University of Connecticut

Location: Storrs Mansfield, Connecticut
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

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Speech Code Rating

University of Connecticut 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Dean of Students Office: Bias Incident Protocol

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: March 13, 2018

    A bias-related incident is an incident that negatively targets, intimidates, or threatens an individual or group due to race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, physical, mental, and intellectual disabilities, as well as past/present history of mental disorders. This includes, but is not limited to, graffiti or images that harass or intimidate individuals or groups due to the above characteristics.

    Bias related incidents, as defined in this protocol, are not tolerated at the University of Connecticut and individuals who are victims of bias related incidents may be protected through the Student Code ( and Connecticut laws related to discrimination, harassment or intimidation based on bigotry or bias.   Not every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group will be considered as harassment and/or a violation of The Student Code. In cases where the Student Code may not apply, the University will still consider appropriate educational remedies.  Such remedies are not designed to be punitive, but rather seek to explore the adverse impact of bias-related actions upon the values of the UConn community.

    Bias incidents/graffiti/images may indicate a need for education in our community in order to remedy harm done, and to provide opportunities for reflection and growth.  Such educational efforts are not part of the investigation process and are not intended to be punitive.

    Appropriate staff and faculty will work with students to plan timely, educational opportunities that are reflective of diverse learning styles, and address relevant issues from multiple perspectives.

    » Read More

  • Residential Life: Posting Policy

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: March 13, 2018

    Residential Life reserves the right to not approve any posting due to space or time limitation, or inappropriate content.

    » Read More

  • Student Organization Manual: Event Planning and Facility Use

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: March 13, 2018

    An organization event is defined as any activity or gathering that can be reasonably associated with an organization by one or more of the following:

    • a significant number of attendees are members of an organization;
    • the event, activity, gathering is held at a location reserved for, owned by, rented by, or otherwise associated with an organization;
    • promotional material associates the event, activity, or gathering with a specific organization;
    • the activities can be reasonably associated with a particular organization

    All student organization events using any University facility must be registered in advance with the Student Union Event Services Office in the Student Union. Such event registration may require approval in advance from the Student Union and/or other University departments.

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  • The Student Code: Proscribed Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 13, 2018

    Harming behavior which includes, but is not limited to, the true threat of or actual physical assault or abuse and also includes harassment. For the purposes of The Student Code, bullying is considered a form of harassment.

    Harassment is the severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal, or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another individual that has the effect of: causing physical or emotional harm to the individual or damage to the individual’s property; placing the individual in reasonable fear of harm to the individual and/or his/her property; or infringing on the rights of other University community members to fully participate in the programs, activities, and mission of the University.

    Bullying means the repeated use of a written, oral or electronic communication, or a physical act or gesture by one or more individuals, repeatedly directed at another individual that: (i) Causes physical or emotional harm or damage to property, (ii) places the target of such behavior in reasonable fear of harm to self, or of damage to property, (iii) creates a hostile environment or otherwise infringes on the rights of such individual or (iv) substantially disrupts the education process. Bullying shall include, but not be limited to, a written, oral or electronic communication or physical act or gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics.

    » Read More

  • The U Conn Creed

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience
    Last updated: March 13, 2018

    I will respect the dignity and rights of all persons. I will demonstrate concern for others and live up to my community responsibilities.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Dean of Students Office: Student Bill of Rights

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: March 13, 2018

    The right of expression includes the right to dissent. The University recognizes a fundamental obligation to protect this aspect of free expression on campus.

    » Read More

  • Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Interpersonal Violence

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 13, 2018

    Hostile Environment Harassment: Discriminatory Harassment that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, deprives, or alters the conditions of education (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment); employment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment); or participation in a University program or activity (e.g., campus housing), when viewed from both a subjective and objective perspective. … Discriminatory Harassment may take many forms, including verbal acts, name-calling, graphic or written statements (including the use of cell phones or the Internet), or other conduct that may be humiliating or physically threatening.

    Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, when the conditions for Hostile Environment Harassment or Quid Pro Quo Harassment are present, as defined above.

    Gender-Based Harassment includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, when the conditions for Hostile Environment Harassment or Quid Pro Quo Harassment are present, as defined above.

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  • ‘The Chalkening’ of Trump: Terror Grows on Campuses

    April 18, 2016

    By Bob Unruh at World Net Daily On university campuses, where many enthusiastic students vote for the first time, political candidates’ slogans typically appear on signs, bumper stickers, T-shirts, placards, dorm-room walls and even in chalk on sidewalks… Read more here.

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  • Student Gov’t Makes Dangerous, Controversial Decision

    October 27, 2015

    By Bob Kellogg at The student government at a Connecticut university is being criticized for slashing its student newspaper’s funding after it published a controversial op-ed piece. Wesleyan Argus staff writer Byran Stascavage in a September 14th editorial wrote that the Black Lives Matter movement should combat its own extremists. Ari Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) tells OneNewsNow that shortly after the piece was published, an indignant student government cut the paper’s budget nearly in half. “If student journalists have to worry that offending someone is going to cost them their job at the […]

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  • FIRE Report Finds Very Restrictive Speech Codes at American Universities

    January 21, 2014

    by Alec Torres The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual report on college-campus speech codes last week finding that while the percentage of colleges that seriously infringe upon students’ free-speech rights has diminished in recent years, many universities still burden students with overbearing and sometimes ridiculous speech regulations. Here’s a look at some of the most egregious speech codes that FIRE found: The University of Connecticut requires that “every member of the University shall refrain from actions that intimidate, humiliate, or demean persons or groups, or that undermine their security or self-esteem.” At Athens State University in Alabama, […]

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  • An Astonishing Lack of Coulter

    December 13, 2005

    Remember this maxim: when a liberal says something outrageous, it’s a courageous embrace of First Amendment freedoms, intended to catalyze discussion; when a conservative does the same, it is hate speech. This is the lesson liberals at the University of Connecticut (UConn) were attempting to teach students until last Wednesday, when they went too far by repeatedly interrupting Ann Coulter’s remarks. Now, students are rebuking their liberal counter-parts. “I wasn’t irritated in the least, inasmuch as this happens at every campus,” Coulter told TAS, adding, “except the prestigious ones in the northeast and campuses in the south, interestingly.” She wasn’t […]

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  • Trumping Moses and Matthew

    November 7, 2005

    By Suzanne Fields at What do the Bible and the “The Vagina Monologues” have in common? Not much. But surely we can all agree that both are covered by the First Amendment, guaranteeing freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Well, that’s not so at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. At UWEC you can live in a dorm and watch a performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” but you can’t join a Bible studies group. Any resident assistant, or RA, as the live-in student counselors are called, can put on a performance of the play, and one has, but leading […]

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  • Codes censor speech

    September 1, 2005

    Given the section you are reading, it should come as no surprise that I describe myself as a very opinionated person. But, as somewhat of a pessimist, my columns usually focus on what’s wrong with policy X or ideology Y, and my usual targets are conservative, right-wing issues. I tend to focus on criticizing the right-wing because of its current political prominence. However, I have a confession to make: There are many liberal left-wing ideas I’m equally unimpressed with, but haven’t written about. For example, I disapprove of gay adoptions, believe immigration laws should be inflexible and feel popular feminists […]

    » Read More
  • Conformity on Campus

    June 1, 2005

    We hear a lot these days about the importance of diversity in ensuring that ideas are heard fairly. But the individuals who are most insistent about this are interested only in racial and sex diversity. Intellectual and ideological diversity is not what the enforcers of political correctness on campuses and other sectors have in mind. This magazine has helped pioneer evidence of how politically unbalanced most college campuses have become. Most recently (see our January/February 2005 issue) we presented the findings of University of California economist Daniel Klein, who found that the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in social sciences […]

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  • More Campuses Using Special Victims Units to Investigate Sexual Assaults

    September 23, 2015

    Working to address concerns about both sexual assault and due process on campus, more colleges and universities are asking specially trained police units to investigate sexual assault allegations. Earlier this month, The Arizona Republic reported that Arizona State University (ASU) police formed a special victims unit (SVU) to handle sexual assault allegations at ASU. “The change comes as universities face increased federal requirements and scrutiny over their handling of sexual-violence complaints,” wrote the Republic’s Anne Ryman. “None of the new requirements mandates that schools form their own SVUs. But campus-safety experts said the trend is a logical step toward an […]

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  • Another Case of Outrage over Cartoons

    October 26, 2010

    About a month ago, two controversial comics were printed in the University of Connecticut’s student-run newspaper The Daily Campus. One, titled “Victory Lap!,” shows baseball players agreeing that girls are really made of “crabs, scrabs, and everything viral,” while the other, “Milksteak and Jellybeans,” shows a man tricking a woman into having sexual relations with him by convincing her to chase a ring he throws into the bedroom. In response, student reactions have been strong, producing the kind of debate students should engage in. (The Hartford Courant provides an excellent summary.) As for the The Daily Campus, Editor-in-Chief John Kennedy defended the student’s […]

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  • University of Connecticut Law Professor Reinstated After Leave of Absence

    November 14, 2007

    It has long been FIRE’s position that professors have every protection of the First Amendment in their public statements and scholarship. FIRE has released statements defending the rights of Professors Ward Churchill and Sami Al-Arian to express their controversial views publicly. Universities do have a prerogative to regulate professors’ speech within the classroom to a certain extent; for example, a professor teaching a calculus class could be forbidden from substituting lectures on American foreign policy for lectures on derivatives. However, some non-mathematics related expression must be acceptable if academic freedom is to be preserved. Last year FIRE defended Professor Peter […]

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  • University of Delaware Student Editorial Supports FIRE

    November 6, 2007

    Today’s issue of The Review, the University of Delaware’s student newspaper, has four stories about the Residence Life reeducation program, plus two letters to the editor and an editorial supporting FIRE’s position. The editors seem to understand the issues: While the program may have had good intentions, its execution was inappropriate and culpability falls on Residence Life and on the resident assistants who allowed themselves to be used as unquestioning instruments of the program and its ideology.   Additionally, the type of language used by Residence Life staff and printed in its own educational materials promotes a position that is […]

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  • ‘Bullets and Bubbly’ Party Draws Controversy at UConn

    January 25, 2007

    An article in today’s Hartford Courant explains how University of Connecticut Law School students recently had an off-campus theme party reminiscent of Hopkins’ ill-fated “Halloween in the Hood” party. The UConn students posted photos from their “Bullets and Bubbly” party on, upsetting many students, faculty, and administrators, who found the party’s theme racially insensitive. UConn Interim Dean Kurt Strasser has scheduled a roundtable for this afternoon at 12:15 so that members of the UConn community can discuss the party. Newly minted Dean of the Law School Jeremy Paul told the Courant that “[c]learly this is an unfortunate incident,” and […]

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  • Still Looking for Answers from Phi Beta Kappa

    December 14, 2005

    FIRE recently wrote a letter to John Churchill, secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, in which we ask the organization to stand behind its stated commitment to freedom of expression by addressing the issue of repressive speech codes at its member institutions. In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), Churchill responded that although Phi Beta Kappa is “interested in freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression,” the society does not “undertake that kind of investigative activity.” Apparently, the society has the resources to conduct a “rigorous three-year review” of prospective member institutions that includes […]

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  • File Under ‘See No Evil’

    August 3, 2005

    Terry Caesar penned a column Monday on Inside Higher Ed lamenting the chilling effect speech codes have on professorial humor. Citing one of FIRE’s favorite examples, the former speech code at the University of Connecticut, he wrote: To relate an official response to some example of a joke, or even an unintended joke, on American campuses today is itself to appear to be telling a joke. Yet everybody knows speech codes that ban “inappropriately directed laughter” (say) are no joke. It’s not clear to me if a professor can be held accountable for a student who spontaneously tells a joke […]

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  • To paddle or not to paddle? It’s still not clear in US schools.

    March 17, 2005

    When it comes to spanking, there’s no such thing as a consensus in America’s schools. Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia have outlawed corporal punishment in public schools, all in the past 40 years. But as the number of students feeling the sting of the paddle declines, some parents and educators are digging in to defend it as an effective form of discipline. It’s another symbol of the nation’s red-blue divide. Most states that still allow the practice are in the South and Midwest. But policies long favoring corporal punishment have come up for debate recently on Southern school […]

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  • Campus speech codes addressed

    October 14, 2004

    In an effort by a group of UConn faculty, administrators and students to create the University of Connecticut Creed, a lecture on speech codes and freedom of speech on college campuses was held. The lecture, held Wednesday at the Dodd Center, focused on the student value of respecting the dignity and rights of others. According to Associate Vice President for Students Affairs Sam Miller, the event was just one of many seminars and lectures the university plans to have that elucidate five value statements, which are the focus of a recent effort to create a basic code for students to […]

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