University of Georgia

Location: Athens, Georgia
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

University of Georgia 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 55 colleges surveyed Read more
  • Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 5, 2020

    Sexual Harassment is defined as: Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, based on sex or gender stereotypes, that: 1.Is implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program or activity; 2.Is a basis for employment/educational decisions; or 3.Is sufficiently severe, pers... Read More
  • Title IX: Sex Discrimination & Harassment: Title IX Brochure

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 5, 2020

    What is sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is a form of sex-based discrimination prohibited by Title IX consisting of unwelcome verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct based on sex, or on gender stereotypes, that is: Implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program   or act... Read More
  • Board of Regents Policy Manual: 6.7 Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 5, 2020

    Sexual Harassment (Student on Student): Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct based on sex (including gender stereotypes), determined by a Reasonable Person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to participate in or to benefit from an instit... Read More
  • Freedom of Expression Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 5, 2020

    Any member of the University Community who engages in expressive activity not covered by Sections III.C or III.D at a campus location must submit a request for reservation of that location. Any Non-University Affiliated Speaker seeking to use a Designated Forum as permitted under Section IV.A below must submit a req... Read More
  • Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 5, 2020

    Students and organizations are not only members of the academic community but are also members of the larger society. Students individually, therefore, retain the rights, guarantees and protections afforded to and the responsibilities held by all citizens. … The University of Georgia fully supports the marketp... Read More
  • Policies on the Use of Computers

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 5, 2020

    No one without prior authorization shall use University facilities to knowingly create or disseminate spam — unwanted and unsolicited emails or materials, in such a large volume that it may disrupt the proper functioning of the University’s information technology resources or individuals’ ability to use such r... Read More
  • Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 5, 2020

    At the University of Georgia, discriminatory harassment is defined as: Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on race, color, sex (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity or national origin, religion, age, genetic information, disability, or veteran status when ... Read More
  • Freedom of Expression Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 5, 2020

    No rights are more highly regarded at the University of Georgia than the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and expression and the right to assemble peaceably. Read More

FIRE surveyed roughly 20,000 students at 55 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. In 2020, 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 -4-100. See the full report on FIRE’s 2020 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Rankings / out of 55 colleges surveyed

Overall Ranking 43
Ranked by Liberals 48
Ranked by Conservatives 38
Ideological Diversity 6

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 50.4
Openness 58.4
Tolerance 50.9
Administrative Support 70.7
Self-Expression 32.2
Speech Code YELLOW
  • Faculty Network interview: Jonathan Peters, University of Georgia

    July 29, 2021

    In this occasional feature, FIRE interviews members of our Faculty Network to discuss their research, teaching, and advocacy on free expression at their institutions. This month, we talked with University of Georgia professor Jonathan Peters.  Jonathan Peters is a media law professor with faculty appointments in UGA’s College of Journalism & Mass Communication and the… Read more

  • To tweet or not to tweet: How social media policies burden student-athletes’ free speech rights

    July 13, 2021

    Last September, a well-known name around my university campus, the University of Georgia, came back into the limelight. Adam Sasser, a former baseball player, filed a lawsuit against UGA and several university officials for allegedly violating his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Sasser is perhaps best remembered at UGA for using a racial epithet to… Read more

  • Panel rejects UGA’s charges against teaching assistant, but chilling effect persists

    May 8, 2019

    A three-member panel at the University of Georgia decided Tuesday that philosophy graduate student and teaching assistant Irami Osei-Frimpong did not violate the university’s code of conduct, rejecting charges of providing false information on his grad school application. The charges were brought after UGA announced that it was “vigorously exploring all available legal options,” following… Read more

  • FIRE warns University of Georgia and state attorney general to end speech-chilling investigation into TA’s protected expression

    January 25, 2019

    The University of Georgia, in conjunction with Office of the Attorney General of the State of Georgia, is “vigorously exploring” whether the First Amendment permits it to take action against a philosophy graduate student and teaching assistant. The investigation arises from a public campaign demanding the termination of Irami Osei-Frimpong over statements about “crappy white… Read more

  • University of Georgia’s Reaction to Student’s Off-Campus Arrest Could Chill Speech

    April 22, 2015

    When students are accused of breaking the law while engaging in nonviolent off-campus expressive conduct, but not yet convicted, should colleges initiate disciplinary proceedings against them? FIRE doesn’t think so, but evidently that’s what students at the University of Georgia (UGA) can expect. On March 2, UGA student Adam Veale was arrested for blocking the… Read more

  • University of Georgia Revises Policy on Freedom of Expression, Ending Student Lawsuit

    March 12, 2015

    As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last week, the University of Georgia (UGA) chapter of the student organization Young Americans for Liberty has settled its free speech lawsuit against UGA after the university revised its policy on free expression. UGA’s previous Policy on Freedom of Expression established just two areas on campus for spontaneous student expression,… Read more

  • ‘Unlearning Liberty’: Censorship of Pro-Life Speech at UGA

    March 5, 2014

    Pro-life campus organizations are a frequent victim of “unlearning liberty,” as FIRE has copiously documented throughout the years. A new case at the University of Georgia (UGA) provides the latest example.

  • University of Georgia Student Paper Reports on School’s ‘Yellow Light’ Rating

    November 15, 2013

    Wednesday’s edition of The Red & Black, the student newspaper at the University of Georgia (UGA), has an article on the school’s “yellow light” speech code rating. Based on an interview with Samantha Harris, FIRE’s director of policy research, Dillon Richards’ article explains UGA’s problematic policies, which include a 48-hour waiting period for approval to demonstrate anywhere outside of two… Read more

  • University of Georgia Drops Last ‘Red Light’ Speech Code

    September 21, 2012

    The University of Georgia (UGA) no longer receives a "red light" rating from FIRE after removing from its website an email policy that prohibited "profanity, obscenities, or derogatory remarks in electronic mail messages." This is the second red light policy that UGA has revised within the past two years; last August, the university revised a… Read more

  • Resolution for ‘The Red and Black’

    August 21, 2012

    After almost a week of controversy at the University of Georgia, good news broke yesterday in the ongoing struggle at award-winning independent student newspaper The Red and Black.  The controversy began last week when the entire student editorial staff of the campus publication quit following proposed changes to the paper’s staff and editorial process. The… Read more

  • ‘Red & Black’ Update

    August 17, 2012

    The news is arriving fast and furious out of Athens, Georgia, where the former editorial staff of award-winning independent student newspaper The Red & Black met with members of the paper’s Board of Directors this afternoon to discuss their reasons for resignation and the possibility of reversing the deeply problematic staffing and editorial changes recently… Read more

  • Student Journalists at UGA Walk Out After Hostile Takeover of Paper by Non-Students

    August 16, 2012

    The student editorial staff of the award-winning University of Georgia (UGA) independent student newspaper The Red & Black quit en masse Wednesday in response to the appointment of a non-student editorial director with power of prior review of the paper. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a variety of other media have also covered the developing story,… Read more

  • Student Papers at UGA, Utah State on Schools’ ‘Red Light’ Ratings

    February 8, 2012

    Coverage of FIRE’s most recent speech code report, Spotlight on Speech Codes 2012: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses, keeps rolling in. Recently, student newspapers at the University of Georgia (UGA) and Utah State University (USU) joined those campus outlets that have drawn attention to FIRE’s review of their institution’s policies on… Read more

  • University of Georgia’s ‘Awful History of Infringing Upon Speech’

    September 30, 2011

    In a well-written column for the student newspaper The Red and Black, University of Georgia (UGA) sophomore Jonathan Klein analyzes UGA’s shortcomings in protecting students’ right to freedom of expression, concluding that the university’s free speech zones, in particular, are "incompatible with the First Amendment." Klein’s piece is a reminder to UGA students and administrators alike that UGA… Read more

  • UGA Journalism Professor: Harassment Policy ‘Infantilizes’ Students

    April 22, 2011

    A few weeks ago I wrote here about an excellent Atlanta Journal-Constitution column by University of Georgia (UGA) journalism professor William Lee, in which he pointed out the infirmities in UGA’s speech codes, which fall well short of giving students the First Amendment protections they are owed. As Lee now writes for UGA’s paper, The Red… Read more

  • UGA Professor Calls for School to Reform Speech Codes in ‘Atlanta Journal-Constitution’

    March 21, 2011

    For University of Georgia (UGA) journalism professor William E. Lee, UGA’s decision to review its current Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy is a step in the right direction. Not so that the screws can be tightened on free speech, as is too often the case, but so that UGA officials can put the policy in line… Read more

  • Free Speech Awakening at University of Georgia?

    March 1, 2011

    Something good for free speech might be happening at the University of Georgia (UGA), and I don’t mean the quiet retirement of the “Party in the UGA” orientation video. At the beginning of this academic year, UGA brought us Scootergate (video), in which a student was brought up on charges after he sent some negative feedback… Read more

  • Free Speech, Dangerous Speech, and Scootergate

    January 13, 2011

    In the aftermath of the unconscionable events that took place in Arizona this weekend, there’s been a lot of heated discussion about tone, rhetoric, and the consequences of “inflammatory” speech. Unfortunately, commentators have occasionally confused their anger and condemnation of some of the more overheated rhetoric in our political culture with an argument against free… Read more

  • FIRE Highlights UGA’s ‘Scootergate’ in New Video

    January 13, 2011

    When University of Georgia (UGA) student Jacob Lovell wrote a frustrated e-mail to the school’s Parking Services about the lack of places on campus to park his scooter, he had no idea that his e-mail would lead to formal charges from the university for disruption and "conduct that causes or provokes a disturbance." Only after… Read more

  • Greg Introduces FIRE’s New ‘Scootergate!’ Video on ‘Huffington Post’

    January 13, 2011

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff writes in The Huffington Post today about the significance of free speech in light of the recent debates over "hate speech" following the tragic shootings in Arizona. Greg emphasizes how granting the power to censor often leads those in authority to censor any criticism of themselves, and points to the case… Read more

  • Scootergate!

    January 13, 2011

    On August 17, 2010, University of Georgia graduate student Jacob Lovell e-mailed a complaint to UGA Parking Services concerning limited scooter parking. Although Parking Services specifically asks students for both “negative & positive” comments, Lovell spent nearly a month under the threat of punishment after submitting his complaint. [iframe src=”//″]

  • A Misguided Call for Censorship in University of Georgia Student Newspaper

    November 16, 2010

    At FIRE, we are very concerned about the increasingly large number of college students who believe it’s OK or even commendable to censor certain forms of speech. This phenomenon is widespread enough that Greg coined a phrase for it: "unlearning liberty." Samantha Shelton, one such student who has apparently unlearned liberty, gives us yet another… Read more

  • Police Investigate Jokes about Human Anatomy on Whiteboards in University of Georgia Residence Halls

    October 19, 2010

    The speech police are out in full force in the dorms at the University of Georgia! On August 21, University of Georgia (UGA) police officer David Rocklein reports: I was dispatched to Boggs Hall in reference to an act of intolerance. I made contact with the complainant … who stated that while making rounds at… Read more

  • Victory for Free Speech Nets Victory for Scooter Users at UGA

    October 13, 2010

    Here’s a fun development after FIRE’s victory on behalf of University of Georgia (UGA) student Jacob Lovell, who faced charges of "disorderly conduct" and "disruption" for e-mailing UGA Parking Services a complaint about campus scooter parking on campus. As the Athens Banner-Herald reports, Lovell was far from alone in registering his dissatisfaction with scooter parking,… Read more

  • University of Georgia in the News After Trying to Punish Student for Parking Complaint

    September 29, 2010

    As one might expect with a case stemming from a complaint over parking accommodations that resulted in the threat of disciplinary charges for University of Georgia (UGA) student Jacob Lovell, much of the public’s reaction to UGA’s behavior has been along the lines of: really? As in, UGA really thought Lovell’s e-mail constituted a threat?… Read more

  • Victory in Georgia: Student Cleared of Charges for Complaint about Campus Parking

    September 22, 2010

    Today’s press release tells the curious tale of University of Georgia (UGA) student Jacob Lovell, who wanted to find parking for his scooter when he drove to class. Not finding enough parking close enough to class, he e-mailed UGA Parking Services with his complaint about its service. His flippant and joking e-mail mused, “Did you… Read more

  • Victory in Georgia: Student Cleared of Charges for Complaint about Campus Parking

    September 22, 2010

    ATLANTA, Sept. 22, 2010—The University of Georgia (UGA) has withdrawn charges of “disorderly conduct” and “disruption” filed against a student after he sent a mocking e-mail to UGA Parking Services to complain about the lack of parking spaces for scooters on campus. Although Parking Services specifically asks students for both “negative & positive” comments on its… Read more

  • Weekly Media Round-Up: Quick Victory at Binghamton Keeps FIRE Looming Large

    November 21, 2008

    It’s a good day when FIRE is able to declare victory in a nasty dispute before the waves of attention generated by our initial involvement have had time to settle. Such was the case with Binghamton University’s (BU’s) Department of Social Work, which dropped its investigation of graduate student Andre Massena within a day of… Read more

  • Citing University of Delaware Case, UGA Student Calls For Respect of Students’ Rights in Dorm Life

    November 19, 2008

    University of Georgia (UGA) student Chris Chiego published an op-ed in today’s edition of The Red and Black, UGA’s student newspaper, describing a number of issues that have occurred within the university’s residential life program. Recently, an entire floor of a dorm at the university was fined as a result of vandalism in a shared… Read more

  • University of Georgia’s Broken Promises

    July 2, 2008

    (Brian Mink is a sophomore in International Affairs and History at the University of Georgia and a 2008 FIRE Summer Intern.) From a young age, we’re taught the value of a promise. We’re taught that acting the same way in private that we act in public constitutes integrity. We’re taught that neglecting our duty damages… Read more

  • University of Georgia Violates Anonymity of Course Evaluations to Punish Offensive Speech, Then Violates FERPA

    December 4, 2007

    Last year, a University of Georgia student wrote disparaging (but not threatening) personal comments about his professor in his anonymous course evaluations both semesters. The professor examined the student’s handwriting and identified him. The professor also notified the university, which brought in a handwriting expert to verify that the identified student was the writer of… Read more

  • University of Georgia President Sends Students on All-Expenses-Paid Guilt Trip

    December 14, 2006

    David French, in a very revealing December 8 post that I had missed on Phi Beta Cons, brings to our attention an embarrassing tactic that administrators sometimes use to attack students who ask that their constitutional rights be respected: Within a day after the Christian Legal Society and the Alliance Defense Fund filed suit to… Read more

  • University of Georgia Settles Freedom of Association Case

    December 8, 2006

    This week, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society filed a lawsuit against the University of Georgia for refusing to recognize a Christian fraternity because the fraternity would require members to share the group’s Christian beliefs. Literally days after the lawsuit was filed, the university agreed to settle it by agreeing to recognize the… Read more

  • Newspaper Thievery at the University of Georgia

    September 26, 2006

    Last Thursday night vandals at the University of Georgia stole over 1200 copies of The Georgia GuardDawg, the campus conservative paper. A number of the distribution bins were reportedly vandalized with acrimonious remarks. Damage was assessed at about $700. The GuardDawg’s latest issue included an interview with Ruth Malhotra, the plaintiff in a recently successful… Read more

  • Majority Love, Minority Rights

    June 15, 2005

    The Chronicle of Higher Education’s June 17 issue contains an interesting article analyzing the Georgia public’s continuing high regard for the University of Georgia, which “stands out as a blue island of Democrats in a Republican-red sea.” While you should read the entire article, the critical point is summed up in the opening paragraphs: Georgia,… Read more