University of California, Irvine

Location: Irvine, California
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of California, Irvine 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 here.

  • University of California at Irvine: Suppression of Affirmative Action Bake Sale

    January 15, 2003

    The University of California at Irvine (UCI) has decided not to interfere with the College Republicans’ affirmative action bake sale. The bake sale protest was halted when administrators ordered them to remove the satirical price list for their doughnuts, saying it violated the university’s nondiscrimination policy. When student organizer Bryan Zuetel offered to change the price list to a “suggested price” list, he was told that this would still violate the policy. Barred from communicating their message, the students ended the protest. UCI later reversed course after the College Republicans agreed to list their prices as “suggested prices.” Greg Lukianoff […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Computer and Network Use Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Examples of misuse include, but are not limited to: … Using computers, electronic mail or any other form of computer network based communication to act abusively toward others or to provoke a violent reaction, such as stalking, acts of bigotry, threats of violence, or other hostile or intimidating “fighting words.” Such words include those terms widely recognized to victimize or stigmatize individuals on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, and other protected characteristics.

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  • Office of Student Conduct: Principles of Community 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience

    Our legacy for an increasingly multicultural academic community and for a learning climate free from expressions of bigotry is drawn from the United States and California Constitutions and from the charter of the University of California, which protects diversity and reaffirms our commitment to the protection of lawful free speech. Affirmation of that freedom is an effective way of ensuring that acts of bigotry and abusive behavior will not go unchallenged within the University. Tolerance, civility and mutual respect for diversity of background, gender, ethnicity, race, and religion is as crucial within our campus community as is tolerance, civility and mutual respect for diversity of political beliefs, sexual orientation, and physical abilities.

    All who work, live, study, and teach at UCI are here by choice and, as part of that choice, should be committed to these Principles of Community which are an integral part of the guidelines by which the University community can successfully conduct its affairs.

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  • Student Housing: Principles of Community 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    [E]veryone who chooses to live in, work in, or visit our residential communities must understand that we will not tolerate any form of bigotry, harassment, intimidation, threat, or abuse, whether verbal or written, physical or psychological, direct or implied. Alcohol or substance abuse, ignorance, or humorous intent will not be accepted as an excuse. We will respond to such behavior in a manner consistent with our educational mission and our policies for behavior on campus and in housing.

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  • Housing Policies: Bullying/Cyber Bullying 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies

    Bullying/Cyber Bullying, defined as the process of intimidating or mistreating somebody weaker or in a more vulnerable situation. Persons involved in harassment or bullying/cyber bullying will face student conduct action and may be referred to Student Life and Leadership Office.

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  • Housing Policies: Violence, Abuse, and Threatening Behavior 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Both direct and indirect forms of verbal and written abuse, threats, physical harassment, intimidation, and violence against another person or their property, as well as conduct that threatens the health and safety of self (including threats or attempts of suicide), are prohibited within housing communities or on the campus at large.

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  • University of California Campus Climate 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    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 clicking “Continue”. * Report anonymously to an appropriate campus office, based on the nature of the incident. Please refer to the website for the campus where the incident occurred. * Report anonymously via your campus’ Bias Reporting page, by selecting your campus from the Local Bias Reporting menu above. If your campus does not appear on this list, there is no local reporting form available. Please use this form, instead. * File a report with your Campus Police Department, via the Campus Police menu above.

    Expressions of Bias: A general communication not directed toward a particular individual, which disparages a group of people on the basis of some characteristic ….

    Hate Speech: Hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display that may incite violence or prejudicial action against someone based on actual or perceived race, color, ancestry, gender, gender identity, ethnicity ….

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  • Free Speech: A Guide for Demonstrations @ UCI 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    When planning a location for your demonstration, utilize the time, place, and manner regulations as mentioned in UCI Administrative Policies and Procedures Section 905 and pursue the reservation of an appropriate venue with Student Center and Event Services.

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Green Light Policies
  • Flag Ban On College Campus Was Foolish Idea

    March 15, 2015

    By Staff at The Grand Island Independent The American flag means so much to so many. It’s a symbol of freedom that represents the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, the right to bear arms and many other freedoms that Americans enjoy. The flag also symbolizes what so many brave men and women have fought for over the centuries, with many giving their lives for their country and the cause of freedom.   That’s why it was troubling to so many when the news came that student government representatives at the University of […]

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  • Flag Flap at California School Raises Free Speech Debate

    March 12, 2015

    By Gillian Flaccus at The Associated Press When student government representatives at the University of California, Irvine voted to ban all flags — including the American one — from their tiny office, they thought they had found a solution to a battle over freedom of speech that began when someone first tacked a U.S. flag to the wall in January. The flag had been at the center of an increasingly bitter game of cat-and-mouse, with some students taking it down repeatedly and others replacing it in the dark of night. Last week, six student legislative council members passed a resolution banning […]

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  • AT UC Irvine, Some Say Furor Over Attempted U.S. Flag Ban Is Overblown

    March 10, 2015

    By Emily Foxhall and Teresa Watanabe at Los Angeles Times UC Irvine students Prasoon Saurabh and Jinfeng Li both hang U.S. flags in their apartments. Saurabh, a 26-year-old graduate student in chemistry, also hangs flags from Ecuador, Argentina, Germany, France, Brazil, China and other countries to celebrate the diverse homelands of his many friends. So Saurabh is bemused by the national furor sparked by news that six members of a student government council voted last week to ban flags of any country in their office lobby. Although the action was quickly vetoed by the student body’s executive cabinet and denounced […]

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  • Fascism, The First Amendment And Hate Speech

    March 7, 2015

    By Gary Gross at The Associated Students of University of California, Irvine voted to ban the hanging of flags in its main lobby in the name of inclusion: “The Associated Students of University of California, Irvine (ASUCI) voted Tuesday to remove all flags, including American flags, from an inclusive space on campus because of their offensive nature. The bill, R50-70, was authored by Social Ecology Representative Matthew Guevara, and accuses all flags, especially, theAmerican flag, of being “symbols of patriotism or weapons for nationalism.” “[F]lags construct paradigms of conformity and sets [sic] homogenized standards for others to obtain which […]

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  • UC Irvine protest case raises questions about discipline practices

    June 21, 2010

    by Raja Abdulrahim and Larry Gordon Los Angeles Times   View this article at Los Angeles Times

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  • On campus, is heckling free speech? Or just rude?

    February 17, 2010

    Every few minutes during a talk last week at the University of California at Irvine, the same thing happened. A student would get up, shout something critical of Israel, be applauded by some in the audience, and be led away by police. The speaker -Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States – was repeatedly forced to stop his talk. He pleaded for the right to continue, and continued. University administrators lectured the students and asked them to let Oren speak. In the end, 11 students were arrested and they may also face charges of violating university rules. (Video of […]

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  • The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, and the Pasadena Star-News on FIRE

    March 3, 2004

    Universities still do not comprehend that their contempt for free speech places them far, far outside of the mainstream of American public opinion. In particular, they seem continually surprised that the media, who live or die by the Bill of Rights, understand freedom of expression full well. The March 1 lead editorial of The Philadelphia Inquirer, an editorial in today’s USA Today, and yet another editorial in the Pasadena Star-News offer a compelling textbook education, if academic administrators are willing to listen, in the relationship of higher education and freedom of speech.

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  • 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 speech, and four of them have flouted UC President Mark Yudof’s 2009 directive to protect free speech in their policies regarding discriminatory harassment. UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, and UC Santa Cruz all have been rated by FIRE with a red light for […]

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  • Dershowitz on Free Speech at UC Irvine

    February 25, 2011

    At The Huffington Post, Alan Dershowitz, renowned civil liberties litigator and member of the Board of Editors for FIRE’s guides to student rights, serves up his take on the right to speak and the right to hear at UC Irvine, in connection with a controversial event covered previously on The Torch.

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  • Criminal Charges for Student Protesters Who Disrupted UC Irvine Event

    February 7, 2011

    Nearly one year ago today, a few dozen people substantially disrupted a speech by Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, who was speaking at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in the UCI Student Center for a public lecture on “U.S. Israel Relations from a Political and Personal Perspective.” The lecture was sponsored by 10 campus bodies including the Department of Political Science and the School of Law, as well as the Consulate General of Israel and three other off-campus bodies. Last week, according to the Los Angeles Times, 11 of the disruptive protesters were charged with “conspiracy […]

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  • Punishment of Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine Debated in ‘Los Angeles Times’

    June 21, 2010

    The disciplinary recommendation of a year-long suspension for the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at the University of California, Irvine, is the subject of debate today in the Los Angeles Times. As reported here on The Torch last week, the university suspended the entire group—as opposed to simply pursuing charges against the individual students who participated in a coordinated set of disruptions of a lecture by Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in February. MSU has appealed, and the Times notes that individual disciplinary charges against eleven students—three from UC Riverside in addition to eight from UC Irvine—are also being pursued. MSU’s attorney alleges that […]

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  • UC Irvine’s Muslim Student Union Suspended for Disruption of Oren Lecture

    June 14, 2010

    A few months ago, Adam wrote about an incident at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), during which Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, was repeatedly disrupted by protesters, including members of UCI’s Muslim Student Union. UCI took a firm stand against the protesters’ tactics, and several students faced disciplinary charges following the event. Following a recently completed investigation, UCI has suspended MSU for an entire year, beginning September 1. Additionally, its members must collectively complete 50 hours of community service. In finding the MSU members guilty of several violations of UCI’s conduct code, the investigation found that, […]

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  • Disruptive Protesters Face Disciplinary Consequences at UC Irvine

    February 10, 2010

    On Monday, a few dozen people disrupted a speech by Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, who was speaking at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), in the UCI Student Center for a public lecture on “U.S. Israel Relations from a Political and Personal Perspective.” The lecture was sponsored by 10 campus bodies including the Department of Political Science and the School of Law, as well as the Consulate General of Israel and three other off-campus bodies. According to an account distributed by an off-campus, pro-Israel organization named StandWithUs, “it was clear to everyone in the audience that the MSU [the university’s Muslim Student […]

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  • ‘Free Speech and Double Standards’

    October 3, 2007

    Be sure to check out Stuart Taylor’s hard-hitting piece in the National Journal on “Free Speech and Double Standards” in academia. With regards to Columbia’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Taylor points out: It would be easier to stomach the free-speech grandstanding of Lee Bollinger, Columbia’s president and Ahmadinejad’s histrionically hostile host, and others of Bollinger’s ilk if they were a bit less selective in their devotion to the First Amendment. When a student group recently canceled an event featuring an anti-illegal-immigration speaker for fear of a hecklers’ veto by leftist students, for example, Bollinger had nothing to say. Taylor also brings much-needed […]

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  • FIRE on the Radio Today on Academic Freedom Cases in California

    September 21, 2007

    Today at 12:15 p.m. ET (9:15 a.m. PT), FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will participate in a broadcast panel discussion on academic freedom in the wake of the canceled speech by former Harvard President Larry Summers to the UC Board of Regents and the controversy surrounding Erwin Chemerinsky’s new position as dean of the UC–Irvine law school. The discussion will air on KQED San Francisco, and Torch readers can click here to listen online.

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  • David Bernstein on Summers, Chemerinsky, and Academic Freedom

    September 20, 2007

    Professor David Bernstein of George Mason University School of Law (and a Volokh Conspiracy blogger) has a great article in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times about the contrast between the University of California’s handling of Erwin Chemerinsky (shameful but ultimately corrected) and Larry Summers (shameful and uncorrected). Adam covered the Summers controversy in some depth in a blog post yesterday and even linked to Bernstein’s article, but I wanted to highlight it here. Bernstein begins: The saga of controversial liberal law professor Erwin Chemerinsky’s on-again, off-again deanship at the new UC Irvine law school was highly unusual in two ways. First, […]

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  • Larry Summers and ‘Academia at Its Worst’

    September 19, 2007

    It was disappointing to learn that the University of California (UC) withdrew its speaking invitation to former Harvard president Lawrence H. Summers after the invitations had gone out. The main pressure appears to have originated with a petition organized by faculty at UC Davis who argued that Summers “has come to symbolize gender and racial prejudice in academia.” His defenders, as well as some of his earlier critics at Harvard, criticized the decision in their remarks to the Harvard Crimson. “To deny him the opportunity to speak is … academia at its worst,” Harvard professor N. Gregory Mankiw told the […]

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  • Reversal: Chemerinsky Coming Back to UC Irvine

    September 17, 2007

    Capping off a bizarre few days, the Los Angeles Times is reporting this afternoon that legal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky will in fact serve as the dean of the University of California–Irvine’s new law school when it opens in 2009. Chemerinsky had discussed the situation in a Los Angeles Times op-ed just this past Friday, criticizing the school’s decision. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff himself criticized UC Irvine’s decision on Friday, declaring that the school had “lost a candidate who might have been a truly world-class dean, and you did so through an approach that just perpetuates the long, tiresome, hyper-partisan myth […]

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  • Erwin Chemerinsky and the Danger of the Partisan Dance

    September 14, 2007

    It’s difficult to get through three years of law school and not hear the name of noted constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky; if you take the bar exam you’ve likely spent a lot of time listening to him teach (Chemerinsky lectures on constitutional law are a mainstay of what is likely the most popular bar preparation course, BAR/BRI), and if you specialize in constitutional law (like many of my favorite people have), avoiding his work is comparable to walking between the raindrops. Simply put, Erwin Chemerinsky is one of the best-known scholars of American constitutional law. That is why it came as […]

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  • The Danger of “Hate Speech”

    May 31, 2007

    Often, while reviewing a school’s policies or the text of an administrator’s speech, I encounter promises of free speech tempered by the idea of hate speech: “While free speech is an integral part of this institution, hate speech is unacceptable and will be punished.” However, most of what universities call “hate speech” is free speech, as defined by the First Amendment, and trying to make a distinction between the two leads to dangerously subjective tests.   Therefore, it was refreshing to read an article in today’s Los Angeles Times about an event at UC Irvine at which the school’s Chancellor, […]

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  • Respecting Free Speech at UC Irvine

    June 8, 2005

    UC Irvine’s Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel N. Gomez wrote an opinion piece about freedom of speech that was posted today in the campus newspaper. His article is an excellent example of an administrator who understands the constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech, the Supreme Court precedents for what constitutes protected speech, and his own right to voice his opinion about how he personally believes this right should be exercised. His comments stand in stark contrast to UC Irvine’s past attempt to censor constitutionally protected speech. Here’s an excerpt: I want to remind our community that when we talk […]

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  • Fraternities Must Stand Up to Schools’ Squelching Free Speech

    October 11, 2004

    While there is no shortage of free-speech battles on college campuses, fraternities have the dubious honor of being at the center of many of the least-sympathetic controversies. From Halloween parties where brothers show up dressed as Ku Klux Klan members to fraternity newsletters that graphically relate a brother’s sexual exploits with named co-eds, fraternities sometimes express themselves in ways that are not exactly likely to win the battle for hearts and minds. However, although fraternities later may regret the actions of some of their brothers, they must not allow their rights to be stripped away by overzealous or opportunistic administrators. […]

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  • Practical Advice for Fraternities Caught in the Battle for Free Speech on Campus

    September 16, 2004

    I. Introduction While there is no shortage of free speech battles on college campuses, fraternities have the dubious honor of being at the center of many of the least sympathetic controversies. From Halloween parties where brothers show up dressed as Ku Klux Klan members to fraternity newsletters that graphically relate a brother’s sexual exploits with named co-eds, fraternities sometimes express themselves in ways that are not exactly likely to win the battle for hearts and minds. However, although fraternities may later regret the actions of some of their brothers, they must not allow their rights to be stripped away by […]

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  • Discrimination by doughnut at UCI

    September 27, 2003

      IRVINE – As the recall election dominates headlines and newscasts, the racial-data measure on the Oct. 7 ballot, Proposition 54, has seen little public debate. That is, except at the University of California, Irvine. On Thursday, students argued and nearly came to blows over a controversial bake sale – stopped only when a UCI administrator stepped in. On Friday, some on campus were still debating whether one group of students was being discriminatory to others and whether some students’ free-speech rights were violated. For the last day of Welcome Week on Thursday, UCI’s chapter of College Republicans set up […]

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