University of Missouri – Columbia

Location: Columbia, Missouri
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

University of Missouri – Columbia 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

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
  • University of Missouri System: 600.010 Equal Employment/Educational Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Definition of Discrimination and Harassment. For purposes of determining whether a particular course of conduct constitutes prohibited discrimination or harassment under this policy, the following definitions will be used: … Conduct that is based upon an individual’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, rel... Read More
  • Multicultural Center: Report Bias

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Bias incidents are instances of verbal or non-verbal conduct or behavior that is threatening, harassing, intimidating, discriminatory, or hostile.  This can be an incident you have directly experienced.  It can also be an incident witnessed as a third party against any person, group, or property which you believe di... Read More
  • Residential Life: Policies and Procedures- Noise/Quiet Hours/Disruptive Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Residents should not engage in disruptive or disorderly conduct or lewd, indecent or obscene conduct or expression. Read More
  • University of Missouri System: 200.010 Standard of Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Threatening or Intimidating Behaviors, defined as written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of injury to the health or safety of any person or damage to any property or implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another. Read More
  • University of Missouri System: 330.030 Disruption

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Right of Free Expression — The University of Missouri will at all times defend the right of free expression of opinion, including the right of peaceful assembly. The University will, indeed, guard this right in behalf of all persons associated with the institution and will not tolerate actions by any individua... Read More
  • Business Policy and Procedure Online Manual: Use of Facilities

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    The University is committed to protecting the rights of expression, assembly, protest, and dissent and to making its facilities and grounds available for these activities.  Protecting impromptu and spontaneous assembly for the purpose of expression, protest, and dissent is essential to fulfilling this commitment. Th... Read More
  • Business Policy and Procedure Online Manual: Posting and Distributing Materials on Campus

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Distribution of non-University publications is permissible outside and inside buildings if the following criteria are met: … Distribution of materials does not constitute a violation of applicable state or federal laws. … All posters, signs or other materials must be placed on bulletin boards or in desig... Read More
  • Free Expression at Mizzou: Commitment to Free Expression

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Because the University of Missouri (“University”) is committed to free and open inquiry in all matters, it is uncompromising in its efforts to provide all members of the University’s academic enterprise the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, and learn. Except insofar as limitations on tha... Read More
  • Business Policy and Procedure Online Manual: Chalking on Campus

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Chalking that violates federal or state law is prohibited, unless such chalking is protected by the rights of free speech and expression as set forth in the U.S. Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Missouri. Read More
  • University of Missouri System: 110.005 Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Prohibited Uses of University Computer Resources: … b. Uses that interfere with the proper functioning of the University’s information technology resources. c. Uses that unreasonably interfere with the ability of others to make use of University computer resources. Read More
  • University of Missouri System: 600.020 Sexual Harassment under Title IX

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 30, 2022

    Sexual harassment means 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 the University’s education program or activity; … 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 93/154
Ideological Diversity 47/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 58.98
Openness 9.47
Tolerance (Liberals) 9.67
Tolerance (Conservatives) 8.76
Administrative Support 6.13
Comfort 15.61
Disruptive Conduct 9.34
Speech Climate
Supported Scholars
Sanctioned Scholars
Successful Disinvitations
Speech Code YELLOW
  • University of Missouri adopts commitment to free speech, new guidelines on campus expressive activity

    June 2, 2017

    In a welcome development for students’ and faculty members’ First Amendment rights, the University of Missouri, Columbia (Mizzou) has adopted both a policy statement committing the university to free speech principles as well as a series of policies related to free expression, assembly, and protest designed to provide robust protections for campus expressive activity. Mizzou,… Read more

  • Mizzou Ignores Warnings, Censors T-Shirts Advocating Marijuana Legalization

    June 10, 2016

    COLUMBIA, Mo., June 10, 2016—Despite repeated warnings that it is violating the First Amendment rights of its students, the University of Missouri (Mizzou) refuses to allow a recognized student group to create T-shirts featuring a cannabis leaf and the university’s name. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has twice warned Mizzou that its treatment… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: University of Missouri

    May 6, 2016

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for May 2016: the University of Missouri. For months now, the University of Missouri (UM) has been the focus of extensive news coverage—and criticism from all sides—for its handling of student protests on campus. Largely missing from that coverage, however, is the fact that UM maintains written… Read more

  • Mizzou Committee Recommends Adoption of Free Expression Statement

    March 29, 2016

    On March 18, the Ad Hoc Joint Committee on Protests, Public Spaces, Free Speech, and the Press at the University of Missouri issued a statement urging the university administration to commit itself to protecting free expression on campus. This is particularly welcome news given the up-and-down year for free speech on the campus. This past… Read more

  • Controversial Mizzou Professor’s Firing Raises Due Process Concerns

    February 29, 2016

    The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has asked the University of Missouri to reverse its termination of Professor Melissa Click over concerns she was fired without due process. During last fall’s campus protests at Mizzou, Click, an assistant professor of mass media who also held a courtesy appointment in the journalism school, was recorded… Read more

  • Missouri Lawmakers Threaten to Withhold Mizzou Funding over Student Protests

    February 16, 2016

    Student engagement at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) has been in the spotlight for months, but apparently not everyone is happy about that. Last week, the Higher Education Appropriations Committee of the Missouri House of Representatives voted to penalize Mizzou by withholding a 2 percent budget increase given to all of the other public institutions… Read more

  • University Training Programs Can Misinform, Fail to Protect

    December 30, 2015

    2015 has been a landmark year for student activism, including for those demanding more attention be paid to the issue of rape and sexual assault on college campuses. Although this activism has helped shine light on an important issue, many of the responses by universities have undermined students’ rights in critical ways. While FIRE has… Read more

  • Students, Admins Cite ‘Safe Spaces’ in Seeking Limits to Media Coverage

    November 23, 2015

    One of many noteworthy aspects of the recent protests over racial inequality on dozens of America’s college campuses has been the effort by some protesters to bar members of the press in the name of creating a “safe space” to air their grievances. Many students have voiced concerns that the media would mischaracterize the story… Read more

  • Mizzou Makes Big Promises, Then Waffles on Free Speech; Says Its ‘Red Light’ Speech Codes Comply with First Amendment

    November 16, 2015

    The University of Missouri released a statement last week detailing its plan to balance students’ safety concerns with their right to free expression. The statement comes at the end of a tumultuous few weeks in which protests over racism have roiled the campus. Last week, university system president Tim Wolfe resigned, as did R. Bowen… Read more

  • President Obama: Student Protests Should Embrace Free Speech

    November 16, 2015

    WASHINGTON, November 16, 2015—For the second time this year, President Barack Obama publicly defended the importance of free speech on campus. In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos (video; transcript) that aired yesterday, President Obama praised student activists, but also said he disagrees with what Stephanopoulos described as “militant political correctness” on campus, whereby… Read more

  • Academic freedom under attack by Missouri lawmaker

    November 13, 2015

    The Huffington Post reported this week that Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer recently demanded the University of Missouri (Mizzou) release all documents and correspondence related to a graduate student’s abortion-related research study. The senator’s request is, at its core, a thinly-veiled attempt to interfere with the research based on a negative view of its content… Read more

  • Missouri Universities Ask Students to Report ‘Hurtful’ Speech to Police

    November 12, 2015

    A troubling administrative response to recent student protests at the University of Missouri was issued on Tuesday, with the University of Missouri Police Department (MUPD) asking “individuals who witness incidents of hateful and/or hurtful speech” to call the police immediately and photograph the individuals involved, allowing the university to “take disciplinary action” against offending students…. Read more

  • Mizzou Professor Demands ‘Muscle’ To Remove Student Journalists; Police Claim ‘Hurtful’ Speech Can Be Punished

    November 10, 2015

    The eyes of the nation are on the University of Missouri today. Ongoing student protests resulted in the resignations of the university system president and the chancellor of the flagship Columbia campus yesterday afternoon. Then, yesterday evening, video surfaced on social media of a professor’s demand that force be used against journalists trying to photograph… Read more

  • Mizzou Says Years-Old Confederate Flag Twitpic Not a ‘Threat,’ Retracts Statement

    July 15, 2015

    Officials at the University of Missouri said they will not take action against people photographed three years ago with a Confederate flag in a picture that recently appeared online, because they are not MU students. MU updated its statement on the issue this afternoon after FIRE reached out asking for comment. The photo, which was… Read more

  • This Time, We’re Failing to Talk About ‘American Sniper’

    April 20, 2015

    Every so often, a cultural touchstone descends on college campuses, with the effect of putting campus discourse under the microscope for all to see. The results, frequently, are discouraging. Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster film American Sniper, adapted from deceased Navy sniper Chris Kyle’s memoir, is the latest exhibit. That American Sniper is a controversial movie is… Read more

  • University of Missouri Will Tolerate Teletubby, ‘Will Not Tolerate’ Asking for Consent

    August 28, 2014

    This week, members of a fraternity at the University of Missouri (MU) found themselves in front of the university’s Title IX coordinator after one of them dressed up as a Teletubby and danced across the street from women rushing a sorority, as shown in a video posted online. Thankfully, the Title IX coordinator quickly and correctly determined that this did not constitute sexual harassment. But it is remarkable that this was even raised as an issue and that someone tasked with assessing actions as serious as sexual assault and rape had to spend time—even a short amount of time—investigating this.

  • 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.