University of North Carolina – Asheville

Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Tell University of North Carolina – Asheville to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of North Carolina – Asheville 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 here.

  • University of North Carolina System: State of the First Amendment

    January 10, 2006

    FIRE teamed up with the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy to release the Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System. The Report notes that UNC System’s many speech codes and illiberal restrictions on religious groups would likely not survive a legal challenge. It also reveals that “13 out of the 16 schools in the UNC System have at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Outdoor Area and Exterior Space Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: June 25, 2018

    Persons shall not engage in unlawful speech or conduct, such as threatening, abusive or harassing speech or conduct toward or directed at other persons.

    Assemblies with an expected attendance of more than 25 people must be reported no less than 48 hours in advance to the University police.

    University groups may conduct activities and assemblies without prior approval at any exterior campus location provided the assembly/activity aligns with the requirements in section III above and the space is not required to be reserved.

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  • Resident Student Handbook: Community Creed

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience
    Last updated: June 25, 2018

    The University of North Carolina at Asheville is a community of scholars dedicated to personal and academic excellence and growth. In joining this learning community, I commit to a code of civilized behavior.
    I will practice personal ethics and academic integrity
    I will honor the dignity of all persons
    I will respect the rights of others
    I will promote and practice inclusion and actively engage in learning about other cultures
    I will actively show concern for others, their feelings, and their need for conditions, which support their work and
    Allegiance to these ideals requires me to demonstrate behaviors that foster and support the freedom and respect of every individual in my community

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  • Sexual Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 25, 2018

    Environmental Sexual Harassment – Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute “environmental sexual harassment” when such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment which unreasonably interferes with another’s work, academic performance or privacy.  Environmental harassment can inflict emotional and psychological harm on individuals and can make relationships and the work or study environment unpleasant, threatening and unproductive.  However, there is no requirement that evidence of actual emotional or physiological harm be shown in order for environmental sexual harassment to be found to have occurred.

    In determining whether alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment as defined in the policy, the record as a whole will be considered as well as the context in which the conduct occurred.  “Environmental sexual harassment” normally arises from a repeated or pervasive course of conduct, whereas “bargained-for sexual harassment” can be based on a single act.


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  • Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT)

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: June 25, 2018

    What Does BIRT Do?

    We assist students who report bias incidents. Our primary function is to support students who report bias incidents. We support them by listening to their accounts of their experiences and discussing resources and both formal and informal options for moving forward. The student is in charge of the process, and we will not take any action that is not authorized by the student. Students can make reports whether or not they want to take action.

    We keep annual statistical records of bias incidents on campus. At the end of each year we compile a statistical summary of the reports received during the year.

    Provide skills to empower students to use grassroots methods such as bystander intervention to assist building an inclusive campus environment.

    We promote conversation about diversity issues. We also meet with student groups to engage in or moderate discussions about diversity on our campus.

    What Does BIRT Not Do?

    We aren’t a judicial or disciplinary body. We do not decide guilt or innocence and do not mete out punishment. We play no part in disciplinary proceedings.

    We aren’t an investigative team. We don’t go on fact-finding missions. We take reports about bias incidents and, if the student wants to, we discuss options for how the student might move forward. If the student opts to file a formal report and initiate campus disciplinary proceedings, then an investigation will be carried out through that process, which is overseen by Citizenship Education, not BIRT.

    We aren’t a crisis response team. Anyone in a dangerous situation (e.g., a violent or potentially violent situation) needs to contact Public Safety immediately. If the situation involves a bias incident, we can take a report at a later time.

    We aren’t the thought police or speech police. We don’t tell people what to think or how to talk.  We do support the students whose ability to feel safe, at home, and welcome in our community is frustrated by the bias around them.

    What is a Bias Complaint?

    An act of bigotry, harassment or intimidation – verbal, written or physical – which is personally directed against or targets a University of North Carolina – Asheville student because of that student’s race, age, color, disability, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, religion, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or veteran status.

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  • Electronic Harassment, Threats, Stalking, and Similar Activities

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 25, 2018

    A. Users may not use electronic communications to harass, stalk, or threaten others, or in similar ways create an atmosphere which unreasonably interferes with the education or employment experience.

    B. This would include, but not be limited to, posting, transmitting, or originating any unlawful, threatening, abusive, hostile, fraudulent or defamatory communication, or any communication where the message, or its transmission or distribution, would constitute or would encourage conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any local, state, national, or international law or violate other policies, rules and regulations of the University. Information that is defamatory is defined as provably false, unprivileged statements that do demonstrated injury to an individual’s or a business’s reputation.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: June 25, 2018

    No student may be denied the protection of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Article I of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, which refer to freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and freedom to assemble peacefully.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Community Standards- Specific Student Community Standards

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 25, 2018

    Unlawful harassment includes conduct that creates a hostile environment by meeting the following criteria:
    It is:
    a. directed toward a particular person or persons:
    b. based upon the person’s race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender-identity, creed, disability or veteran status;
    c. unwelcome;
    d. severe or pervasive;
    e. objectively offensive;
    f. so unreasonably interferes with the target person’s employment, academic pursuits, or participation in University-sponsored activities as to effectively deny equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities

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At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • REPORT: North Carolina is home to some of America’s best colleges for free speech

    September 24, 2018

    Eight colleges in North Carolina earn FIRE’s highest rating for free speech — more than in any other state — but 17 still maintain policies that substantially restrict student expression. PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 24, 2018 — A new report finds that North Carolina’s colleges and universities lead the way nationally for protecting student free speech. The Tar Heel State is home to eight of only 42 institutions nationwide that earn the highest, “green light” speech code rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Do North Carolina Students Have Freedom of Speech?, released by FIRE and the James G. Martin […]

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  • New Book Takes Thorough Look at College Due Process Problems

    January 31, 2017

    Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson and journalist Stuart Taylor, Jr. cover an impressive amount of ground in their new book, The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities. Readers who are less familiar with the problem of colleges and universities trampling on students’ due process rights—particularly in the context of sexual misconduct adjudications—will find a helpful and thorough history of the expansion of Title IX over the years. Readers who can already rattle off a list of cases in which campus hearings were fundamentally unfair will likely encounter horror stories that are new even to them. […]

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  • The Problematic State of Free Speech at North Carolina Universities

    July 29, 2016

    There should be no place safer for free speech and academic freedom than a public university. After all, as state agents, they are legally—and morally—bound to respect their students’ constitutional rights. So why have many of the public universities in my home state of North Carolina egregiously violated the rights of their students? Why does Duke University, the private institution I attend, uphold the values of “freedom of inquiry and the free exchange of ideas,” while many of its nearby public counterparts fail to do so despite identical obligations? With the exception of Duke University and the University of North […]

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  • Nearly Three Years Later, Significant Improvement at North Carolina’s Public Universities

    September 22, 2008

    In January 2006, FIRE and the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy released a Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System. The report took an in-depth look at the speech codes in force at each of the sixteen universities in the UNC System and made detailed recommendations for how those codes could be improved. At the time, 13 of the 16 schools in the system received a “red-light” rating from FIRE for maintaining policies that clearly and substantially restricted students’ right to freedom of speech. Happily, a number of the […]

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