University of Central Florida

Location: Orlando, Florida
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

University of Central Florida 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

This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech.

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
  • Policy Number 2-004.2: Prohibition of Discrimination, Harassment and Related Interpersonal Violence

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2022

    Hostile Environment Harassment: Discriminatory harassment that is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, deprives, or alters the terms or conditions of education (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment); employment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment); or participatio... Read More
  • The Golden Rule: Rules of Conduct- Harmful Behavior

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: June 30, 2022

    Verbal, digital, or written abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion and/or other conduct that endangers the health, safety, or wellbeing of others, or which would place a reasonable person in fear of bodily injury or death. This definition, however, shall not be interpreted to abridge the rights of the University com... Read More
  • Policy Number 2-004.2: Prohibition of Discrimination, Harassment and Related Interpersonal Violence

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2022

    Title IX Sexual Harassment includes conduct that occurs on the basis of sex in a university education program or activity in the United States that satisfies one or more of the following: … Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effecti... Read More
  • The Golden Rule: Student Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: June 30, 2022

    The basic freedoms of students to hear, write, distribute, and act upon a variety of thoughts and beliefs are guaranteed. Freedom of expression carries with it the responsibility for seeing that the essential order of the University is preserved. … The University desires to create a spirit of free inquiry and ... Read More
  • The Golden Rule: Rules of Conduct- Harmful Behavior

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2022

    Bullying: Defined as behavior of any sort (including communicative behavior) directed at another, that is severe, pervasive or persistent, and is of a nature that would cause a reasonable person or group in the target’s position substantial emotional distress and undermine their ability to work, study, or participat... Read More
  • University Regulation 4.0293 Use of University Grounds by the Campus Community; Campus Demonstrations and Outdoor Events

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2022

    Except as limited by this or related regulations or as limited by applicable laws or University policies, outdoor areas of the University campus may be used for demonstrations and other exercises of free speech and assembly. Such use must not interfere with the conduct of classes or other University activities or ot... Read More
  • The Golden Rule: Rules of Conduct- Misuse of Computing and Telecommunications Resources

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 30, 2022

    Use of computing facilities and telecommunications resources to send obscene materials. Read More

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



Overall Ranking 67/154
Ideological Diversity 46/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 59.73
Openness 9.95
Tolerance (Liberals) 9.52
Tolerance (Conservatives) 7.57
Administrative Support 6.41
Comfort 16.4
Disruptive Conduct 9.87
Speech Climate
Supported Scholars
Sanctioned Scholars
Successful Disinvitations
Speech Code YELLOW
  • University of Central Florida: Professor Suspended for In-Class Joke

    April 26, 2013

    On April 23, 2013, Hyung-il Jung, a lecturer in UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, held a review session for an accounting course, at which roughly 25 students were present. During the session, Jung noted that his students seemed to be struggling with his questions and joked, “It looks like you guys are being slowly… Read more

  • University of Central Florida: Speech Quarantined to ‘Free Assembly Areas’

    November 1, 2006

    After instituting “Free Assembly Areas” around campus, constituting a small percentage of the actual grounds, the University of Central Florida drew criticism from FIRE for its disregard of the First Amendment. After twice preventing The Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) from protesting under the Golden Rule’s “Free Assembly Areas” policy, the University of Central… Read more

  • University of Central Florida: Censorship of Internet Speech

    January 31, 2006

    University of Central Florida student Matthew Walston was charged with “harassment” and “personal abuse” after he created a Facebook group entitled “Victor Perez is a Jerk and a Fool.” After the university scheduled a hearing for Walston for February 6, 2006, FIRE intervened. The university subsequently determined that Walston was not guilty.

  • A tale of two pretexts: Sham investigations silence professors at Central Florida and Princeton 

    May 31, 2022

    As universities go, Princeton and the University of Central Florida may not have much in common, but they do share a mechanism for getting rid of inconvenient professors: finding a reason to investigate and fire them over something unrelated, after they’ve said something controversial.  So far, it’s working better for Princeton than for UCF. On… Read more

  • Federal appeals court declines to impose grade school standards on college students in First Amendment win over the University of Central Florida

    May 13, 2022

    Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit stopped the University of Central Florida from enforcing an overbroad and viewpoint-based “discriminatory harassment” policy.  In Speech First v. Cartwright, an Eleventh Circuit panel unanimously reversed a lower court decision which left the policy in place, threatening students’ First Amendment rights on campus. The… Read more

  • Amidst FIRE’s record-breaking summer, demands to terminate faculty went mainstream

    October 13, 2020

    20 minutes in Saratoga Springs It’s worth getting to know the case of Skidmore College professor David Peterson, if you haven’t read about it.  Peterson, an art professor at Skidmore in Saratoga Springs, New York for more than 30 years, unwittingly came into notoriety when he and his wife checked out a pro-police rally near… Read more

  • Former University of Central Florida kicker scores courtroom win in YouTube case

    July 13, 2018

    A Florida judge ruled this week that a lawsuit by former University of Central Florida football player and popular YouTuber Donald De La Haye against UCF may proceed because he has a plausible First Amendment claim. De La Haye sued UCF back in January, alleging the university violated his First Amendment rights when it rescinded… Read more

  • Two universities stop censorial outrage mobs dead in their tracks

    February 7, 2018

    Online outrage mobs are all the rage recently, standing at the ready to inundate colleges and universities with demands to punish a student or professor the moment they say something that offends others. Unfortunately, administrators too often capitulate, abandoning the principles of free speech that they are bound, either legally or by virtue of the… Read more

  • Former student-athlete sues UCF to vindicate First Amendment rights

    February 7, 2018

    Former University of Central Florida backup kicker Donald De La Haye has filed a complaint in federal court alleging that school administrators rescinded his athletic scholarship in violation of his First Amendment rights. The lawsuit is the latest attempt to establish the free speech rights of college student-athletes. At the heart of the lawsuit lies… Read more

  • University of Central Florida faculty adopt ‘Chicago Statement’; university reforms speech code

    November 29, 2017

    The University of Central Florida (UCF) is no longer a “red light” institution after making a significant policy change in recent months. Furthermore, UCF’s faculty senate has adopted a free speech policy statement modeled after the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” at the University of Chicago (better known as the “Chicago Statement”)…. Read more

  • University of Central Florida wisely drops punishment of student for viral tweet about ex-girlfriend

    August 3, 2017

    In a reversal highlighting the need for colleges to refrain from haphazardly disciplining students for private speech, the University of Central Florida walked back its suspension of a student who tweeted a picture of his ex-girlfriend’s apology letter. UCF student Nick Lutz had copy edited the letter in red pen and graded it a “D-.”… Read more

  • Open-Government Organizations Support Student Journalists’ Use of Sunshine Law Against UCF

    February 15, 2017

    The University of Central Florida’s student newspaper Knight News received a flood of support in its ongoing legal battle to shed light on how UCF, a public school, spends taxpayer money. After Knight News took UCF to court over the school’s use of a student privacy law to block journalists from accessing newsworthy information, several… Read more

  • ‘Knight News’ Wins College Press Freedom Award, Vows Continued Fight Against UCF

    October 25, 2016

    Knight News at the University of Central Florida (UCF) has won this year’s College Press Freedom Award. The online publication’s staff and editors were chosen “in recognition of their extraordinary determination in pursuing disclosure of public records in the face of brutal attacks by their university,” according to a press release from the Student Press… Read more

  • 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

  • Demonstrators at UCF and LSU Enjoy Free Speech on Campus

    September 10, 2013

    The University of Central Florida (UCF) and Louisiana State University (LSU) have both recently made positive changes with respect to free speech zones on their campuses, and student journalists are emphasizing the importance of free expression. Adam Rhodes wrote last week for the Central Florida Future, UCF’s student newspaper, to celebrate the university’s acceptance of… Read more

  • Beth Kassab: Florida Universities Should Know Better

    August 28, 2013

    In a column published last week, the Orlando Sentinel’s Beth Kassab reviewed Florida universities’ failures to protect free expression. Kassab cites Florida Atlantic University’s “stomp on Jesus” fiasco, among other incidents, but she ultimately awards the University of Central Florida (UCF) her “top honors for the worst over-reaction this year”: UCF Professor Hyung-il Jung made… Read more

  • University of Central Florida Professor Reinstated After Suspension for In-Class Joke

    May 21, 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla., May 21, 2013—The University of Central Florida (UCF) has reinstated Professor Hyung-il Jung three weeks after unconstitutionally suspending him on the basis of an in-class joke. FIRE wrote to UCF President John C. Hitt in April, urging this result and reminding UCF of its First Amendment obligations. On April 23, Jung, a lecturer… Read more

  • Joke Leaves Professor Suspended, Investigated; FIRE Intervenes

    April 26, 2013

    Yesterday, the Orlando Sentinel reported the suspension of University of Central Florida (UCF) Professor Hyung-il Jung on the basis of a supposedly threatening comment made during a class review session. Jung has been barred from campus and from contacting his students and UCF’s police are involved in the investigation into his speech. So the speech… Read more

  • Lingering Questions About Press Freedom at UCF Following Student Government Elections

    March 5, 2010, an independent online publication owned and operated by students at the University of Central Florida (UCF), can’t get an answer from UCF as to why its reporters were confined to a "free press zone" (’s term) as it covered recent Student Government Association elections. FIRE has not been able to to get an answer… Read more

  • UCF Ambiguously Curtails Free Speech

    December 12, 2007

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) gathered outside the student union wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “EXPLOITATION KING” to protest the perceived mistreatment of a hamburger chain’s workers. University police told the peaceful protesters to move to a “free-assembly zone” or… Read more

  • Speech Codes Don’t Get Enforced?

    October 15, 2007

    As Will discussed earlier, Florida International University professor Stanley Fish argues in his latest “Think Again” column for The New York Times that campus speech codes do not present as much of a problem for students as one might think. In the process of reviewing filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney’s Indoctrinate U, Fish argues that any… Read more

  • Oxford Spies on Students through Facebook

    July 18, 2007

    The United Kingdom appears to be rapidly turning into a place where Big Brother is not just a character in a book, or a reality TV show, but a reality for everyone. Britain is well-known for its abundance of closed-circuit TV cameras that record everyone walking down the streets, all the time—and sometimes, the cameras… Read more

  • ACLU Urges UCF to Abandon ‘Free Speech Zones’

    January 29, 2007

    As we mentioned last week, FIRE has written a second letter to the University of Central Florida (UCF) regarding its unwillingness to abandon unconstitutional “free speech zones” on campus. The UCF students leading the charge against the free speech zones are members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Campus Peace Action (CPA), whose… Read more

  • Facebook and the Campus Communication Explosion

    January 12, 2007

    Looking back on FIRE’s work last year, several trends stand out: the disturbing rise of student-led censorship, the increased public awareness of the importance of the right of private conscience, the continued pervasiveness of speech codes and the often willful misinterpretation of “harassment” to squelch speech. One trend, however, strikes me as being truly unique 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

  • Zoning Out Free Speech at Joliet Junior College

    January 4, 2007

    Last week, the Daily Southtown (Ill.) published an editorial criticizing the trustees of Joliet Junior College for adopting a new free speech zone policy. Although the new policy seems to be improved because it moves these zones closer to where students actually gather, the editorial board rightly questions why the policy wasn’t completely abolished. The… Read more

  • ‘Orlando Sentinel’ Covers Free Speech Zone Controversy at UCF

    December 19, 2006

    The Orlando Sentinel covered FIRE’s case at the University of Central Florida (UCF), where a protest organized by Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) was shut down for taking place outside the university’s “free speech zones.” The article explains the situation at UCF and briefly describes the history of political correctness and the rise of… Read more

  • Torch Reader Exposes UCF’s Hypocrisy, Part II

    December 8, 2006

    As reported on Wednesday, Torch reader David Ross challenged University of Central Florida President John Hitt in a series of e-mails this week to defend Hitt’s pronouncement that UCF does not maintain “free speech zones.” In so doing, Ross revealed Hitt’s clear refusal to own up to his own school’s press releases, which mention UCF’s… Read more

  • Torch Reader Exposes UCF’s Hypocrisy

    December 6, 2006

    David S. Ross, keen-eyed friend of free speech and Torch reader, has passed on his revealing e-mail correspondence with UCF President John Hitt and Associate General Counsel Youndy Cook. The exchange very clearly reveals that despite UCF’s protests to the contrary, the school definitely maintains “free speech zones”—and even refers to them as such. The… Read more

  • When It Restricts Free Speech to a Small Area, It’s a “Free Speech Zone”

    December 5, 2006

    University of Central Florida President John Hitt sent the following e-mail to a FIRE friend who objected to UCF’s “free speech zone” policy: Free speech is a fact of life throughout our university’s campus. The policy in question is clearly labeled “Free Assembly Areas.” It should tell you a lot that FIRE begins its communication… Read more

  • University of Central Florida Upholds ‘Free Speech Zone’ Policy

    December 4, 2006

    Today’s press release highlights the University of Central Florida’s refusal to renounce and repeal its “free speech zone” policy that quarantines free speech to only four areas of UCF’s campus. UCF’s Free Assembly Areas Policy states that only “four areas shall be deemed free assembly areas for the conduct of political activity and other exercises… Read more

  • Students Censored, Free Speech Under Quarantine at University of Central Florida

    December 4, 2006

    ORLANDO, Fla., December 4, 2006—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling on the University of Central Florida (UCF) to repeal its unlawful and unfair “free speech zone” policy. This policy quarantines free speech at UCF to four areas covering only a small percentage of its campus. “It is simply unacceptable for UCF… Read more

  • Florida Readers: Watch WKMG-TV Local 6 Tonight at 6PM

    November 10, 2006

    Tonight, WKMG-TV Local 6 in central Florida will feature FIRE’s current case at the University of Central Florida (UCF) where the Student Handbook restricts freedom of expression to only four “free speech areas” on the entire UCF campus. The story will be featured on the 6:00 PM program and will also be available from the… Read more

  • The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Silly

    October 18, 2006

    As a free speech organization, we see pretty much every type of censorship out there. People are frequently censored at colleges and universities for engaging in controversial political speech. Other times, people are censored for engaging in speech that is crude and repugnant, but that is wholly protected. And then there are times that people… Read more

  • More on MySpace and Facebook

    May 31, 2006

    As Tara and I have been discussing, we have seen a stark increase the number of cases where students, both in high school and college, have gotten in trouble for what they are posting on sites like or As best I can tell, college administrators are scared to death of these sites because… Read more

  • ‘I Am All for Free Speech—But I Draw the Line at People Making Fun of Me!’

    May 30, 2006

    For those of you who didn’t get to see me on MSNBC this weekend, it was a fun time, and a chance to talk about the striking rise we have noticed in students getting into trouble for their speech on sites like or As loyal Torch readers know, FIRE recently successfully aided a… Read more

  • Internet Expression in Jeopardy: MySpace Users Beware

    May 24, 2006

    Reporter Wendy Leung has a great article in the San Bernardino County Sun and Ontario’s Daily Bulletin regarding the shaky legal ground that schools tread when they patrol students’ expression on websites like and Leung writes: Traditionally, schools do not interfere with behavior at home, but local school officials say they will act… Read more

  • Victory for Internet Expression at UCF

    March 6, 2006

    Today’s press release announces a victory for free speech on the Internet at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Last September, UCF student Matthew Walston created a group on the popular site called “Victor Perez is a Jerk and a Fool.” At the time, Perez was running for UCF student senate. Walston’s relatively tame… Read more

  • Student Wins Case at University of Central Florida

    March 6, 2006

    ORLANDO, Fla., March 6, 2006—First Amendment rights on the Internet were recently vindicated at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Until the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervened, a UCF student was set to be punished on harassment charges for calling a student government candidate “a jerk and a fool” on the popular… Read more