University of Colorado Boulder

Location: Boulder, Colorado
Type: Public

Speech Code Rating

University of Colorado Boulder has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. 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
  • Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 8, 2021

    C. Harassment: Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct related to one’s protected class that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment (See Hostile Environment as defined below). D. Hostile Environment: Hostile environ... Read More
  • Campus Use of University Facilities Procedures

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: June 8, 2021

    Dalton Trumbo Fountain Court i. In recognition of its namesake, free speech and civil rights advocate Dalton Trumbo, the Dalton Trumbo Fountain Court (“Fountain Court”) area provides a space for the free expression of ideas on campus by allowing for public non-commercial discussion and public expression without sche... Read More
  • Student Conduct Code: Abusive Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 8, 2021

    Abusive conduct, including severe, persistent, or pervasive verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion, or other conduct which has caused a person substantial emotional distress and where the circumstances would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress. Read More
  • Acceptable Use of CU-Boulder’s IT Resources

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 8, 2021

    Don’t harass Don’t intimidate, threaten, or harass another person(s) by: conveying obscene materials; making threats of bodily or psychological harm; and/or contact a person who has expressed a desire for electronic communication to cease. Read More
  • Administrative Policy Statement 5014: Sexual Misconduct, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 8, 2021

    Q. Title IX Sexual Harassment: means unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following: … 2. Hostile Environment: Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the uni... Read More
  • Don’t Ignore It: What to Report

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 8, 2021

    Discrimination & Harassment Unfair treatment or intimidating behavior aimed at any member of the campus community based on an aspect of identity protected by CU Boulder policy is reportable to the university. Learn more about reporting discrimination and harassment. Read More
  • Don’t Ignore It: Discrimination & Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 8, 2021

    CU Boulder policy prohibits discrimination and harassment based on protected class identity. The Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance (OIEC) educates the campus community about these concerns and addresses complaints of prohibited behaviors. … Harassment is defined as verbal, written, or physical cond... Read More
  • Residential Handbook: Room Doors

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: June 8, 2021

    White boards and door-mounted bulletin boards are provided by CU Boulder in some spaces as a tool to disseminate information and build community. These boards are property of CU Boulder, and CU Boulder staff will erase or remove, and photograph content that violates the student code of conduct, Residence Life polici... 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 17/154
Ideological Diversity 77/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 65.05
Openness 9.56
Tolerance (Liberals) 10.63
Tolerance (Conservatives) 6.81
Administrative Support 5.82
Comfort 16.03
Disruptive Conduct 10.2
Speech Climate
Supported Scholars
Sanctioned Scholars
Successful Disinvitations
Speech Code GREEN
  • CU Boulder’s stock Twitter response to complaints about student and faculty speech may violate First Amendment

    October 29, 2021

    “Thank you for sharing. We have reported this to the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.” The University of Colorado Boulder has tweeted a version of that response nearly 50 times in the last three years at the mere suggestion that a student or faculty member may have said something offensive. A deeper dive into… Read more

  • University of Colorado responds to questions on Eastman’s sidelining, raises new questions

    February 15, 2021

    Earlier this month, FIRE wrote to the University of Colorado Boulder, raising questions about its response to the extramural political speech of visiting professor John Eastman in the wake of his Jan. 6 speech, hours before the violence at the U.S. Capitol. As we pointed out in our letter to CU, Eastman’s political expression outside… Read more

  • University of Colorado Boulder violates the First Amendment, punishes Trump lawyer for election claims

    February 3, 2021

    BOULDER, Colo., Feb. 3, 2021 — The First Amendment is clear: A public university cannot cancel a professor’s courses, withdraw his role in organizing campus discussions, and preemptively decline to renew his contract because of public anger over his extramural political expression. But that’s exactly what the University of Colorado Boulder did to visiting professor… Read more

  • CU Boulder, Colorado’s flagship state university, earns FIRE’s highest rating for free speech

    August 25, 2020

    BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 25, 2020 — The University of Colorado Boulder revised its policies on free expression to earn the top free speech rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.  FIRE, a national campus free speech organization, rates more than 470 institutions nationwide to determine whether their policies restrict student speech that is… Read more

  • University of Colorado Board of Regents endorse freedom of expression in letter to all first-year students

    September 4, 2019

    Sometimes FIRE’s Newsdesk can feel like a parade of bad news, from reporting on administrators suppressing speech on campus to detailing unconstitutional policies. So it’s a great occasion when we have the opportunity to report some positive campus free speech news. Last week, the University of Colorado system sent a letter endorsing freedom of expression… Read more

  • Resolution reached after free expression coalition expresses concerns about art censorship at CU Boulder

    December 7, 2018

    On Wednesday, FIRE joined the National Coalition Against Censorship and PEN America in calling on the University of Colorado at Boulder to reverse its decision to relocate student artwork because some students “felt threatened” by its imagery. Fortunately, CU Boulder quickly acknowledged our concerns and is now working with the censored student to make amends…. Read more

  • Christian student organization files lawsuit over university recognition requirements

    November 21, 2018

    In a lawsuit filed last week in the United States district court for the district of Colorado, the Christian student organization Ratio Christi says it has been denied official registered status under the University of Colorado Colorado Springs’ student organization registration system multiple times due to the student group’s requirement that its “members support its… Read more

  • University of Colorado Board of Regents adopts new policies to protect campus free expression

    September 26, 2018

    The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents recently passed several new policies by unanimous vote that are protective of students’ and faculty members’ expressive rights. These new policies will positively affect more than 66,000 students and approximately 6,000 faculty members in the CU system. At its meeting in mid-September, the Board adopted multiple policies regarding… Read more

  • CU-Boulder Settles Title IX Lawsuit with Male Student; Who Benefits?

    February 23, 2015

    Last week, the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) settled a lawsuit brought by a male student who was accused of sexual misconduct. What we know about the settlement should concern everyone who cares about how colleges handle claims of sexual misconduct, because it illustrates who universities are really looking out for: themselves. Here’s what we… Read more

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

    August 28, 2014

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

  • A Big Year for Campus Censorship

    July 30, 2014

    Yesterday, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff and Senior Vice President Robert Shibley kicked off Minding the Campus’s series on “the year that was” in higher education by writing about some of the past academic year’s biggest trends in censorship.

  • This Is What the Chilling Effect Looks Like: Acclaimed Classroom Skit at U. of Colorado Canceled

    April 9, 2014

    Back in January, FIRE shared the good news that the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) would allow Professor Patti Adler to continue teaching her long-running and popular “Deviance in U.S. Society” class after initially claiming that a lecture on prostitution could be seen as “harassing.” During that lecture, teaching assistants volunteered to play the… Read more

  • CU-Boulder Community Responds to ‘Offensive’ Blog Post by Professor

    April 7, 2014

    Last March, the University of Colorado-Boulder appointed Steven Hayward as its first Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy. Now, some of Hayward’s recent public statements are causing community members to debate whether the school should take action against him.

  • Prof Returns to Class after CU ‘Harassment’ Claim Fails

    January 10, 2014

    BOULDER, Colo., January 10, 2014—The University of Colorado (CU) has backed down from last month’s cancellation of Professor Patti Adler’s popular and long-running “Deviance in U.S. Society” class after claiming that a lecture on prostitution that involved voluntary student participation could be seen as “harassing.” The rowback comes only days after the Foundation for Individual Rights in… Read more

  • FIRE, NCAC, ACLU-CO, and SPLC Urge CU-Boulder to Uphold Academic Freedom

    January 3, 2014

    Yesterday FIRE, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU-CO), and the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) released a statement urging the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) to reinstate Professor Patricia Adler’s course on “Deviance in U.S. Society” and to publicly reaffirm the boundaries between protected classroom discussion and sexual harassment. Last month,… Read more

  • U. of Colorado Faculty Approve Deviance Course, But Future Remains Uncertain

    December 31, 2013

    Earlier this month, University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) Professor Patricia Adler alleged that she was given a choice between resigning or discontinuing her long-running and popular “Deviance in U.S. Society” course. Administrators raised concerns about a presentation focusing on prostitution in which teaching assistants volunteered to role-play as prostitutes while answering questions for the class, but… Read more

  • U. of Colorado Continues to Change Reasons for Investigating Deviance Course

    December 19, 2013

    Since University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) Professor Patricia Adler announced last week that she had chosen to leave the school rather than risk being disciplined for teaching her popular “Deviance in U.S. Society” course, CU-Boulder has asserted a handful of different claims about why Adler’s presentation on prostitution was improper. Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik reviewed CU-Boulder’s various claims… Read more

  • Colorado Prof Forced to Resign over Class Presentation on Prostitution

    December 16, 2013

    Last week, University of Colorado at Boulder (CU-Boulder) Professor Patricia Adler announced she would be leaving the school after she was given a choice between resigning or discontinuing her long-running “Deviance in U.S. Society” course, because of a presentation on prostitution that many students identified as a high point of the course for many years running. Inside Higher Ed describes… Read more

  • Supreme Court Declines to Hear Ward Churchill Case

    April 5, 2013

    Regular Torch readers may be familiar with FIRE’s previous coverage of the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) Board of Regents’ decision to fire then-tenured professor Ward Churchill and the subsequent legal battle. This fight has now ended, as the Colorado Supreme Court ruled against him in September 2012 and the Supreme Court of the United… Read more

  • Kaminer: “The End of Free Speech at University of Colorado?

    September 18, 2012

    Writing for The Atlantic today, Wendy Kaminer—lawyer, author, civil libertarian, and member of FIRE’s Board of Advisers—poses an important question: Does the Colorado State Supreme Court’s disappointing decision to deny former University of Colorado tenured Professor Ward Churchill’s appeal by granting "absolute immunity" to the Colorado Board of Regents signal "The End of Free Speech… Read more

  • Churchill Loses in Colorado High Court; Next Stop, Supreme Court?

    September 12, 2012

    On Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s opinion (PDF) disposing of former University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) professor Ward Churchill’s claims against CU, reports The Denver Post. FIRE has closely monitored Churchill’s case for years. In 2005, FIRE wrote a letter to CU concerning Churchill’s firing and issued an analysis of… Read more

  • Colorado Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Ward Churchill Case Thursday

    June 6, 2012

    The Colorado Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in former University of Colorado at Boulder Professor Ward Churchill’s First Amendment lawsuit against the university’s Board of Regents on Thursday. Longmont Times-Call reporter Mitchell Byars writes:  The Colorado Supreme Court announced in 2011 that it would hear Churchill’s appeal, including a key argument about the quasi-judicial… Read more

  • Colorado Supreme Court to Hear Arguments in Churchill Case

    January 23, 2012

    FIRE has been covering the case of Ward Churchill for some time now. As readers may recall, Professor Churchill lost his position at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2007 after the Board of Regents removed him for alleged research misconduct. According to Churchill, the grounds for the dismissal were pretextual: He maintains he… Read more

  • Evaluating the Impact of Colorado Appellate Court’s Rejection of Ward Churchill’s Appeal

    December 6, 2010

    Last week, Inside Higher Ed‘s Scott Jaschik examined the Colorado Court of Appeals’ recent rejection of former University of Colorado – Boulder Professor Ward Churchill’s appeal of a state district court judge’s 2009 ruling that the University of Colorado Board of Regents enjoyed "quasi-judicial immunity" after firing Churchill due to alleged research misconduct. Churchill, whose… Read more

  • Rights in the News: FIRE Keeps Up The Fight While Taking Message to Vegas and D.C.

    July 10, 2009

    FIRE has been busy taking its message to the streets this week, with Luke and I spending Wednesday signing up new CFN members at this year’s Campus Progress Conference in Washington, D.C., and Greg, Brandon, Alisha, and Adam jetting off to sunny Las Vegas for the annual FreedomFest Conference. Fortunately, with FIRE a bit short… 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

  • Victory for Freedom of Speech at University of Colorado at Boulder: University Lifts Financial Burden on Students Hosting Controversial Speakers Ward Churchill and William Ayers

    April 20, 2009

    Today’s press release announces that FIRE has persuaded yet another public college to respect the First Amendment when it comes to charging high security fees for controversial speakers. In each case, the university charged additional fees for security because of the controversial nature of the speaker’s ideas. Charging every speaker (or the speaker’s hosts) the… Read more

  • Victory for Freedom of Speech at University of Colorado at Boulder: University Lifts Financial Burden on Students Hosting Controversial Speakers Ward Churchill and William Ayers

    April 20, 2009

    BOULDER, Colo., April 20, 2009—The University of Colorado at Boulder has reversed a threat to charge excessively high security fees for a controversial event that included speeches by Ward Churchill and William Ayers. After the university threatened to bill the organizers more than $2,000 for security, the organizers of the event came to the Foundation… 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

  • Controversial Speakers Face Huge Security Fees at Berkeley and Colorado

    March 17, 2009

    BERKELEY, Calif., and BOULDER, Colo., March 17, 2009—Open discussion of Israeli-Palestinian issues can now resume unburdened at the University of California at Berkeley, which has slashed a “security fee” that would have kept a controversial speaker off campus. Meanwhile, students at the University of Colorado at Boulder are nervously awaiting a promised $2,200 security bill… Read more

  • How Much Does It Cost to Fire a Professor?

    August 10, 2007

    In the case of Ward Churchill, the answer would be $352,000. The University of Colorado disclosed yesterday the total cost for all the investigations and hearings leading up to the Board of Regents dismissing Ward Churchill as a professor. This amount is only expected to increase because it doesn’t include legal fees that will be… Read more

  • Problems with University of Colorado’s New ‘Campus Violence Policy’

    August 6, 2007

    The University of Colorado (CU) recently approved a new “Campus Violence Policy” that states that if CU students or employees make violent threats, they may be required to go through a mental health screening. The policy, in relevant part, states, “UCB may refer individuals accused of making threats of violence for an assessment of the… Read more

  • FIRE in the News for July

    August 1, 2007

    The lazy days of summer must have passed us over at FIRE, for one look at our media coverage for July reveals just how busy we’ve been. The latest effort in FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Project, a lawsuit filed against San Francisco State University, was the subject of a syndicated Associated Press article, a news… Read more

  • FIRE Co-Founder on Ward Churchill’s Firing

    July 30, 2007

    Check out FIRE co-founder Harvey Silverglate’s post ‘A Pox On Both Their Houses: Ward Churchill and UC-Boulder’ on his Boston Phoenix-sponsored blog Free for All.

  • FIRE in the Media for Colorado Cases

    July 27, 2007

    Our recent involvement in two major cases in Colorado has caught the attention of local and national media. After Greg’s commentary on the Ward Churchill case appeared on The Torch, it was picked up by the widely read Huffington Post blog. He also expressed his expectations for the case in a story in the Daily… Read more

  • FIRE Discussing Ward Churchill Case Tonight on the Radio

    July 25, 2007

    Torch readers can hear more about FIRE’s stance on the Ward Churchill case tonight at 9:05 p.m. Eastern, when FIRE President Greg Lukianoff appears on The World Tonight with Ron Breakenridge to discuss what the controversy could mean for academic freedom on campus. Click here to listen online.

  • Churchill’s Lawyer Files Suit

    July 25, 2007

    In yet another twist in this quickly developing story, Ward Churchill’s attorney, David Lane, filed suit this morning in Denver District Court contesting Churchill’s firing. The lawsuit was filed electronically as an amendment to an already pending case that was filed sometime last year against the University of Colorado. A copy of Churchill’s lawsuit can… Read more

  • Ward Churchill Fired: What’s Next?

    July 25, 2007

    To the surprise of virtually no one, the University of Colorado’s (CU’s) Board of Regents voted to fire controversial professor Ward Churchill late yesterday. The Regents cited the extensive findings of academic misconduct against Churchill as the reason for the dismissal. Anyone following the case, however, will remember that Ward Churchill initially came to national… Read more

  • Ward Churchill Fired

    July 25, 2007

    Last night, the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted 8-1 to fire controversial professor Ward Churchill for academic misconduct. This story has received widespread coverage including articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), Inside Higher Ed, the Denver Post, and The New York Times. According to at least one news report, Ward… Read more

  • University of Colorado Fires Ward Churchill

    July 25, 2007

    Last night the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted to fire professor Ward Churchill on the grounds of “serious, repeated, and deliberate research misconduct.” This vote came more than two years after the university investigated Churchill for making controversial public statements, including a reference to the victims of the World Trade Center attacks as… Read more

  • Ward Churchill Decision Today

    July 24, 2007

    The University of Colorado Board of Regents will be deciding sometime today if controversial professor Ward Churchill will be fired. Churchill first came under fire because he referred to some victims of September 11th as “little Eichmanns,” but was later investigated for supposed research misconduct and plagiarism. Back in 2005, when the controversy originally erupted,… Read more

  • Ward Churchill to Be Fired

    June 27, 2006

    As those who have been keeping up with his case almost certainly know, the University of Colorado has formally announced its intent to dismiss Professor Ward Churchill. As Inside Higher Education reports: The interim chancellor at Boulder on Monday issued a “notice of intent to dismiss” the controversial professor, citing findings of serious and repeated… Read more

  • Colorado Releases Report on Churchill Academic Misconduct Charges

    May 17, 2006

    The University of Colorado has released its report on the academic misconduct charges leveled against ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill, and it is a whopper at 124 pages. In the report, a panel of scholars concluded that Churchill had engaged in some serious academic misconduct such as plagiarism. Inside Higher Ed has a fairly comprehensive… Read more

  • FIRE’s Work Lauded in Newspapers Nationwide

    December 12, 2005

    It’s been a good couple of days for Justice Brandeis’ maxim that “sunlight is the best disinfectant.” Thanks to articles in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, news of FIRE’s efforts to disinfect the swamps of repression currently passing for American universities is reaching an ever-increasing number of… Read more

  • The Chill Is Nothing New

    September 9, 2005

    There is a chill on campus, but that’s nothing new. For decades, campus speech has been chilled by speech codes and other attempts to prevent expression that might offend. Some would like to imagine that the excesses of “political correctness” are ancient history, but repression in the name of tolerance hasn’t gone anywhere. Oppressive speech… Read more

  • Is Hamilton the Next Dartmouth?

    July 11, 2005

    In the last twelve months, New York’s Hamilton College has not exactly covered itself in glory. First, it made national news after it hired Susan Rosenberg, a convicted terrorist, to teach a course entitled “Resistance Memoirs: Writing, Identity, and Change.” Then it became the epicenter of the Ward Churchill controversy when his speech at the… Read more

  • The Churchill Files

    June 6, 2005

    Denver’s Rocky Mountain News is running a multi-part series investigating Ward Churchill’s academic and ethnic background. The News is attempting to answer questions related to alleged plagiarism, copyright violations, shoddy scholarship, and resume fraud. It is still too early in the series to fully and fairly evaluate the evidence presented, but it should be noted… Read more

  • K. C. Johnson Discusses FIRE and the Ward Churchill Affair

    March 31, 2005

    My friend K. C. Johnson, a professor at Brooklyn College, has posted an interesting discussion of our analysis of the University of Colorado’s report on Ward Churchill: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has issued an analysis of the University of Colorado’s Report on Conclusion of Preliminary Review in the Matter of Professor Ward… Read more

  • More ‘Mallard Fillmore’

    March 30, 2005

    For the third day in a row, Mallard Fillmore focuses on the problem of campus speech codes. In recent months, as the Larry Summers, Ward Churchill, and Columbia MEALAC department controversies have dominated the news, I think we are beginning to reach a “tipping point” of public awareness on the problems on our campuses. With… Read more

  • FIRE Issues Analysis of Churchill Report

    March 25, 2005

    FIRE has issued a comprehensive analysis of the Colorado Board of Regents’ report on Ward Churchill. The bottom line is that Colorado’s improper investigation has reached the substantively correct result. FIRE’s conclusions: First, it is important to note that the Board of Regents’ investigation was flawed from the outset. According to the Board of Regents,… Read more

  • Colorado Announces Results of Churchill Investigation

    March 25, 2005

    Check out the article “U. of Colorado Will Investigate Allegations of Misconduct Against Controversial Professor”  (subscription required) in today’s Chronicle of Higher Education: Administrators at the University of Colorado at Boulder have affirmed that the First Amendment protects statements made by Ward Churchill, the ethnic-studies professor who likened victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks to… Read more

  • Silence in the Unfair “Marketplace

    March 25, 2005

    As free speech advocates, sometimes we forget that silence is also a form of speech that people engage in all the time.  We have a right to express an opinion and we also have the right to refrain from doing so.  What is key here is that a decision to exercise either right should stem… Read more

  • FIRE Issues Analysis of Churchill Report

    March 25, 2005

    On March 24, 2005, the University of Colorado Board of Regents released its “Report on Conclusion of Preliminary Review in the Matter of Professor Ward Churchill.” This report states that no action should be taken against Professor Churchill on the basis of even his most controversial public statements. The report also states, however, that sufficient… Read more

  • A No-Confidence Vote in Academia?

    March 16, 2005

    In the past few weeks, more scrutiny has been paid to the direction of higher education than perhaps ever before. Driven by the twin pillars of the Ward Churchill affair and the Larry Summers controversy, the American press and public are increasingly taking a look at the state of academia—and they don’t like what they… Read more

  • Ward Churchill’s Counter Punch

    March 9, 2005

    Ward Churchill published an article entitled “Conning the Public: Who’s the Terrorist?” in CounterPunch magazine today, again defending himself from what he believes are lies and distortions: First, Dan Caplis, Craig Silverman and numerous other right-wing media spinmeisters asserted that I "advocated" terrorist attacks on the United States in my Op-Ed piece of Sept. 12,… Read more

  • University of Colorado President Resigns

    March 7, 2005

    The president of the University of Colorado has resigned. While she indicates that she will stay on board for the conclusion of the Ward Churchill matter, it is quite obvious that the controversy surrounding the professor is a major contributing factor to her decision to resign. Fortunately, the president recently indicated that any action taken… Read more

  • Insults and the Constitution

    March 7, 2005

    There is a nice piece by Suzanne Fields today in the Washington Times. In her column she discusses the recent controversies at Harvard and the University of Alabama. She also quotes from FIRE’s letter on the Ward Churchill case: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (, which revels in its acronym FIRE because it… Read more

  • Williams: Friend, Not Foe?

    March 4, 2005

    I am also adding to David’s and Greg’s posts on Patricia Williams’ article “Power and the Word” in The Nation. David and Greg thoroughly defended FIRE from Williams’ understanding of our work, but in rereading the rest of her article, I found it actually brought up important points relevant to free speech on campus. First,… Read more

  • A Puzzling Critique

    March 2, 2005

    A few FIRE supporters have written in to ask about a recent article which originally appeared in the February 28, 2005, issue of The Nation and has also circulated around the web. The article, written by Patricia Williams, contains a rather disjointed attack on FIRE. She begins with a discussion of Prince Harry’s Nazi costume… Read more

  • Newt’s Follies

    February 28, 2005

    Late last week, National Review’s Jim Geraghty reported on a speech by Newt Gingrich at AEI. As part of a speech that ranged over many topics, Gingrich said the following (according to Geraghty): Ward Churchill is a viciously anti-American demagogue. He has every right to free speech, and I support his free speech… We should… Read more

  • A Rare Opportunity

    February 28, 2005

    Over the past month, I think I have been interviewed no less than 50 times by various media outlets—national (ABC, Time, U.S. News & World Report), international (Reuters), regional, and local. The questions most frequently revolve around Larry Summers and Ward Churchill—two men who are calling unprecedented attention to academic freedom in America’s universities. The… Read more

  • International News Lights on FIRE

    February 25, 2005

    What do Larry Summers, Ward Churchill, and David French have in common? They were all featured in an article published on Aljazeera today that discusses academic freedom in the United States. The article mentions recent controversies at Harvard University, Columbia University, and the University of Colorado, and includes statements from David that highlight the issue… Read more

  • Are Things Getting Worse?

    February 25, 2005

    A FIRE supporter writes with an interesting question: Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that your two latest cases (and some of your other more recent reports from other campuses) almost seem to indicate a “ratcheting up” on the part of those who wish to squelch free speech on campus. The brazenness of their… Read more

  • Is Learning (A)Political?

    February 18, 2005

    One of our readers sent us the following excerpt from Robert Kimball’s January 31, 2005, post on The New Criterion’s weblog: Colleges and Universities do not exist to promote free speech. They exist to pursue and teach the truth…. This is not a novel idea. But it is one that Hamilton’s president, Joan Hinde Stewart,… Read more

  • The Golden Rule and Academic Freedom

    February 18, 2005

    There are many lessons to be learned from the battle at the University of Colorado at Boulder over whether the former ethnic studies departmental chair, but still tenured professor Ward Churchill, should be dismissed from the faculty. The ostensible grounds for the current investigation are suspected irregularities in his academic background that might justify stripping… Read more

  • Coulter’s Double Standard?

    February 17, 2005

    One of our readers sent us an article in Front Page Magazine yesterday by Ann Coulter in which she stated: Just because we don’t have bright lines for determining what speech can constitute a firing offense, doesn’t mean there are no lines at all. If [Ward] Churchill hasn’t crossed them, we are admitting that almost… Read more

  • Learning from Malcolm X

    February 16, 2005

    Maurice Isserman, history professor and chairman of the American Studies program at Hamilton College, wrote an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education last week that I felt really resonated with my post yesterday, and my general thoughts on free speech and transformational human experience over time. The title of his article was “In Ward… Read more

  • Freedom of Conscience and Faculty Bias

    February 16, 2005

    FIRE friend Dr. Roy Poses (who is also a key contributor to an excellent blog about the concentration and abuse of power in health care, Health Care Renewal) makes an interesting point about Ward Churchill: Assuming that there such faculty are prevalent, then for many students at Colorado a university education may be largely an… Read more

  • Protecting Free Speech Means Rising Above Professor’s Words

    February 15, 2005

    The following text is excerpted from a letter by Greg Lukianoff, director of legal and public advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, to University of Colorado at Boulder Interim Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano. Before discussing the position of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education on the recent controversy involving University of Colorado at… Read more

  • California’s ‘Daily Journal’ Runs FIRE’s Letter on Churchill

    February 15, 2005

    I dedicated my monthly column at the California Daily Journal to the Ward Churchill case. The Daily Journal is a legal publication that runs editions out of both San Francisco and Los Angeles. I am very pleased that it agreed to run essentially the entire letter we sent to CU. Thank you, Daily Journal!

  • Whose Far Is ‘Too Far’?

    February 15, 2005

    While many agree that Ward Churchill’s academic freedom should be protected, many have also condemned his essay and, outside of his expression, have also condemned him—by questioning and ridiculing his character and ethnic background. Despite others’ negative interpretations of his words and assessment of his competence, Churchill recently received a standing ovation when giving a… Read more

  • Churchill and AAUP Statements

    February 10, 2005

    After fewer than 72 hours of operation, The Torch is already generating significant email feedback—most of it pertaining to Ward Churchill. One of the most thought-provoking notes came from John Bruce, who raised some issues that deserve a careful response. I’ll quote the bulk of his email: I continue to be puzzled that the discussion… Read more

  • The Cure for Bad Speech

    February 10, 2005

    For those who are new to FIRE and our mission, one thing that you will repeatedly hear us say in response to cries for censorship is: “The cure for bad speech is more speech, or better speech.” This admonition can seem singularly unsatisfying to those who seek the instant gratification of a decisive punitive response…. Read more

  • FIRE Writes Letter to Colorado

    February 9, 2005

    This afternoon, FIRE sent a letter to University of Colorado at Boulder Interim Chancellor Philip DiStefano and the University of Colorado Board of Regents regarding the university’s ongoing investigation of Ward Churchill. The letter, written by FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Greg Lukianoff, makes three primary points: (1) Churchill’s speech was constitutionally protected;… Read more

  • More on Churchill

    February 8, 2005

    In the midst of the rage over Ward Churchill’s deranged ravings, and as news emerges that Churchill has lied about his Native American heritage and may have committed academic fraud, one question keeps coming up: How did this man get a job? As Glenn Reynolds noted this morning, “At my institution, we don’t hire people… Read more

  • Welcome to ‘The Torch’

    February 8, 2005

    Today is the first official day of the new FIRE blog. Those who are familiar with weblogs will recognize both the format (the “group blog”) and the tone (slightly more familiar than the formal press releases on our home page). This blog represents FIRE’s decisive step into the daily debate over academic freedom and individual… Read more

  • The ‘Other’ Churchill

    February 2, 2005

    No, I’m not referring to Winston but to the most famous Churchill since the legendary and heroic British prime minister passed into history — Professor Ward Churchill. After making numerous outrageous comments about the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks, Professor Churchill has resigned from his position as the Chair of the University of… Read more

  • The intimidating atmosphere for free speech on campus

    February 19, 2004

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