University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 8th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Nebraska – Lincoln has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.

This school does not have any cases at this time.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Contract Policies Booklet: Rights and Responsibilities as a Resident 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Inappropriate behavior or unlawful activities may result in immediate termination of your residence hall contract (regular cancellation fees will apply), your relocation to another hall and/or referral to the Office of the Dean of Students or the appropriate law enforcement body. Such violations include, but are not limited to the following: …

    • Abuse (physical or verbal) and/or battery of a resident or staff member …
    • Other inappropriate behavior deemed so by Housing personnel.

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  • Guidelines for Use of UNL Campus Outdoor Spaces 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    Student organizations need to obtain approval for outdoor activities through the Office for Student Involvement.

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Green Light Policies
  • Policy and Procedures on Unlawful Discrimination, Including Sexual and Other Prohibited Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

    No person shall contribute to a hostile or abusive environment at UNL based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital status or sexual orientation (collectively “protected status”) by engaging in harassing conduct (e.g. physical, verbal, graphic, or written) that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to clearly interfere with or limit the ability of (1) a student to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by UNL; or (2) an employee to engage in his or her work duties.

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  • Student Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures: Student Code of Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies


    1. Engaging or attempting to engage in any act for the purpose of injuring, threatening or unreasonably alarming another or for the purpose of unreasonably interfering with any person’s work, education, or the environment or activities surrounding one’s work or education.
    2. If a person has been advised not to engage in certain acts and subsequently does so, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the subsequent acts were done for one or more of the purposes set forth in the above paragraph.
    3. This section shall be strictly construed so as not to infringe upon the constitutional rights of free speech and expression of any person; and shall apply only to those acts described in paragraph (a) of this section.

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  • Contract Policies Booklet: Rights and Responsibilities as a Resident 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    [S]tudents who engage in acts or communications that are intended to threaten, intimidate, or harass a particular student and to cause that student to fear for his or her safety, are in violation of the harassment policy and will be subject to severe disciplinary action.

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  • Policy for Responsible Use of University Computers and Information Systems 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Misuse includes the following: … Using electronic communications to harass or threaten users in such a way as to create an atmosphere which unreasonably interferes with the education or the employment experience. Similarly, electronic communications shall not be used to harass or threaten other information recipients, in addition to University users. … Personal use of any University information system to access, download, print, store, forward, transmit or distribute obscene material. … Obscene with respect to obscene material shall mean (1) that an average person applying contemporary community standards would find the material taken as a whole predominantly appeals to the prurient interest or a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sex, or excretion, (2) the material depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct specifically set out in Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-807 to 28-809, as amended, and (3) the material taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.

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  • 6 of 10 universities can’t figure out 1st Amendment

    December 20, 2012

    by Bob Unruh at WND More than six of 10 colleges and universities across the United States have yet to figure out the First Amendment, because their “speech codes” conflict with the Constitution, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “FIRE surveyed 409 schools for this report and found that over 62 percent maintain severely restrictive, ‘red-light’ speech codes – policies that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech,” said the executive summary. “That this figure is so large is deeply troubling, but there is good news: for the fifth year in a row, the percentage of schools maintaining […]

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  • How free is ‘abusive’ speech?

    December 1, 2009

    The Nebraska Supreme Court will take up a free speech case this week involving a college student’s angry e-mails to a professor running for political office. The student, Darren Drahota, was charged with disturbing the peace and fined $250 in Lancaster County for sending e-mails in 2006 to his former political science professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, State Sen. Bill Avery of Lincoln. At the time, Avery was running for his seat in the Legislature. The Nebraska Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in June, and a UCLA law professor appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is […]

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  • Game-day politicking ban put on hold

    September 4, 2004

    LINCOLN — Nebraska regents may weigh in on whether Memorial Stadium — or for that matter an entire campus — is the right place for political campaigning.Regent Randy Ferlic of Omaha criticized Friday a new University of Nebraska-Lincoln policy banning campaign activity at Cornhusker football games.”I look at this as an abridgment of the expression of free speech,” Ferlic said. Ferlic said he will initiate a discussion of the issue at next Friday’s regular Board of Regents meeting. In the face of strong reactions from the two major political parties and questions by some regents, Chancellor Harvey Perlman decided Friday […]

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  • Thought Reform 101

    March 1, 2000

    At Wake Forest University last fall, one of the few events designated as “mandatory” for freshman orientation was attendance at Blue Eyed, a filmed racism awareness workshop in which whites are abused, ridiculed, made to fail, and taught helpless passivity so that they can identify with “a person of color for a day.” In Swarthmore College’s dormitories, in the fall of 1998, first-year students were asked to line up by skin color, from lightest to darkest, and to step forward and talk about how they felt concerning their place in that line. Indeed, at almost all of our campuses, some […]

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  • University of Nebraska Student Senator Faces Impeachment Over Remarks Made During Debate

    November 25, 2013

    Following comments made during a debate over the free speech ramifications of a proposed resolution, a student senator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is facing a hearing and potential impeachment. While opposing a resolution pledging to remove “derogatory language” from its members’ vocabulary, Association of Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN) Senator Cameron Murphy argued that context matters and that words should not be banned wholesale simply because they are considered “offensive” or “derogatory” per se. In doing so, he quoted and discussed comedian Chris Rock’s “Niggas vs. Black People” routine and related a personal story about being called a “cracker.” Murphy concluded that “[r]estricting […]

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  • David Moshman: ‘Sexual Harassment Is Wrong Because It Is Harassment, Not Because It Is Sexual’

    May 24, 2013

    In light of the Departments of Education and Justice’s new federal "blueprint" for campus sexual harassment policies, David Moshman, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, writes for The Huffington Post today to share a story that would be funny if it weren’t true.  At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) a psychology graduate student named Toni Blake studied and taught human sexuality. One day in 1993 Blake brought a banana to a class session on contraception and used it to illustrate the application of a condom. Warning about the danger of impregnation prior to ejaculation, she joked that […]

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  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Student Thankful for School’s ‘Green Light’

    February 21, 2013

    In an op-ed published in today’s edition of The Daily Nebraskan, an independent student newspaper at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), graduate student Benjamin Welch writes about the importance of having a diversity of ideas on campus, even when those ideas might offend others. Welch writes: Regardless, when a truly diverse population exists, as many universities strive for, a person of a particular persuasion or belief system taking offense to an action or speech of another is an inevitable byproduct. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Knowledge and finding oneself is the cornerstone of the college experience, and a facet […]

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  • Victory for First Amendment: Nebraska Supreme Court Exonerates Student Charged with “Breach of the Peace” for Two E-mails

    September 24, 2010

    In a victory for the First Amendment, the Nebraska Supreme Court has reversed a college student’s conviction for breach of the peace for sending two anonymous e-mails to his professor. In the e-mails, University of Nebraska student Darren Drahota had criticized the professor, who was also running for the state legislature at the time, for his political views and questioned his patriotism. The professor alerted the police to the e-mails, resulting in a conviction for disturbing the peace that was upheld on appeal by the Nebraska Court of Appeals. In its decision in State v. Drahota, the Nebraska Supreme Court […]

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  • Nebraska ‘Breach of the Peace’ Case Reaches Oral Argument, Receives Local Media Attention

    December 4, 2009

    An important First Amendment case in which a University of Nebraska student was found guilty of breaching the peace for two anonymous e-mails he sent to his college professor went to oral argument this week before the Nebraska Supreme Court. As Torch readers may recall, FIRE submitted an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the case, in which student Darren Drahota criticized the political views of his professor and questioned his patriotism. The case has generated a significant amount of local press coverage in the past week, including in the Lincoln Journal-Star, Omaha World-Herald, and Lexington Clipper-Herald, and on Nebraska.TV. (Nebraska also […]

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  • FIRE Files Amicus Brief in Important ‘Breach of the Peace’ Case

    November 20, 2009

    Earlier this week, FIRE filed an amicus brief with the Nebraska Supreme Court in an important First Amendment case involving political e-mails sent by a student to his university professor. FIRE wrote the brief on behalf of Darren Drahota, a University of Nebraska student who was criminally convicted of disturbing the peace based on two anonymous e-mails sent to his political science professor, current Nebraska state senator Bill Avery. You can read an article in the Lincoln Journal Star about the case here. In a decision that would pose a clear threat to First Amendment rights if allowed to stand, […]

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  • Anne Neal in ‘The New Republic’ on UNL and Bill Ayers

    December 9, 2008

    Check out Anne Neal’s article in The New Republic on the disinvitation of Bill Ayers from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in October. Anne, the president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni and a First Amendment lawyer, writes: UNL had invited Bill Ayers, now a University of Illinois at Chicago professor, to speak at its education college’s centennial celebration. A day after the invitation was publicized and the school was bombarded with emails and phone calls, UNL chancellor Harvey Perlman revoked the invitation, citing “security concerns.” Let there be no question: Professor Ayers’ past behavior and involvement […]

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  • Questions Remain Following University of Nebraska–Lincoln President’s Letter Concerning Ayers Cancellation

    November 18, 2008

    For a few weeks now, FIRE has been monitoring the situation at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) following the cancellation of a speech by William Ayers, a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a founding member of the Weather Underground, a group responsible for the bombings of several public buildings—including the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol—during the 1960s and 70s. Ayers’ speech was abruptly cancelled by UNL on “safety” grounds after the publicity generated by his relationship with now President-elect Barack Obama drew attention to his activist history. Nebraska’s governor and attorney general, as well […]

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  • At University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Cancellation of Ayers’ Speech Raises Troubling Questions

    October 20, 2008

    This past Friday, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) announced the cancellation of a November speech by William Ayers, citing unspecified “safety concerns” as grounds for the move. According to UNL’s statement, the school’s “threat assessment group” had been monitoring e-mails and had received “other information” suggesting a potential threat to security. No further details have yet been provided. Ayers is currently a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was also a founding member of the Weather Underground, a group responsible for bombing the Pentagon, the U.S. Capitol, and other government buildings in the 1960s and […]

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  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping cases from 2006 involved a breathtaking exercise in thought reform by Michigan State University. FIRE publicly challenged what MSU calls a “Student Accountability in Community Seminar” (SAC) which is intended to address student behavior that administrators consider unacceptable; the seminar is successful only when it […]

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