University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Type: Public
Tell University of Nebraska – Lincoln to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of Nebraska – Lincoln 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
  • Student Code of Conduct: Standards of Responsible Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 7, 2021

    Engaging in, or attempting to engage in, behavior that may cause harm to an individual or property, which includes, but is not limited to: … e. Harassing another person, by intentionally engaging in a course of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose and that would seriously terrify, threaten, or intimidate ... Read More
  • UNL Report

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: September 7, 2021

    Welcome! You have accessed the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s incident reporting, or UNL Report. UNL Report expands the methods by which any member of the university community can share matters they feel need to be elevated or addressed. … Incident Type: Climate/Culture A climate-based concern can include... Read More
  • Policy on the Use of University Facilities and Grounds

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 7, 2021

    While UNL property is not open to unrestricted public access, many spaces are available for use by faculty and staff, students, student groups, and members of the public, with appropriate approval and when scheduled in advance. … Designated Public Forums These are places the campus designates as open for expre... Read More
  • Office of the University Registrar: Discrimination and Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 7, 2021

    Any unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, physical, written, or pictorial, which has the purpose or effect of creating a hostile environment for the person subjected to the conduct, or any solicitation of sexual conduct of any nature when submission to or rejection of such contact is used as the ba... Read More
  • Executive Memorandum No. 38: Procedures for Sexual Misconduct Reports against Students

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 7, 2021

    “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; R... Read More
  • RP-6.4.10 Commitment to Free Expression, Guide for Facilities Use, and Education

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 7, 2021

    The University of Nebraska honors the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and has long dedicated itself to the free exchange of ideas. … “Freedom of speech” and “freedom of expression” refer to one’s Constitutional right to articulate and express ideas and opinions, through any means, i.e. speaking, writi... Read More
  • Executive Memorandum 16: Policy for Responsible Use of University Computers and Information Systems

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 7, 2021

    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 pa... 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 92/154
Ideological Diversity 34/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 59.02
Openness 9.08
Tolerance (Liberals) 9.92
Tolerance (Conservatives) 8.01
Administrative Support 5.93
Comfort 15.62
Disruptive Conduct 10.46
Speech Code YELLOW
  • Former graduate instructor, blacklisted over testy exchange with TPUSA student, sues University of Nebraska – Lincoln

    August 31, 2021

    On Aug. 25, 2017 at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, graduate student and adjunct lecturer Courtney Lawton attended a small protest on the quad of her campus, adjacent to where a student group was recruiting new members. The group, Turning Point USA, publishes the controversial Professor Watchlist, which has been criticized for targeting college… Read more

  • University of Nebraska leadership defends academic freedom after anti-CRT proposal

    July 23, 2021

    University of Nebraska regent and gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen said recently that he intends to introduce a board of regents resolution in August opposing “any imposition of critical race theory” in university curriculum. The resolution’s vague terms present serious academic freedom concerns, and those concerns appear to be shared by members of the university’s faculty,… Read more

  • Lawyer sends chilling open records request to University of Nebraska-Lincoln professors

    May 6, 2019

    In yet another example of abusive open records requests targeting faculty for speaking out, an attorney with the Lincoln, Nebraska law firm of Keating O’Gara submitted a request to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln earlier this month for all university employee communications and documents related to conservative group Turning Point USA (TPUSA). The request highlights how… Read more

  • Congressman’s office pressures U. of Nebraska to punish professor who liked ‘Fartenberry’ Facebook photo

    November 1, 2018

    Lincoln Journal Star reporter Nancy Hicks described what happened to a campaign sign for Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry late last month as “[p]olitical vandalism … [with] a touch of humor.” Whoever defaced the poster opted for the “sophomoric” version of dissent — adding cartoonish googly eyes to Fortenberry’s face along with a few pieces of… Read more

  • AAUP censures University of Nebraska-Lincoln for wrongfully terminating graduate instructor

    June 20, 2018

    At its annual conference this past weekend in the Washington, D.C., area, the American Association of University Professors voted to censure the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for terminating the teaching duties of graduate student Courtney Lawton following a verbal argument with an undergraduate. The AAUP’s censure comes on the heels of an AAUP investigative report faulting… Read more

  • University of Nebraska Board of Regents approves ‘Commitment to Free Expression’ Statement

    January 30, 2018

    Following a politicized free speech debacle in the fall that drew much criticism, including a letter from FIRE, the University of Nebraska system has adopted a sweeping policy statement endorsing free expression. At the Board of Regents meeting last Thursday, the Regents approved a Commitment to Free Expression statement pledging the university to upholding the… Read more

  • FIRE’s response to Nebraska state senators

    December 19, 2017

    The University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been embroiled in a free speech controversy since late summer. In August, a video recording surfaced of a university employee telling student Kaitlyn Mullen her Turning Point USA recruitment table had to be moved to a campus “free speech zone” or police would be called. Now, three state senators have… Read more

  • FIRE asks University of Nebraska-Lincoln to reinstate graduate student

    December 11, 2017

    This past Friday, FIRE wrote a letter to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, asking UNL to allow a graduate student, Courtney Lawton, to resume teaching duties after her teaching duties were terminated following a campus protest. Members of the UNL chapter of Turning Point USA were recruiting for their group outside of the so-called “free speech… Read more

  • Nebraska President Releases Pro-Speech Statement on Husker Players’ Anthem Protest

    September 28, 2016

    University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds released a statement this morning expressing strong support for free speech amid criticism of three Husker football players who knelt during the national anthem at their game on Saturday. Citing both the First Amendment and a Nebraska Board of Regents policy that promises “the right to disagree, speak freely… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • 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… Read more