University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Type: Public
Thank University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill for its commitment to free speech.

Speech Code Rating

University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more

Due Process Rating

Sexual Misconduct

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Non-Sexual Misconduct

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Title IX

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Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 203 colleges ranked Read more
  • Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct Including Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2021

    a. Hostile Environment Harassment Unwelcome conduct based on Protected Status that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education, employment, or participation in a University program or activity, thereby creating an environment that a reasonable person in similar circumstances and... Read More
  • Facilities Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2021

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“University”) is a campus community in which the ideals of freedom of inquiry, thought, and expression are respected and sustained. The University is committed to supporting the exercise of protected expression in University-controlled Facilities while mai... Read More
  • The Policy on Prohibited Sexual Harassment Under Title IX

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2021

    Sexual Harassment (also Title IX Sexual Harassment): Conduct on the basis of Sex that satisfies one 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 a University education program or... Read More
  • Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2021

    Users may not store, display or disseminate unlawful communications of any kind, including but not limited to threats of violence, obscenity, child pornography, or other illegal communications. This provision applies to any electronic communication distributed or sent within University IT or to other networks while ... Read More
  • Freedom of Speech and Expression University Standard

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: July 20, 2021

    Students, staff, and faculty may assemble and engage in spontaneous expressive activity as along as such activity is lawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the University. A material and substantial disruption includes but is not limited to, any or all of the following: A. Any ac... Read More
  • Freedom of Speech and Expression University Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: July 20, 2021

    The University is committed to providing an inclusive and flourishing environment for free speech and expression consistent with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Section 14 of the North Carolina State Constitution. Read More

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.


Sexual Misconduct

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Non-Sexual Misconduct

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

Title IX

  • Meaningful presumption of innocence
  • Timely and adequate written notice
  • Time to prepare with evidence
  • Impartial fact-finders
  • Meaningful hearing process
  • Right to present to fact-finder
  • Right to meaningful cross-ex
  • Active participation of advisor
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Unanimity or clear and convincing evidence

FIRE surveyed roughly 44,000 students at 203 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. See the full report on FIRE’s 2022 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 61.72

Rankings / out of 203 colleges ranked

Overall Ranking 26
Openness 81
Tolerance (Liberals) 81
Tolerance (Conservatives) 75
Administrative Support 55
Comfort 101
Disruptive Conduct 148

Administrative Behavior

Supported Scholars 0.75
Sanctioned Scholars 1.5
Successful Disinvitations 0


Speech Climate ABOVE AVERAGE
Speech Code GREEN
  • UNC Chapel Hill student government commits to follow First Amendment after suggesting it wouldn’t fund pro-life student groups

    August 10, 2022

    After FIRE wrote to UNC Chapel Hill’s student government late last month about its repressive executive order cutting off a source of funding for pro-life student groups, both UNC’s general counsel and its student body president, Taliajah “Teddy” Vann, assured FIRE that student group funding will continue in a viewpoint-neutral manner consistent with the First… Read more

  • Repressive executive order from UNC Chapel Hill student government cuts off funding for pro-life individuals, causes

    July 28, 2022

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., July 28, 2022 — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill student government president issued an order this month cutting off executive branch funding “to any individual, business, or organization” that advocates for pro-life causes. Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression called on the UNC Chapel Hill student government… Read more

  • Nobody said defending free speech was easy

    July 22, 2022

    I was at my nannying job last summer when I got the Twitter notification: “UNC Board of Trustees Denies Tenure to 1619 Project Author Nikole Hannah-Jones.” It was the only time the three-year-old boy I cared for heard a curse word slip out of my mouth. During my first year at University of North Carolina… Read more

  • 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2022

    February 2, 2022

    There’s no shortage of colleges and universities that will go to great lengths to stifle free speech. Some institutions are worse than others, which is why each year for over a decade, FIRE compiles a list of the worst-of-the-worst. Since our first list in 2011, FIRE has named and shamed 80 institutions in 33 statesfor… Read more

  • Alumni Spotlight: UNC Free Speech Alliance

    January 11, 2022

    In 2021, we witnessed alumni rise up in defense of free speech on campuses across the country. Graduates from five colleges, ranging from small liberal arts institutions to the Ivies, joined together to form the Alumni Free Speech Alliance. This group of affiliated alumni organizations is dedicated to helping establish more independent alumni groups that… Read more

  • Members of Congress, foreign diplomat, and advocacy orgs pressure UNC to cancel course on Israeli-Palestinian conflict

    October 19, 2021

    Controversy over a course at the University of North Carolina has prompted two members of Congress, an Israeli diplomat, and The Zionist Organization of America to ask UNC to cancel the course. As a public university bound by the First Amendment, UNC must not submit to requests — even from powerful entities — to censor… Read more

  • FIRE urges transparency in Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure denial at University of North Carolina

    June 16, 2021

    Fallout continues at my alma mater, the University of North Carolina, where news broke last month that the board of trustees refused to approve the faculty’s recommendation to offer tenure to award-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of The New York Times’ 1619 Project. The controversy has dragged the campus community into a bitter dispute, pitting… Read more

  • FIRE statement on UNC trustees’ alleged nixing of tenure for ‘1619 Project’ creator

    May 19, 2021

    FIRE is investigating reports that the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Board of Trustees declined to follow through on a recommendation from the faculty and chancellor that journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, best known as the creator of The New York Times’ “1619 Project,” be granted a tenured appointment as the Knight Chair in Race and Investigative… Read more

  • New faculty-authored report evaluates culture of free expression at UNC Chapel Hill

    February 13, 2020

    For those interested in the growing body of research evaluating students’ perspectives on matters of free expression, a new report from an interdisciplinary team of professors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has made a valuable contribution to the dialogue. The report, by UNC professors Jennifer Larson, Mark McNeilly, and Timothy Ryan,… Read more

  • Duke-UNC Middle East studies program gets its funding, but concerns remain

    October 2, 2019

    Last month, the Department of Education announced a review of its “National Resource Center” grant to the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies (Duke-UNC CMES), arguing that the institutions had misspent their federal funding. (Per federal law, the grant must support certain academic purposes.) The review, which appears to have been precipitated by a federal… Read more

  • FIRE statement on Department of Education letter to Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies

    September 20, 2019

    The Department of Education’s review of the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies’ use of Title VI poses a threat to institutional academic freedom.  Per federal law, the Department of Education’s “National Resource Center” grant to the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies (Duke-UNC CMES) must be dedicated to certain academic purposes. The Department argues… Read more

  • Grave consequences: The need for independent counsel in higher education judicial systems

    July 1, 2019

    At the southern end of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a large brick and glass building houses the Office of Student and Academic Services. Its basement is home to Chapel Hill’s student-run honor system, which charges, investigates, adjudicates, and sentences students for everything from plagiarism to assault. At the head of the… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • FIRE interviews UNC faculty council committee member about new free speech statement

    April 27, 2018

    FIRE’s Mary Zoeller recently caught up with Lindsie Trego, a graduate student at  the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Media and UNC’s School of Law, to talk about her work as a member of the UNC faculty council’s communications working group. Last week, the faculty council voted to approve a policy… Read more

  • Faculty council at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill adopts ‘Chicago Statement’

    April 16, 2018

    The governing faculty body at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill voted last week to endorse a free speech policy statement based on the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” at the University of Chicago (better known as the “Chicago Statement”). In doing so, UNC – Chapel Hill joins 36 other… Read more

  • Announcing a weekly FIRE video series: FIREside Chats

    November 30, 2017

    We are excited to announce a new series of weekly video conversations with FIRE staff where we candidly discuss the top student and faculty rights stories of the day. In our first episode of FIREside Chats, Will Creeley moderates a discussion about the Anthony Scaramucci controversy at Tufts University with Brynne Madway and Adam Steinbaugh…. Read more

  • Undercover cop joined protests of Confederate statue on UNC campus

    November 8, 2017

    A University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill campus police officer went undercover in August to join a group protesting the removal of a Confederate statue, according to other protesters. That’s legal, but it’s bad for free speech. At the center of this conflict is Silent Sam, a statue erected in 1913 to honor UNC alums who… Read more

  • UNC Board of Governors to discuss system-wide free expression policy

    November 1, 2017

    Last August, FIRE reported on the passage of House Bill 527, North Carolina legislation aimed at improving free speech protections on public college campuses in the state. The law requires the Board of Governors of The University of North Carolina to develop a free expression policy that would cover all UNC campuses, a process the… Read more

  • Victory: Academic freedom for faculty preserved at UNC – Chapel Hill

    September 14, 2017

    University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill professor of history Jay Smith has been granted permission to teach his course, “Big-Time College Sports and the Rights of Athletes, 1956 to the Present” during the spring 2018 semester. This decision comes after he was initially denied permission to teach the class in November 2016 for vague… Read more

  • Threat to strip UNC law school center’s right to litigate draws objections over academic freedom and First Amendment [Updated]

    August 1, 2017

    Update 1:15pm: The motion to strip the Center for Civil Rights at the University of North Carolina law school of its ability to litigate cases has passed. Motion passes 5 to 1 with 1 abstention. Will go to full board at Sept 8 #UNCBOG for a full-body vote. — Sarah Leck (@Sarah_Leck) August 1, 2017 At a meeting… Read more

  • Flawed FERPA ruling stifles transparency in higher education

    May 23, 2017

    On May 3, the North Carolina Superior Court in Wake County ratified the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC’s) use of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to block its student newspaper’s request for public records under the North Carolina’s open records law. The court’s distorted interpretation of FERPA could severely… Read more

  • News Organizations Join Forces to Sue UNC For Access to Records

    November 30, 2016

    On November 21, The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), Capitol Broadcasting Company, The Charlotte Observer, and the Durham Herald Company (Plaintiffs) filed suit against UNC under the North Carolina Public Records Law after UNC refused to release records relating to sexual assault investigations. The… Read more

  • UNC Chapel Hill Apologizes After Campus Police Attempt to Remove Professor’s Sign

    August 13, 2015

    It shouldn’t need to be said that a campus police officer has no business demanding that a professor remove a sign from her window. It especially doesn’t need to be said that three campus police officers should not be doing so. However, that’s what happened at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which… Read more

  • FIRE’s Majeed: 2015 Already a Good Year for Speech Code Reform

    July 30, 2015

    Over at The Huffington Post today, my colleague Azhar Majeed takes an encouraging survey of the solid progress FIRE has already made in 2015 in reforming restrictive speech codes. Azhar reviews the four schools that have already earned FIRE’s best, most speech-friendly “green light” rating thus far in 2015—George Mason University, Purdue University, the University… Read more

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Earns FIRE’s Highest Rating for Free Speech

    July 7, 2015

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., July 7, 2015—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has eliminated all of its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). With assistance from FIRE in revising its policies, UNC joins a prestigious group of colleges and universities that have… Read more

  • University of North Carolina Votes to Remove Controversial Anti-Harassment Rule

    May 1, 2015

    Earlier this week, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Faculty Council voted to eliminate a university anti-harassment rule that’s been suspended since 2013. UNC’s Student Congress has also approved the change to this speech-restrictive policy, meaning that only UNC Chancellor Carol Folt is left to approve it. UNC law professor Richard Myers,… Read more

  • Questions Raised as UNC Board of Governors Considers Vote to Shut Down Academic Centers [UPDATED]

    February 27, 2015

    Today, the University of North Carolina (UNC) System’s Board of Governors could vote to shut down three academic centers housed at institutions within the system: the Center on Poverty, Work & Opportunity at the University of North Carolina School of Law; the Institute for Civic Engagement and Social Change at North Carolina Central University; and… Read more

  • FIRE’s Robert Shibley: UNC Doesn’t Need Another Restriction on Speech

    February 11, 2015

    FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley took to The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) yesterday to protest the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s consideration of a ban on the phone app Yik Yak, which allows users to share anonymous comments with those geographically close to them. As we’ve argued on The Torch before,… Read more

  • UNC, Halloween, and the ‘Professionalism’ Threat to the First Amendment

    October 31, 2014

    This being Halloween week, we’ve seen a few cautionary notices from universities warning of the potential for hurt feelings and emotional harm caused by culturally “insensitive” Halloween costumes. To cite one example, the University of Minnesota (UM) cautioned students to “keep in mind that certain Halloween costumes perpetuate racial, cultural, and gender stereotypes” and that… Read more

  • Catch FIRE President Greg Lukianoff in D.C., Chapel Hill, and Berkeley Next Week

    September 19, 2014

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be on the move next week as he travels from campus to campus to promote free speech and First Amendment rights at America’s colleges and universities. On Monday, Greg will be participating in the Fourth Annual President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge National Gathering on the campus of George… Read more

  • FIRE Welcomes David Deerson

    June 20, 2014

    FIRE is delighted to welcome David Deerson to our staff as a program associate for FIRE Campus Outreach! David joins the growing FIRE Student Network team as we gear up for our annual summer conference and make exciting outreach plans for this summer and for back-to-school season in the fall. David’s history with FIRE as a 2011 summer intern and an active participant of FIRE’s programs, along with his professional experience, make him a fantastic addition to our team as we work to expand our network of students, faculty, and alumni dedicated to defending civil liberties on their campuses.

  • College Risk Management Lawyers Call Out FIRE (Without Doing Their Homework)

    May 27, 2014

    The National Center for Higher Education Risk Management (NCHERM) is likely the most prominent risk management law firm in higher education. This afternoon, NCHERM issued “An Open Letter to Higher Education about Sexual Violence” (PDF). It’s a fascinating document about which you can be assured FIRE will have more later. However, one contention in the… Read more

  • UNC-Chapel Hill Investigates Allegedly Flawed Study on Student-Athlete Literacy

    January 21, 2014

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-Chapel Hill) has suspended researcher Mary Willingham’s study on literacy among student-athletes, which she says revealed that less than half of the athletes studied were able to read above an eighth-grade reading level. While the university alleges that there were problems with Willingham’s methodology and that she failed to follow certain… Read more

  • Media Continues to Report on FIRE’s ’10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’ List

    January 17, 2014

    In early January we reported on the coverage that FIRE’s list of 2013’s worst colleges for free speech received from various local media outlets. Over the past few weeks, the press has continued to draw attention to the nefarious reputation that these schools have developed for violating students’ and professors’ free speech rights. In North Carolina, which holds the… Read more

  • North Carolina Newspaper: Free Speech ‘Indispensable Ally’ of Tolerance

    January 6, 2014

    An eloquent editorial penned by the editors of North Carolina newspaper The Wilson Times takes the state’s public colleges and universities to task for failing to respect student free speech rights. The editors note that FIRE recently named two North Carolina institutions—Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—to our annual list of the nation’s… Read more

  • The 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2013

    December 27, 2013

    College is where inquisitive minds go to be exposed to new ways of thinking. But on some campuses, the quest for knowledge is frustrated when administrators censor speech they would prefer be kept out of the marketplace of ideas. To close out the year, we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) want to highlight… Read more

  • Please Explain Why Putting University Administrators in Charge of Judging Speech Is a Good Idea

    July 9, 2013

    My colleagues have done a thorough job of explaining why defenders of the Department of Education’s “blueprint” for preventing campus sexual harassment are on very shaky legal and logical ground. They have pointed out that some of ED’s allies have misquoted the findings letter and mocked Senator John McCain’s serious questions about the threat to… Read more

  • Campus Progress Emphasizes First Amendment Concerns in UNC Honor Code Case

    June 11, 2013

    Campus Progress’ Jenn Nowicki reported yesterday on the recently dismissed honor code charges against University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC­–CH) student Landen Gambill. Gambill was charged with "disruptive or intimidating behavior" after publicly criticizing UNC’s handling of sexual assault cases, including her own. In dismissing Gambill’s case, and all other pending cases brought under… Read more

  • Scandal Over Handling of Rape Charge Prompts UNC to Suspend Speech Code; FIRE Had Warned UNC that Rule Was Unconstitutional

    June 7, 2013

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., June 7, 2013—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has indefinitely suspended an unconstitutional speech code used against student Landen Gambill, who drew national attention for her public complaints about the university’s treatment of her sexual assault allegation against a fellow student. Due to the efforts of the Foundation for Individual… Read more

  • Letter to Editor on ‘National Failure of Student Discipline Codes’

    April 1, 2013

    Illustration of Justice Scales – Shutterstock In a powerfully written letter to the editor of The GW Hatchet, a student newspaper at George Washington University, attorney Shanlon Wu calls into question whether students can receive a fair and accurate result from university disciplinary processes. Wu, a litigator with the Washington, D.C., firm Wu, Grohovsky &… Read more

  • Controversy Grows over UNC’s Response to Sexual Assault Claim

    March 6, 2013

    The controversy surrounding the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC’s) response to a student’s allegation of sexual misconduct shows no signs of abating. In fact, it may just be getting started, as a new report from the Daily Tar Heel focusing on the accused student’s experience in UNC’s judicial system casts further doubt… Read more

  • FIRE in the News: Watch Clips of ‘Stossel,’ ‘Red Eye’ Featuring FIRE Cases!

    October 2, 2012

    It’s been a big television week for FIRE. Last Thursday, I appeared alongside Campus Freedom Network members David Deerson and Derek Spicer on an episode of the Fox Business Network show Stossel, filmed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). We had a great discussion of speech codes at UNC and civility… Read more

  • FIRE’s Shibley on ‘Stossel’ This Thursday

    September 24, 2012

    FIRE’s Robert Shibley was on campus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) last week for a taping of the Fox Business Network show Stossel, hosted by 19-time Emmy Award winner John Stossel. This week’s episode opens with civil liberties on college campuses, so FIRE supporters know that Robert, along with Campus… Read more

  • FIRE Senior VP at UNC Today for ‘Stossel’ Taping

    September 21, 2012

    Today, The Daily Tar Heel encouraged University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC) students to attend a taping of Stossel, John Stossel’s show on the FOX Business Network, which will be held on campus at 2 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Student Union, hosted by the UNC Young Americans for Liberty. FIRE… Read more

  • ‘Daily Tar Heel’ Editorial Board: Get Rid of UNC’s Speech Codes

    September 20, 2012

    Fresh off a campus visit from FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley, the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC) could use a little speech code reform to start off the school year. Recognizing as much is the Editorial Board of the UNC campus paper The Daily Tar Heel, in a stirring opinion piece… Read more

  • FIRE Speakers on Campuses for Constitution Day

    September 17, 2012

    What better way is there to celebrate Constitution Day than to go see a FIRE speaker? None, I say!  Today, Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Azhar Majeed will be at Indiana University-Bloomington to talk with Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). The YAL chapter is holding a free speech wall event, and Azhar will… Read more

  • ‘Inside Higher Ed’, KC Johnson on the University of North Carolina’s New ‘Two-tiered’ Disciplinary Procedures

    April 26, 2012

    Yesterday, Inside Higher Ed reported on the University of North Carolina’s recent decision to revoke its Student Honor Court’s power to adjudicate allegations of sexual misconduct. Inside Higher Ed‘s Allie Grasgreen writes:  The change, which some have sought for years, appears to be the most extensive yet in response to the "Dear Colleague" letter issued… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    February 7, 2012

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2012: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). For a number of years, UNC earned FIRE’s poorest, “red light” rating for maintaining restrictive speech codes. This rating was due in large part to a list of sexual harassment examples that included a great… Read more

  • Former FIRE Intern: UNC Should Not Be Comfortable With Unconstitutional Policies

    February 1, 2012

    David Deerson, a former FIRE intern and current University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill junior, penned an excellent letter to the editor published in today’s edition of The Daily Tar Heel. His letter responds to an article from Tuesday, which reported that UNC’s vice chancellor for student affairs Winston Crisp is comfortable with the… Read more

  • ‘Daily Tar Heel’ Article Shows that Free Speech Has a Long Way to Go at UNC

    January 30, 2012

    Fresh off reviewing our recently issued speech code report, the Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill (UNC) highlights the fact that UNC at present maintains three "yellow light" speech codes infringing upon students’ freedom of expression. These policies have no place at an institution like UNC that not only… Read more

  • Victory at University of North Carolina: Religious Student Group Free to Practice Its Beliefs

    October 14, 2011

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., October 14, 2011—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has cleared a Christian student group of any wrongdoing after it dismissed a student who felt that he could no longer adhere to the group’s religious beliefs. Yesterday, Christian a cappella student group Psalm 100 learned that UNC had determined that the… Read more

  • Will Threat of Legal Action Spur UNC to Restore Emeritus Professor’s Rights?

    September 20, 2011

    After months of discussion with little to show for it, Professor Emeritus Elliot Cramer plans to file an ethics complaint against University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) General Counsel Leslie C. Strohm, based in part on Strohm’s role in revoking his university email account and website. A lawsuit, Cramer says, is also imminent…. Read more

  • At University of North Carolina, Choral Group’s Vote Prompts Investigation–And Raises First Amendment Concerns

    September 2, 2011

    The Daily Tar Heel reports this week that the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has launched an investigation into the decision of a Christian a capella student group’s decision to expel one of its members. Daily Tar Heel reporter Paula Seligson writes: The University will investigate whether or not the Christian a… Read more

  • ‘Chronicle’ Article on Emeritus Faculty Highlights Case of Wronged UNC Professor

    August 15, 2011

    The Chronicle of Higher Education has published an interesting article on the vagaries of emeritus faculty status and what it means at various universities—i.e., whether it comes with perks or is merely symbolic. In part, the article focuses on recent controversial cases in which emeritus status was denied. In one case, law professor Robert Natelson… Read more

  • ‘Triangle Business Journal’ on UNC’s Revocation of Emeritus Professor’s Network Access

    July 1, 2011

    North Carolina’s Triangle Business Journal is the latest media outlet to report on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC’s) troubling action against Professor Emeritus Elliot Cramer when UNC succumbed to outside pressure to revoke Cramer’s university network access. The pressure had come from Joseph Villarosa, who has no affiliation with UNC but who drew UNC into his personal… Read more

  • FIRE’s Shibley Raps UNC’s Punishment of Emeritus Professor in ‘Herald-Sun’

    June 24, 2011

    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC’s) decision to revoke the network access of Professor Emeritus Elliot Cramer continues to draw headlines, most recently with today’s column in the Chapel Hill newspaper The Herald-Sun by FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley.  For those unfamiliar with the case, Cramer’s network access was revoked by UNC after… Read more

  • FIRE Corrects the Record on ‘Inside Higher Ed’ Reporting of UNC Case

    June 22, 2011

    Inside Higher Ed runs a story today on the case of Elliot Cramer, Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), whose UNC network privileges were terminated by the university as a result of Joseph Villarosa’s attempts to draw UNC into a private dispute between him and Cramer. (Villarosa is unaffiliated… Read more

  • UNC-Chapel Hill Surrenders to ‘Heckler’s Veto,’ Revokes Emeritus Professor’s Network Access

    June 21, 2011

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., June 21, 2011—The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has surrendered to the “heckler’s veto” by revoking Professor Emeritus Elliot Cramer’s network access following outside complaints about a link on his website to an organization that advocates for animal welfare. Despite telling the complaining individual that the dispute was “not a University… Read more

  • Resolutions to Protect Academic Freedom of Faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Delaware

    November 19, 2010

    Faculty bodies around the country have been enacting new academic freedom protections in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, about which we have written plenty here on The Torch. In a footnote in Garcetti, the Court reserved the question of whether professors at public universities have academic freedom to criticize university policies or even enjoy… Read more

  • FIRE’s Robert Shibley Takes on UNC Speech Codes in ‘Chapel Hill Herald’ Op-Ed

    October 18, 2010

    Sunday’s edition of the Chapel Hill (N.C.) Herald contained a sharp op-ed by FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley, who devoted his section of editorial real estate to an analysis of the problems presented by the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s (UNC’s) speech codes and an overview of the school’s recent history with free speech on… Read more

  • ‘The Daily Tar Heel’ on FIRE at UNC-Chapel Hill

    October 6, 2010

    I was privileged to be part of a panel discussion for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s First Amendment Day observance last Thursday. I joined Jenna Ashley Robinson of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and Stephanie Davis, president of UNC’s College Libertarians club, on a panel to discuss free speech at… Read more

  • FIRE, AAUP, and Thomas Jefferson Center File Brief with Fourth Circuit in Support of UNC Professor

    July 6, 2010

    On Friday, FIRE joined the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression in filing an amici curiae brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on behalf of University of North Carolina-Wilmington professor Mike Adams. The brief argues that the U.S…. Read more

  • One Year Later, Heckler’s Veto Shelved at University of North Carolina

    May 5, 2010

    North Carolina’s Pope Center for Higher Education Policy is reporting that a visit to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill by former congressman Tom Tancredo went off without incident late last month. Why is this noteworthy, you ask? Because the last time Tancredo visited UNC, his speech was disrupted and he was forced… Read more

  • Watch the Video of Greg’s UNC Speech

    November 19, 2009

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff has had a packed schedule of speeches this fall, having spoken at multiple campuses in Ohio, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington, DC. A video of his "Unlearning Liberty" speech given at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill is available below. The speech, given during UNC’s First Amendment Day, highlights some of… Read more

  • UNC Rejects the Heckler’s Veto

    April 24, 2009

    The First Amendment scored a victory this week at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill when UNC removed and arrested six hecklers who disrupted a campus speech by former Virginia congressman and illegal immigration opponent Virgil Goode. Goode was invited to speak on campus by a group called Youth for Western Civilization. Problems with disruptive… Read more

  • Editorial Board of UNC’s Daily Tar Heel: “Protect Free Speech”

    March 2, 2009

    The editorial board of the University of North Carolina’s student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel, has published a strong editorial today in defense of freedom of expression on campus. Writing in response to UNC President Erskine Bowles and the UNC Study Commission to Review Student Codes of Conduct as They Relate to Hate Crimes, the… Read more

  • FIRE Cautions University of North Carolina System against Implementing Hate Speech Policy

    February 16, 2009

    Today, FIRE sent a letter to University of North Carolina President Erskine Bowles and the UNC Study Commission to Review Student Codes of Conduct as They Relate to Hate Crimes arguing against the implementation of a system-wide hate speech code. Bowles formed the study commission following the discovery of racist comments painted in North Carolina… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • ‘UNC Chapel Hill Tries to Spin Away a Major Defeat’

    May 18, 2006

    The Clarion Call, the online newsletter of The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, has published an article Samantha and I wrote about UNC Chapel Hill’s anemic attempt to spin the dismissal of a Christian fraternity’s suit against them as a victory. Some of you may remember FIRE had not one but two… Read more

  • Laughable Spin at UNC

    May 5, 2006

    Check out David French’s post over at National Review’s Phi Beta Cons about the University of North Carolina’s lame attempt to spin its loss in a case involving a Christian fraternity’s right to free association into a vindication of what it had said all along. So I know not everyone in the world is a… Read more

  • Newspaper Theft at Troy University: Facebook Article Involved?

    February 15, 2006

    Today’s Inside Higher Ed features an article about an instance of illegal censorship at Troy University in Alabama, which holds the dubious distinction of being one of the targets of FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Project because of its unconstitutional speech code. The latest instance of censorship at Troy came last Thursday, when nearly 2,000 out… Read more

  • Liberty in the Balance in North Carolina

    February 1, 2006

    The number of battles FIRE has had to fight in North Carolina is staggering. Even before our recent (and victorious) headline-grabbing case at UNC Greensboro, we have defended embattled professors at UNC Wilmington, Shaw University, Forsyth Technical Community College, and Duke University; two Christian groups at UNC Chapel Hill; a student newspaper under attack at… Read more

  • The War on Christians (and Muslims)

    December 27, 2005

    There has been a lot of talk the past few months about the “war on Christmas,” by which people generally mean the replacement of the religious symbols and language of Christmas with secular language and symbols of the holidays. This is often extended into an argument that there is a growing cultural hostility to the… Read more

  • UNC Restores Tradition of Holiday Travesties

    December 15, 2005

    The holiday season is upon us again. Christmas trees, menorahs, and lights festoon homes and streets. Shoppers drive around mall parking lots in a desperate search through a sea of cars for a parking space. Holiday specials take to the airwaves. Americans numbering in the millions travel to visit far-away family members. And some students… Read more

  • Foggy Thinking about ‘Discrimination’ at UNC

    May 31, 2005

    In his column today, Mike Adams discusses a truly revealing exchange he had with the UNC-Wilmington student newspaper. As readers may know, UNC Chapel Hill has been at the center of a controversy because it wanted a Christian group to add language that to its constitution that said it would not “discriminate” against people who… Read more

  • Princeton Victory Covered by AP

    May 12, 2005

    Check out the short and sweet article by Associated Press writer Chris Newmarker about the Princeton religious liberty victory we announced yesterday. I was quoted: “We found Princeton’s quick and fair response very encouraging. We’ve found other colleges who haven’t been particularly fair to religious groups, sometimes in an unconstitutional way,” which captures what I… Read more

  • What Is Up with North Carolina?

    March 8, 2005

    The recent injunction against UNC is only the latest development in a state that seems downright uncomfortable with basic freedoms. As I have often said on Viewpoints, a radio show in North Carolina on which I have frequently been a guest, North Carolina is a place where students and faculty are punished in violation of… Read more

  • Here Comes the Judge: UNC Enjoined

    March 7, 2005

    Those familiar with FIRE’s work over the years will remember our nearly continuous battles with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill over its policies on student organizations, particularly religious groups. UNC’s assault on the freedom of association of religious groups has stretched from December 2002 all the way to the present time. Today’s… Read more

  • Victory for Freedom of Association at UNC-Chapel Hill

    March 7, 2005

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., March 7, 2005—Late last week, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s (UNC’s) attempt to prevent a Christian fraternity from choosing its members based on religious belief.  U.S. District Judge Frank W. Bullock of the Middle District of North Carolina found that UNC’s… Read more

  • Rhode Island College vs. Freedom—Again

    February 23, 2005

    FIRE unfortunately often deals with colleges and universities that repeatedly violate the fundamental rights of students or faculty members. The shining example of this is the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which keeps trampling on its students’ rights in almost the same way, confirming my suspicion as a Duke alumnus that UNC is… Read more

  • Good News for Religious Liberty

    February 17, 2005

    In a post Monday, I noted that oral arguments in Alpha Iota Omega v. Moeser were scheduled for yesterday. First reports out of Chapel Hill are extremely encouraging. The judge summarily denied the university’s motion to dismiss AIO’s complaint—thereby allowing the lawsuit to proceed—and he made some encouraging comments regarding the merits of AIO’s claims…. Read more

  • A Big Week for Religious Liberty

    February 14, 2005

    This Wednesday, a federal court in North Carolina will hear oral arguments in Alpha Iota Omega Christian Fraternity v. Moeser. For those who have just started following our work, the lawsuit, filed by the Alliance Defense Fund, challenges the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s decision to “derecognize” a Christian fraternity because the fraternity… Read more

  • Alpha Iota Omega Files Suit Against UNC-Chapel Hill

    August 25, 2004

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., August 25, 2004—A federal lawsuit was filed today against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) by Alpha Iota Omega (AIO), a Christian fraternity that was denied recognition by UNC because it would not agree to open its membership to students of different faiths. The Foundation for Individual Rights in… Read more

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Denies Recognition to Another Christian Group

    August 12, 2004

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., August 12, 2004—For the second time in less than two years, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) has denied recognition to a Christian group, claiming that the group’s desire to limit its membership to Christians constitutes “discrimination.” “A Christian group has a right to be Christian, a Muslim group… Read more

  • Victory for Religious Liberty at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

    January 1, 2003

    CHAPEL HILL, NC—The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) has reversed its threatened withdrawal of recognition and benefits from a student group, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). IVCF had been ordered not to use its religious beliefs as criteria for the selection of its own leaders. On December 30, 2002, the Foundation for Individual Rights… Read more

  • Letter from UNC Division of Student Afffairs Threatening ‘Derecogniton’ of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, December 10, 2002

    December 10, 2002

    Carolina Union A Department in the Division of Student Affairs December 10, 2002 Stephie Crowell IVCF – Off/Grantville 100 Dickens Court Apt. 6 Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27514 Dear Ms. Crowell: On September 19, 2002, your group submitted an application for official UNC-Chapel Hill recognition for the 2002-2003 school year. As part of that application,… Read more