to University Life, OCR Dismisses Complaint of Anti-Semitism Against Berkeley

    August 30, 2013

    Last week, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) dismissed a complaint (PDF) by Jewish students against the University of California, Berkeley. The complaint had alleged that anti-Israel protests on Berkeley’s campus created a hostile environment for Jewish students.  Explaining its decision to dismiss the complaint, OCR wrote: In the university environment, exposure… Read more

  • From the Archives: The Fight for Freedom of Speech at UC Berkeley Helps Spark the Social Revolution of the 1960s

    August 29, 2012

    In theory, freedom of speech on college campuses should be a given. All public universities must abide by the First Amendment, and few secular private institutions explicitly disavow it. The problem arises when schools adopt policies that have the effect of curtailing freedom of expression in practice. Fifty years ago, the students at the University… Read more

  • UC Violates Journalist’s Rights; California Taxpayers Lose $162,500

    July 5, 2012

    In another example of universities violating individual rights and leaving taxpayers with the bill, Californians are out $162,500 following the University of California, Berkeley’s settlement with a photojournalist whose photographs of a protest on Berkeley’s campus were wrongfully seized during the December 11, 2009, event.  David Morse, a journalist with Indybay, had been covering the… Read more

  • Uncool, Berkeley, Uncool.

    May 4, 2012

    Last week, University of California, Berkeley freshman Derek Low made a video, which quickly went viral, about tweaks he made to his freshman dorm room. Instead of complimenting him for his creativity, Berkeley is dragging him into a judicial hearing.   Low, an electrical engineering and computer science major, used his skills to turn his… Read more

  • Berkeley Student Gov’t President Voids Referendum for Paper’s Funding

    April 13, 2012

    The Daily Californian, a student newspaper at the University of California at Berkeley, is reporting that a measure for direct student organization funding on the student ballot has been voided by the president of the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), Vishalli Loomba.   The "V.O.I.C.E. Initiative" would have subsidized the printing and… Read more

  • University of California Schools Flout Student Speech Rights

    November 29, 2011

    While some University of California schools are facing scrutiny due to their handling of students’ exercises of free speech and civil disobedience, others in the system have unfinished business protecting students’ free speech rights in their policies. All eight of the UC universities reviewed by FIRE have “red light” or “yellow light” ratings for restricting campus… Read more

  • Affirmative Action Bake Sale at Berkeley Causes Campus Consternation

    September 26, 2011

    An "affirmative action bake sale" protest planned by the Berkeley College Republicans for tomorrow has caused an uproar at the University of California’s flagship campus. Affirmative action bake sales, for those who don’t know, are a widely used form of satirical protest against affirmative action (as viewed by the organizers). Organizers display a satirical bake… Read more

  • ‘Daily Texan’ Addresses Berkeley Chancellor’s Chilling Campus E-mail

    January 19, 2011

    The Daily Texan at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) has published a compelling editorial examining University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau’s recent e-mail to the campus community following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. The Daily Texan questions Birgeneau’s e-mail in the context of his prominent position, pointing out that… Read more

  • ‘L.A. Times’ Article Highlights UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Folly

    January 14, 2011

    An article in the Los Angeles Times today highlighted the critical response to University of California, Berkeley, Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau’s campus-wide e-mail from this week, in which he "linked a Tucson shooting rampage with Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigrants and the failure of the DREAM Act." As FIRE’s Adam Kissel detailed in a Torch post that was… Read more

  • ‘Los Angeles Times’ Quotes FIRE on Berkeley Chancellor’s E-mail about Arizona

    January 14, 2011

    UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau controversially e-mailed the whole campus on Monday, placing blame for the Tucson, Arizona, shooting on the "climate" of speech in Arizona. Birgeneau went so far as to write that "A climate in which demonization of others goes unchallenged and hateful speech is tolerated can lead to such a tragedy." Criticism… Read more

  • Berkeley Student Weighs in on Chancellor’s Controversial Statement Regarding AZ Tragedy

    January 14, 2011

    2010 FIRE Intern and UC Berkeley student Casey Given discusses his chancellor’s controversial statement following the tragic shooting in Arizona and calls on fellow students to stand up for free speech on campus in the wake of similar challenges that conflate speech with violent action.

  • Instapundit Highlights FIRE’s Response to Berkeley Chancellor

    January 12, 2011

    Blogger and law professor Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit highlighted Adam’s blog post lamenting UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau’s response to the recent shooting in Arizona.

  • Adam Kissel Featured on ‘The Huffington Post’

    January 11, 2011

    Adam Kissel’s examination of Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s e-mail to the UC Berkeley community regarding the Arizona shooting and the threat of "hate speech" has been republished on The Huffington Post.

  • UC Berkeley Chancellor Blames Arizona Shooting on ‘Hateful Speech,’ Warns of Safety Consequences on Campus

    January 11, 2011

    Yesterday morning, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau e-mailed the campus community with regard to the horrendous mass shooting in Arizona that killed a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl, and several others while gravely injuring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the apparent target of the attack. Like many others in the news media and on blogs and Twitter, Birgeneau… Read more

  • ‘California Watch’: No Free Speech at California Colleges

    January 7, 2011

    Free speech is not safe at California colleges—not by a long shot. That’s what investigative reporter Erica Perez found in FIRE’s 2011 speech code report, as she wrote yesterday for California Watch: A new report from a national free speech advocacy organization found most of the four-year universities it surveyed had speech codes that substantially limit students’… Read more

  • Former FIRE Intern Urges UC Berkeley to Live Up to its Reputation

    November 16, 2010

    Former FIRE Intern and current University of California at Berkeley junior Casey Given has written an excellent column for The Daily Californian about censorship on campus. Torch readers might remember Given’s August blog post criticizing the Berkeley Administration for failing to punish acts of civil disobedience. In his Daily Californian column, he laments the divergence between… Read more

  • 3,000 Copies of ‘The Daily Californian’ Stolen on Eve of 2010 Midterm Elections

    November 4, 2010

    The Daily Californian‘s news blog reported on October 30 that 3,000 copies of the student paper went missing from a central distribution point on the University of California at Berkeley’s campus early last Thursday morning. At about 8 a.m. on Oct. 28, a distribution team member arriving to pick up a stack of the newspapers… Read more

  • Berkeley Student Charged with ‘Unauthorized Conduct’ for Addressing Police Officer about Campus Bike Rules

    November 1, 2010

    You might remember ScooterGate, in which the University of Georgia (UGA) charged a student with "disruption" and "disorderly conduct" because he sent a mocking e-mail to UGA Parking Services to complain about the lack of campus parking spaces for scooters. Well, the University of California at Berkeley now has BikeGate—and it’s a great example of… Read more

  • The Blurred Limit of Expression at the Home of the Free Speech Movement

    August 10, 2010

    To many people, “Berkeley” is synonymous with “protest.” Mentioning the University of California, Berkeley often conjures up images of bearded bohemians and flower children peacefully rallying for a “hippie” cause of the past, such as the famous Free Speech Movement of the mid-sixties. Indeed, Berkeley’s protest culture has given the university a reputation for being… Read more

  • Does ‘The Berkeley Experience’ Treat Students Like Children by Encouraging Protesters to Go Too Far?

    July 9, 2010

    University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor and FIRE friend Donald Downs published an excellent article yesterday on Minding the Campus. The article examines how the University of California, Berkeley, might have sown the seeds of its own chaos prior to violent protests last November and December, which even included a violent attack on Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s home. Focusing… Read more

  • Berkeley Claims Control of the Word ‘California’ But Permits Student Group to Use It

    May 3, 2010

    The University of California at Berkeley restricts student organizations from using the words "California," "Cal," and "Berkeley" in organization names without prior permission. Like many colleges and universities across California, Berkeley is enforcing unconstitutional provisions that prevent the use of school names in a wide variety of contexts, even when there is no confusion between… Read more

  • Victory for Freedom of Speech at University of Arizona: Refund of Security Fee for Controversial Speaker

    July 6, 2009

    Today’s press release announces yet another FIRE victory on behalf of a student group unfairly burdened with the cost of bringing controversial speakers to campus. Late last week, FIRE learned that the University of Arizona was reversing its decision to charge the College Republicans $384.72 in extra security fees for an event featuring author and… Read more

  • Four FIRE Cases on Security Fees Top Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle

    March 31, 2009

    Page A-1 of Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle features four of FIRE’s cases on unacceptably high security fees for controversial speakers. In each case, the potential reaction of the audience was used to assess security fees and charge them to the host. But as the Supreme Court wrote in Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992), “Speech… Read more

  • Rights in the News: FIRE Stands up for Virginia Tech Faculty

    March 27, 2009

    As you may have read in The Torch this week, FIRE is leading the charge against requirements at Virginia Tech that tie tenure and promotion to a commitment to "diversity"—requirements that amount to a political loyalty oath for faculty members. Such requirements, as FIRE and others have written, are a serious threat to academic freedom… Read more

  • Controversial Speakers Face Huge Security Fees at Berkeley and Colorado

    March 17, 2009

    Today’s press release calls upon the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Colorado at Boulder to meet their constitutional responsibility not to burden controversial speakers or ideas on campus. The principle is pretty clear: whether the speaker is controversial, popular, or unremarkable, similar security fees should be assessed for similar events. All… Read more

  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: UC–Berkeley

    February 9, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at the University of California–Berkeley. UC–Berkeley receives a yellow-light rating, which means that there are one or more policies in place that… Read more

  • Free Speech under Attack during Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week

    October 25, 2007

    This week, as the Terrorism Awareness Project provides speakers at college campuses in order to increase awareness about terrorism of the Muslim extremist variety, the predictable has come to pass: speakers have been prevented by protesters from enjoying their freedom of speech. At Emory University, David Horowitz’s lecture ended prematurely when audience members refused to… Read more

  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping… Read more

  • Journalism Association Condemns Press Freedom Violations

    August 16, 2006

    Yesterday, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reported the August 4 decision by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) to censure a community college in New Jersey for violating freedom of the press. Ocean Community College (OCC) has already been censured by the College Media Advisers, Inc. (CMA), a national organization… Read more

  • Newspaper Theft at Troy University: Facebook Article Involved?

    February 15, 2006

    Today’s Inside Higher Ed features an article about an instance of illegal censorship at Troy University in Alabama, which holds the dubious distinction of being one of the targets of FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Project because of its unconstitutional speech code. The latest instance of censorship at Troy came last Thursday, when nearly 2,000 out… Read more

  • The Generational Swindle (Part 1001)

    May 12, 2005

    Berkeley, where pot smoking was a basic civil right in the sixties, has banned drinking in the fraternities, turning its sights on demon rum in the hands of the wrong kinds of students. Berkeley: Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair, but watch out for Carrie Nation, Big Brother, and Big Sister.  How… Read more