University of Massachusetts at Lowell

Location: Lowell, Massachusetts
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Tell University of Massachusetts at Lowell to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of Massachusetts at Lowell has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.

Red Light Policies

  • Policy IT-5-101: Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2018

    No user of information technology resources may take any of the following actions: … Use information technology resource irresponsibly or in a manner that needlessly affects the work of others. This includes transmitting or making accessible offensive, or harassing material … Use information technology resources or services for intentionally transmitting, communicating or accessing pornographic or sexually explicit material, images, text or other offensive material except when clearly required to do so in the course of their work …

    » Read More

Yellow Light Policies
  • Bias Incident Response Protocol

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: January 17, 2018

    The objectives of the Bias Incident Response Protocol are to: (1) Respond to bias incidents in a timely and coordinated manner (2) Support the well-being of the campus community by ensuring all participants are welcomed, valued and respected (3) Offer campus members a convenient and efficient means to report bias incidents (4) Document and monitor all bias incidents (5) Engage our community in an effort to create a safe and inclusive community environment.


    A Bias Incident is any conduct or expression that demeans, degrades or harasses an individual or group based on their actual or perceived identity such as ancestry, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability (physical, emotional or intellectual), veteran status, ethnicity or national origin. For the purpose of this protocol, a bias incident is any of the following:

    Discrimination – conduct that denies any individual or group equal privileges or access to a particular activity or opportunity because of the individual’s identity (as listed above).

    Harassment – unwelcome conduct based on identities (as listed above) that unreasonably interferes with the person’s work or educational performance or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment. Examples may include, but are not limited to, images, slurs, jokes, epithets, electronic communication or other verbal, graphic or physical conduct.

    Acts of Intolerance – conduct motivated by discriminatory bias or hatred toward other individuals or groups based on perceived or actual characteristics of identities listed above.

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  • Student Conduct Code: Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2018

    Sexual harassment can occur between individuals of different sexes or of the same sex. Sexual harassment may occur in the form of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic admission or advancement, or participation in University programs or activities; (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or (3) such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive to unreasonably interfere with an individual’s work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment. A single, unusually severe incident may constitute sexual harassment.

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  • Student Conduct Code: Lewd/Indecent Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: January 17, 2018

    Lewd or indecent conduct or expression, on or off campus/University property, or at University sponsored or supervised functions are a violation of the Student Conduct Code.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Student Conduct Code: Respect and Protection for Persons and Property

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2018

    Conduct less than a physical attack or physical interference which interferes with a person in the conduct of his or her customary or usual affairs, such as the posting of threatening letters directed to the person, the use of threatening language directed at another, harassing or threatening telephone calls, email, voicemail, posting of materials in on-line communities, instant messaging (IM), or the vandalism of a person’s room (e.g. by graffiti). The University has special concern for incidents in which persons are subject to such conduct because of membership in a particular racial, religious, gender or sexual orientation group.

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  • Guidelines for Sexual Harassment, Sexual Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2018

    Sexual Harassment that rises to an actionable level is:

    • Gender-based or sexual verbal or physical conduct that is,

    • unwelcome and/or without consent,

    • considered to be sufficiently offensive in terms of severity, persistence, or pervasiveness, both to a reasonable person and the person impacted, that it,

    • has the effect of unreasonably or substantially interfering with, or of depriving someone of access to, the terms, conditions, privileges, benefits, or opportunities of the University’s education, employment, or programs or activities, regardless of whether it occurs on or off campus.

    While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct, its persistence, and its pervasiveness:

    • Sexual emails;
    • Sexting, or sexual messages or images posted on social media, for example, texts, instant messages, Facebook posts, Tweets, Snapchat, Instagram, blog entries
    • Physical contact such as patting, pinching, or purposely rubbing up against another’s body
    • Unwelcome sexual advances — whether they involve physical touching or not;
    • Sexual “kidding,” epithets, jokes, written or verbal references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life; comment on an individual’s body, comment about an individual’s sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess;
    • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;
    • Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;
    • Inquiries into one’s sexual experiences; and,
    • Discussion of one’s sexual activities.

    » Read More

  • Student Conduct Code: Appendix D- Guidelines for Responses to Demonstrations on University Property

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2018

    The University of Massachusetts recognizes the rights of members of the University community to freedom of assembly and speech, and strongly believes in fostering discourse and the free exchange of ideas at the University.


    Demonstrations are limited to appropriate public forums, which do not include among other locations, facility and administrative offices, classrooms and other instructional facilities. (Public forums are locations which by tradition or policy are available for public assembly and speech – such as a student union lobby where students have traditionally gathered to debate issues.) to the extent that a public forum exists within a University building, any demonstrations within that forum shall take place only during the building’s normal operating hours.

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At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • Don’t Film Me, Bro!

    May 18, 2012

    The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice issued a guidance letter this week finding a First Amendment right to record police engaged in their official duties. Professor Eugene Volokh of UCLA School of Law picks up on this over at the Volokh Conspiracy. The most recent case clarifying this First Amendment right is ACLU v. Alvarez, issued this month by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. In Alvarez, the Seventh Circuit held that “[t]he act of making an audio or audiovisual recording is necessarily included within the First Amendment’s guarantee of speech and […]

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  • UMass Lowell: Be Careful How You Address Controversial Speech

    May 14, 2012

    Yet another joke issue of a college student publication has encountered controversy on campus for being intentionally offensive in order to comment on a variety of issues. The good news is that the dean of students at University of Massachusetts Lowell, Larry Siegel, has taken punishment of the independent student newspaper, the Connector, off of the table. The Lowell Sun reports:  Siegel said the university “holds in high regard the freedom of speech” and so “in no way are we going to censor the student paper,” which is run independently. “But you can’t let your own amusement under the guise […]

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