University of California, Santa Cruz

Location: Santa Cruz, California
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Tell University of California, Santa Cruz to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of California, Santa Cruz 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.

Yellow Light Policies
  • University of California Campus Climate

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    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 ….


    » Read More

  • Principles of Community

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    UCSC expects that every campus member will practice these Principles of Community.

    We strive to be:

    • Diverse: We embrace diversity in all its forms and we strive for an inclusive community that fosters an open, enlightened and productive environment.
    • Open: We believe free exchange of ideas requires mutual respect and consideration for our differences.
    • Purposeful: We are a participatory community united by shared commitments to: service to society; preservation and advancement of knowledge; and innovative teaching and learning.
    • Caring: We promote mutual respect, trust and support to foster bonds that strengthen the community.
    • Just: We are committed to due process, respect for individual dignity and equitable access to resources, recognition and rewards.
    • Disciplined: We seek to advance common goals through reasonable and realistic practices, procedures and expectations.
    • Celebrative: We celebrate the heritage, achievements and diversity of the community and the uniqueness and contributions of our members.

    We accept the responsibility to pursue these principles in an atmosphere of personal and intellectual freedom, security, respect, civility and mutual support.

    » Read More

  • Policy IT-0003: Policy for Acceptable Use of UCSC Electronic Information Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    All users of UCSC eIRs are expected to comply with applicable laws and regulations, University and campus policies, and contractual obligations. These include, but are not limited to, the UC ECPSection 502 of the California Penal Code, and the following specific policies and expectations. Violations may result in loss of access to eIRs, disciplinary action, and additional consequences of prosecution under the law.  … transmitting inappropriate mass messages.

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  • UCSC Bias Incidents/Hate Crimes Policy & Procedures

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    In keeping with the UCSC Principles of Community, we expect students and their guests to refrain from any acts or behaviors that are directed at other members of the campus community, and that result in unlawful discrimination, harassment or bias for an individual or group, and/or that substantially disrupt University operations or interfere with the rights of others.

    Not every expression of hate or group bias rises to the level of a hate crime as defined in state and federal law. Derogatory words or epithets directed against a member of a protected class — if not accompanied either by action with an intent to threaten harm with the ability to carry it out, or other applicable rules violations — are considered protected speech and not a hate crime.

    Even when the incident is not a crime, however, the campus seeks to prevent and respond to these incidents by educating the campus community and providing a clear, accessible way to report experiences of hate or bias. Any communication or behavior that maligns another individual or group on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or service in the uniformed services, may be an incident of hate or bias within the scope of this policy. If the communication or behavior substantially disrupts or interferes with University operations or the rights of others, it may be subject to additional review and investigation consistent with the University’s student discipline procedures or employee personnel policies.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Policies and Regulations Handbook: 30.00 Policy on Speech and Advocacy

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    Freedom of thought, inquiry, speech and lawful assembly are fundamental rights of all persons. These rights include the freedom to express opinions; to hear, express and debate various views, no matter how unpopular; and to voice criticism. Free speech is uniquely important to the University as it brings about a free interchange of ideas integral to the University’s fundamental mission of teaching, research and public service. All sworn personnel are bound by law to protect the Constitutional rights of all persons including the rights of free speech and assembly.

    » Read More

  • Student Policies and Regulations Handbook: 40.00 Policy on Use of University Properties

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    40.40 On University grounds open to the public generally, as may be described in campus regulations, all persons may exercise the constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech, assembly, and worship (including the distribution or sale of noncommercial literature incidental to the exercise of these freedoms). Such activities shall not interfere with the orderly operation of the campus and must be conducted in accordance with campus time, place, and manner regulations.

    40.41 For the purpose of these regulations, “grounds open to the public generally” are defined as the outdoor areas of the campus (e.g., lawns, patios, plazas) that are at least 10 feet from the entrances/exits of campus buildings and parking lots, and that are also a safe distance from the curbing of campus roads. Outdoor recreational areas (e.g., playing fields, courts, swimming pools) and grounds adjacent to designated “private residences” (e.g., Faculty/Staff Housing, residences of the chancellor and college provosts) are excluded from this definition.

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  • University of California: Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … such conduct is sufficiently severe 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 and services of the University and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find to be intimidating or offensive.

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  • Student Policies and Regulations Handbook: 100.0 Code of Student Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2018

    102.09 Harassment

    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. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, conduct that is motivated on the basis of a person’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, sex, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, marital status, ancestry, service in the uniformed services, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, or perceived membership in any of these classifications.

    102.11 Other Harassment: Physical, verbal, written, face­to­face, telephonic, electronic or other direct means of contact that a student knows or should know is unwelcome, is communicated directly to one or more specific students, faculty, or staff, and constitutes severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive conduct; and does not constitute speech protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

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  • On a College Campus? Don’t Try to Tell a Joke

    May 23, 2016

    By Robby Soave at The Daily Beast Tell a joke, and you might make someone laugh. But tell a joke on a college campus, and you might make someone report you to the administration’s Bias Response Team (BRT)—an Orwellian bureau that investigates students and faculty members for saying the wrong thing… Read more here.

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  • No Laughing Matter: College Comedy Papers Struggle with ‘Political Correctness’ Climate

    May 13, 2016

    By Allison Kowalski at SPLC Emmy Ballard knew it was time for an apology. It was 2010, and the comedy paper she was an assistant editor of, The Fish Rap Live!, had been accused by the student population at University of California, Santa Cruz of publishing racist content and some groups had even called for defunding the paper… Read more here.

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  • Social Justice Warriors are Waging an Increasingly Nasty Culture War and It’s Making America Mad

    November 27, 2015

    By Nick Whigham at Australia THERE’S something in the water and it’s turning America mad. Social Justice Warriors (SJWs), groups of mostly young, mostly university students, are waging a bitter war with the cultural establishment of the nation and it’s turning increasingly nasty. Those who proudly adopt the title express a mix of sensitivity to social issues coupled with an aggressive and almost militant outrage at any perceived injustice. But their incendiary tactics have sparked a huge backlash from professors, journalists and commentators around the country as a culture war that has been bubbling under the surface for some […]

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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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  • ‘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’ freedom of speech, including dozens of colleges in California. […] Of the 33 California universities the organization rated, 64 percent got a red light, including San Diego State University, UC Santa Cruz and Claremont McKenna College. About 36 percent got a yellow light, including UC Berkeley, Occidental College and San Jose State University. […]

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  • Five University of California Campuses Missed the Memo on New Discriminatory Harassment Policy

    March 19, 2010

    As the great UC San Diego free speech crisis unfolded, I noticed that UCSD had missed the memo from President Mark C. Yudof regarding the new Universitywide discriminatory harassment policy as of October 2009. (FIRE has a good idea about exactly why the policy was changed at that time, but that is a story not yet ready to be told.) This policy replaced all the old sexual harassment policies for students across the University of California system. It appears that, like UCSD, four other campuses also missed the memo. The new policy is nowhere to be found online at UC […]

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