University of Denver

Location: Denver, Colorado
Type: Private
Tell University of Denver to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of Denver 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

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 203 colleges ranked Read more
  • Honor Code and Student Conduct Policies & Procedures: University Honor Code Statement

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience
    Last updated: February 1, 2022

    All members of the University of Denver community are expected to engage both individually and as community members with Integrity, Respect, and Responsibility. These values embody the standards of conduct for Students, faculty, staff, and administrators as members of the University Community. These community values... Read More
  • Honor Code and Student Conduct Policies & Procedures: Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 1, 2022

    Harassment includes the following: 1. Bullying: Any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or a series of acts of physical, social, or emotional domination that cause physical or emotional harm to another person or group. Bullying conduct is severe, persistent, or pervasive and has the effect of su... Read More
  • Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 1, 2022

    Sexual Harassment: conduct on the basis of sex 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 effectively denies a person equal access to a University Education Program or Activity; … Read More
  • Office of Equal Opportunity & Title IX: Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT)

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: February 1, 2022

    The University defines bias incidents as any behaviors that target individuals or groups based on their actual or perceived group identities. Examples may include but are not limited to: graffiti, harassment, jokes, direct insults, etc. The specific forms, content, motivation/intention and impact of bias incidents v... Read More
  • Honor Code and Student Conduct Policies & Procedures: Protests & Demonstrations Statement

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: February 1, 2022

    The University recognizes the right to freedom of expression and the free interchange of ideas, including the right to peaceful and orderly protests and demonstrations. The University also recognizes that protests and demonstrations should not disrupt University operations, restrict movement of members of the Univer... Read More
  • Mission, Vision & Values

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    The mission of the University of Denver is to promote learning by engaging with students in advancing scholarly inquiry, cultivating critical and creative thought, and generating knowledge. Read More

FIRE surveyed roughly 44,000 students at 203 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. See the full report on FIRE’s 2022 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 45.03

Rankings / out of 203 colleges ranked

Overall Ranking 110
Openness 116
Tolerance (Liberals) 138
Tolerance (Conservatives) 126
Administrative Support 174
Comfort 116
Disruptive Conduct 90

Administrative Behavior

Supported Scholars 0
Sanctioned Scholars 0
Successful Disinvitations 0


Speech Climate AVERAGE
Speech Code YELLOW
  • In major victory, Colorado court finds that accused students at private universities are entitled to fair hearings

    June 13, 2022

    Last month, Colorado’s intermediate court held that private universities in the state owe a duty of care to students when addressing claims of sexual misconduct. The Colorado Court of Appeals’ ruling, reversing a lower court’s judgment in favor of the University of Denver, a private university, is a welcome decision that other state courts should… Read more

  • Tenth Circuit: There’s nothing we can do about accused student’s ‘railroading’

    March 18, 2020

    An appellate court decision last week illustrates the uphill battle that often faces students who seek relief from unfair campus disciplinary proceedings in court — but several other recent decisions suggest a potential path forward for these students.   In its March 9 opinion in Doe v. University of Denver, the U.S. Court of Appeals for… Read more

  • University of Denver Keeps Watchful Eye Over Free Speech Wall—With a Camera

    November 11, 2016

    The University of Denver (DU) maintains a “free speech wall” for students to use to express themselves in paint—a common feature on college campuses, often taken the form of a wall or a rock. But now, after someone used the wall to paint lyrics from a punk rock song (Minor Threat’s “Guilty of Being White”)… Read more

  • What Campus Leaders Had To Say About Free Speech This Week [UPDATED]

    October 7, 2016

    Campus leaders have recently been taking advantage of opportunities—sometimes under pressure—to explain their approach to freedom of speech and other principles enshrined in the First Amendment. How did they fare with such tests this week? The Good Washington State University (WSU) Members of WSU’s administration—President Kirk Schulz, Provost and Executive Vice President Dan Bernardo, and… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: University of Denver

    October 12, 2015

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for October 2015: University of Denver (DU). DU’s Student Conduct Policies contain a ban on “disrespect.” This “includes, but is not limited to” any “[b]ehaviors or acts which are discourteous, vulgar, obscene, or abusive, or which produce or attempt to produce ridicule, embarrassment, or intimidation as a… Read more

  • The End to My ‘Sexy’ Academic Career

    July 26, 2013

    Madeline Gootman is a FIRE summer intern. As most of my friends will tell you, I am an outspoken young woman when it comes to matters of sexuality and sexual health. I recently joined the Vanderbilt Peer Sex Educators, an organization of students formed to increase the campus dialogue surrounding sexual health. In addition to… Read more

  • Four Key Points About Free Speech and the Feds’ ‘Blueprint’

    July 15, 2013

    It’s been more than two months since FIRE and the higher ed community were shocked by a letter issued jointly by the Departments of Education and Justice to the University of Montana. FIRE staff have blogged extensively about the Departments’ “blueprint” for campus sexual harassment in the last 10 weeks, but there are four crucial points that I… Read more

  • Please Explain Why Putting University Administrators in Charge of Judging Speech Is a Good Idea

    July 9, 2013

    My colleagues have done a thorough job of explaining why defenders of the Department of Education’s “blueprint” for preventing campus sexual harassment are on very shaky legal and logical ground. They have pointed out that some of ED’s allies have misquoted the findings letter and mocked Senator John McCain’s serious questions about the threat to… Read more

  • U. of Denver Hides Behind Title IX to Justify Persecution of Veteran Professor

    January 11, 2013

    Throughout the maddening case of veteran University of Denver (DU) Professor Arthur Gilbert, the DU administration has employed a “trust us” defense when questioned about its repeated, well-documented violations of Gilbert’s rights to free speech, academic freedom, and due process. Gilbert was suspended from the DU campus for more than 100 days and found guilty… Read more

  • DU ‘Clarion’ Highlights University’s Appearance in ‘Unlearning Liberty’

    November 8, 2012

    The Clarion, the student newspaper at the University of Denver (DU), has published an article noting the inclusion of DU professor Arthur Gilbert’s case in FIRE president Greg Lukianoff’s new book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. Given the outrageousness of Gilbert’s treatment by DU, that inclusion is well deserved. Clarion… Read more

  • U of Denver Faculty Senate to Administration: Vacate Tenured Professor’s ‘Harassment’ Finding

    May 30, 2012

    For more than a year now, Professor Arthur Gilbert, a tenured professor in the University of Denver’s (DU’s) Josef Korbel School of International Studies, has been fighting for his free speech and academic freedom against DU’s gross intrusions and disregard for due process. As we first documented here in the fall, Gilbert was summarily removed… Read more

  • Univ. of Denver Fails to Scare Prof Away from Teaching Drug War Course

    January 11, 2012

    Cory Lamz, Editor-in-Chief of the University of Denver (DU) student newspaper The Clarion, writes this week, as FIRE reported recently, that international studies professor Arthur Gilbert will again teach his course on "The Domestic and International Consequences of the Drug War." This is no small thing, given that when Gilbert—whose service to DU spans roughly… Read more

  • U. of Denver’s Shame in ‘Inside Higher Ed’

    December 14, 2011

    Following FIRE’s Monday press release, Inside Higher Ed has published an article on the poor climate for academic freedom in light of the University of Denver’s (DU’s) action against a professor. Following two anonymous complaints over his teaching of a graduate-level course on "The Domestic and International Consequences of the Drug War," DU charged tenured… Read more

  • University of Denver Calls Teaching ‘Sexual Harassment,’ Ignores Faculty; AAUP Launches Inquiry

    December 12, 2011

    DENVER, December 12, 2011—University of Denver Professor Arthur N. Gilbert is daring to teach his “Drug War” course again after the university violated his academic freedom and suspended him earlier this year, deeming his teaching about sexual issues to be “sexual harassment.” Over the objections of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a faculty committee,… Read more

  • University of Denver Professor’s Plight Featured in ‘The Denver Post’

    December 1, 2011

    FIRE has been closely following the case of University of Denver (DU) professor Arthur Gilbert, who was investigated and found guilty of sexual harassment after two anonymous students complained about the content of his course, "The Domestic and International Consequences of the Drug War." In The Denver Post yesterday, reporter Kevin Smith highlighted the due… Read more

  • University of Denver Student Speaks out Against Punishment of Professor

    November 21, 2011

    The punishment of Professor Arthur Gilbert, a University of Denver (DU) faculty member with more than 50 years of teaching experience, has provoked much outrage from the community. The fact pattern of his case makes this reaction understandable. Gilbert was suspended from the DU campus and investigated on the basis of two anonymous complaints about… Read more

  • University of Denver Refuses to Reconsider Violation of 50-Year Veteran Professor’s Academic Freedom

    November 18, 2011

    Over the objections of FIRE, a faculty committee, and the University of Denver Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (DU AAUP), the University of Denver (DU) has refused to reconsider its violation of Professor Arthur N. Gilbert’s academic freedom. DU had suspended Gilbert earlier this year after receiving anonymous complaints of sexual harassment about his class,… Read more

  • University of Denver AAUP Echoes Call to Restore Academic Freedom to DU

    November 15, 2011

    In a letter to the University of Denver’s provost and president on November 12, 17 members of the University of Denver chapter of the American Association of University Professors (DU AAUP) echoed FIRE’s concern for academic freedom in the case of DU professor Arthur Gilbert, whom DU found guilty of sexual harassment for relevant classroom… Read more

  • University of Denver Attacks Academic Freedom With Punishment of 50-Year Veteran Professor

    October 27, 2011

    The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Peter Schmidt reports this week on a deeply troubling case involving a tenured professor at the University of Denver. DU Provost Gregg Kvistad has largely affirmed the punishment of Professor Arthur N. Gilbert over the objections of a faculty committee, which cited serious concerns about academic freedom and due process… Read more