University of Northern Colorado

Location: Greeley, Colorado
Website: http://www.unco.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Northern Colorado 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Board of Trustees Policy Manual: Sexual Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 15, 2016

    Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive employment or educational environment.

    » Read More

  • Residence Handbook: Bias Motivated Incidents

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: January 14, 2016

    The policy prohibits any action that is motivated by bias. Actions that are motivated by bias include any act, display or communication by which the actor intends or threatens to intimate [sic] or harass another person, including disrupting normal University activities or a student’s focus on academic or other legitimate University pursuits, or to damage the property of another person, because of that person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation.

    » Read More

  • Residence Handbook: Noisy, Disorderly, or Disruptive Behaviors

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: January 14, 2016

    Disruptive behavior may include: disorderly, indecent, or obscene conduct or expression; hygiene concerns; voyeuristic behavior; emotional outbursts; and/or reckless behavior.

    » Read More

  • Student Code of Conduct: Prohibited Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 14, 2016

    Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person, including one’s self.

    Harassment, which consists of any verbal, visual, written or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it adversely affects, or has the purpose or logical consequence of interfering with any student’s educational program or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment within the University community.

    » Read More

  • Dean of Students Office: Bias Response

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: January 14, 2016

    Bias Related Behavior includes any verbal, nonverbal or written behavior toward an individual or group based upon actual or perceived identity characteristics including, but not limited to:

    • race and/or color
    • religion, faith and/or spirituality
    • national origin
    • sexual orientation
    • ethnicity
    • gender
    • socio economic status / social class
    • pregnancy
    • marital status
    • gender identity and/or expression
    • sex
    • group affiliation
    • language
    • political affiliation
    • cognitive, physical and/or developmental ability
    • immigration status
    • military and/or veteran status
    • age
    • size and/or shape

    Bias Related Behavior may cause psychological, emotional, spiritual, and/or physical impact not only to those who experience the incident, but also to members of the group and/or community to which they belong.

    Bias Related Behavior can be intentional or unintentional, and may or may not require legal action.

    Goals of the BRP

    • Provide support to individuals and/or groups impacted by bias-related behavior
    • Engage individuals and groups impacted by bias related behavior in educational conversation and dialogue around bias-related behavior, and concepts of privilege and oppression as it relates to the social construction of identity and marginalization and/or minoritization of specific individuals and/or groups
    • Establish a campus presence to increase institutional awareness of bias-related incidents impacting the UNC community
    • Create campus partnerships that ensure the quality and sustainability of the Bias Response Process

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • UNC Computer, Internet & Electronic Communications Procedures

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 15, 2016

    Unacceptable uses that are prohibited include, but are not limited to the following: … Unlawful communications, including threats of violence, obscenity, child pornography and harassing communications … The intentional propagation of computer “worms”, “viruses”, activities that place undue stress on resources such as ending chain letters, “spam” or widespread dissemination of unsolicited email and letter bombs or the resending of the same email repeatedly to one or more recipients ….

    » Read More

  • Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Resources: Definitions

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 14, 2016

    Sexual Harassment

    Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, limiting or denying someone the ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program. The unwelcome behavior may be based on power differentials, the creation of a hostile environment or retaliation.

    • Hostile Environment

      Unwelcome sexual conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or employment and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive. The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all of the circumstances. These circumstances could include the frequency of the conduct, its severity, and whether it is threatening or humiliating.

    » Read More


  • Experts: University of Northern Colorado in the Right on Trump Visit

    November 5, 2016

    By Tyler Silvy at The Greeley Tribune A dozen students met with University of Northern Colorado President Kay Norton on Monday demanding to know why UNC would allow Donald Trump to host a rally at the campus this past Sunday… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • UVM Prof: Bias Response Team Threatens Free Speech on Campus

    September 14, 2016

    By Molly Walsh at Seven Days A University of Vermont professor has waded into the national debate about academic free speech and political correctness with a broadside against the UVM team charged with investigating bias, discrimination and harassment on campus… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Colleges Unconvincingly Portray their Bias Response Teams as ‘Educational,’ not Punitive

    September 13, 2016

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Whenever you see a college justify a particular administrative response as “educational,” your BS detector should go off… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Defending BARTs

    September 12, 2016

    By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed The University of Northern Colorado announced last week that it is abandoning its team dedicated to investigating incidents of bias on campus after faculty members raised concerns that the team was compromising their academic freedom. Instead, the university will handle bias incidents through other existing university divisions… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • EXCLUSIVE: Emails Show University Scrambling to Contain Damage Amid Backlash Over Censorship

    August 4, 2016

    By Jillian Kay Melchior at Heatstreet In June, Heat Street wrote a series of stories about the Bias Response Team at the University of Northern Colorado and its efforts to clamp down on debates inside and outside the classroom that it believed could make students feel uncomfortable. The school was trying to shield students from discussions about current issues like transgender people. It was also instructing students, via posters put up around the campus, to avoid seemingly innocuous words and phrases like “crazy” or “hey guys” that it believed could “trigger” other students… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Bias Response Team does not Enforce ‘PC Culture,’ Says Student Who Works Alongside it

    July 21, 2016

    By Stephen Bates at The College Fix A University of Northern Colorado student who works closely with its Bias Response Team believes the team’s work is widely misunderstood… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Incoming University of Northern Colorado Professor Left Former Job Amid Sexual Harassment Investigation

    July 10, 2016

    By Tyler Silvy at The Tribune Marcus Embry is the chairman of the English department at UNC. In his office last week, he sorted through the investigative report from South Florida… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • UNC Prof Shares Tale of Censorship by Bias Response Team

    July 6, 2016

    By Anthony Gockowski at Campus Reform A former University of Northern Colorado professor is accusing the school’s administration of violating his academic freedom following the release of a private conversation he had with the Bias Response Team… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Campus Opinion Police

    July 5, 2016

    By Staff at The Tribune-Review The latest low point in higher education comes from the University of Northern Colorado, where the campus Bias Response Team came down on two professors for merely suggesting supposedly controversial viewpoints to students… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • UNC’s Weak-Kneed Commitment to Free Speech

    July 5, 2016

    By Staff at The Denver Post Higher education’s commitment to free speech is often sadly fragile these days, and the latest evidence unfortunately comes from the University of Northern Colorado… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • U. of Northern Colorado Admits Bias-Response Team Violated Free Speech

    July 1, 2016

    By Gabriel Sandoval at The Chronicle of Higher Education The University of Northern Colorado’s president has acknowledged that campus officials made mistakes after two state senators criticized the actions of the institution’s bias-response team, which handles bias-related incidents, according to The Tribune, in Greeley, Colo… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Sen. John Cooke Rips University of Northern Colorado in Scathing Letter

    June 30, 2016

    By Tyler Silvy at The Tribune Criticism from two Colorado state senators following reports that the University of Northern Colorado censored professors and censured students has President Kay Norton admitting UNC has gone too far in regulating speech… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Colorado School Dials Back ‘Bias Response Team’ Amid Censorship Complaints

    June 27, 2016

    By Jillian Kay Melchior at Fox News After Heat Street reported earlier this month on how the University of Northern Colorado’s Bias Response Team policed speech on campus and in the classroom, a university spokesperson has told the local newspaper “there are some pieces that we can do better next time.”… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • University of Northern Colorado’s Speech Regulations Slammed by Complaints

    June 27, 2016

    By DonDon Navidad at University Herald  University of Northern Colorado is being slammed with a pile of complaints after the institution created a Bias Response Team to take part with behavior considered to be offensive, which include issues involving sexual orientation, religion, race and national origin. Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Complaints Pile up Over UNC Speech Regulations

    June 26, 2016

    By Staff at Coloradoan GREELEY – Complaints are continuing to pile up after the University of Northern Colorado created a Bias Response Team to deal with behavior deemed to be offensive, including issues involving race, religion, national origin and sexual orientation… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • University of Northern Colorado’s Handling of Speech Deemed Offensive Raises Questions, Concerns

    June 25, 2016

    By Tyler Silvy at The Tribune From censuring students to censoring professors, officials at the University of Northern Colorado have spent the past year regulating speech on their campus in a way First Amendment advocates say should raise serious questions… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Professors Investigated for Presenting Opposing Viewpoints

    June 22, 2016

    By Ashe Schow at Washington Examiner Two professors at the University of Northern Colorado were investigated after students complained that they were forced to hear opposing viewpoints… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Saying ‘On the Other Hand’ Got a Student Reported to the Campus Bias Police

    June 22, 2016

    By Robby Soave at Reason At Colby College, a student informed the campus’s Bias Incident Prevention and Response Team that someone had carved a swastika into a pumpkin… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • The Rise of Microaggression Reporting Systems

    June 22, 2016

    By Chris Bodenner at The Atlantic In our cover story last summer on the strengthening PC movements on college campuses, Haidt and Lukianoff noted an attempt by one student group to bureaucratize and punish certain kinds of speech:… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Professor Investigated by Bias Response Team for Playing ‘Devil’s Advocate’ in Class

    June 22, 2016

    By Staff at The College Fix Teach your students that multiple viewpoints exist and you might be investigated by the bias squad in the bloated, top-heavy administrative apparatus of your public university… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Muzzled Professors: An Inside Look at How One College Lets Students Censor Classroom Debate

    June 19, 2016

    By Jillian Kay Melchior at Heatstreet For many students and professors, one of the great appeals of college life is being exposed to new and different ways of thinking. But that age-old process is now under threat at schools around the country. Take the University of Northern Colorado… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Rise of Bias Response Teams at University of Northern Colorado, Across Country Signals Shift in how Universities Deal With Inclusion

    April 25, 2016

    By Tyler Silvy at The Tribune As racial justice and other protests have spread on university campuses across the United States, administrators have learned it’s not enough to say, “We’re listening.”… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • “Bias Response Team” at UNC: Bias Can Mean ‘Any Behavior’

    April 25, 2016

    By Rebecca Downs at Red Alert Politics A “Bias Response Team” (BRT) at the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) has targeted unpopular speech in a way that verges on the unconstitutional. The team follows a troubling pattern of similar teams on other campuses. During the 2014-2015 school year, there were a total of 44 bias-related incidents reported… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Good Citizens Are ‘Inclusive’ and Take Shorter Showers, Colleges Say

    April 27, 2015

    By Ashley Thorne at The Federalist Are you a good citizen? If so, what do you do that makes you one? At many colleges and universities, good citizenship is now understood as requiring a personal commitment to “sustainability.” Last fall, I traveled out west to visit universities the National Association of Scholars is studying for a project looking at civics education in colleges. “Civics” isn’t what it used to be: the study of how our system of self-government works. Instead the term has been appropriated by colleges that want citizens to repair “growing global economic inequalities, climate change and environmental […]

    » Read More
  • The Joke Ban

    January 28, 2010

    The University of Northern Colorado (UNCO) has decided it’s time to prohibit “Bias Motivated Incidents.” When you hear about a “bias motivated incident,” maybe you’re thinking about a cross burning, or something of that nature. But at UNCO the “bias motivated incident” could simply be an “inappropriate joke” that is motivated by some form of bias. The UNCO policy also says that “Any discriminatory act is a violation of the Housing & Residence Life Student Code of Conduct.” Well, what do they mean by “any discriminatory act”? According to the UNCO handbook this includes, but is not limited to, “racism, […]

    » Read More
  • University of Northern Colorado to End ‘Bias Response Team,’ But What Next?

    September 9, 2016

    Over the summer, the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) came under fire after public records requests revealed that its “Bias Response Team” (BRT) had repeatedly intervened to direct faculty members to cease discussing controversial topics in order to avoid offending students. Now, as the Greeley Tribune reports, UNC President Kay Norton is pledging to shutter the BRT in a speech invoking the need to protect academic freedom and freedom of expression, joining a chorus of other institutions recently committing to protecting freedom of speech on campus.   In her annual “State of the University” address Wednesday, Norton laid out a […]

    » Read More
  • University of Northern Colorado Defends, Modifies ‘Bias Response Team’ as Criticism Mounts and Recording Emerges

    July 7, 2016

    Last month, documents provided in response to a public records request by Heat Street suggested that the University of Northern Colorado (UNC)’s “Bias Response Team” improperly intervened to instruct professors to avoid controversial subjects. Those records have spurred letters of inquiry from two state senators; a condemnation from the Denver Post editorial board; and concessions from a UNC administrator that the Bias Response Team’s efforts may have, in some cases, been improper. Now, just as UNC’s president defends the Bias Response Team’s purpose, one of the professors reported to the Bias Response Team has come forward with a recording of […]

    » Read More
  • Facing More Troubling Details and Public Outcry, Northern Colorado Vows to Reconsider Bias Response Team

    June 27, 2016

    Criticism of University of Northern Colorado’s (UNC’s) Bias Response Team (BRT) is growing amid revelations the school asked professors to avoid teaching controversial subjects for fear of offending students. Now, UNC has vowed to reevaluate the BRT in light of new evidence that its investigations into “‘offensive,’ ‘triggering’ or ‘harmful’” campus speech extended outside the classroom, into students’ dorm rooms and beyond. UNC’s Dean of Students, Katrina Rodriguez, told The Greeley Tribune that she’s transitioning away from overseeing the BRT, but she admitted there was room for improvement in the way the team addressed complaints. She said UNC officials are trying to […]

    » Read More
  • Professor Investigated for Discussing Conflicting Viewpoints, ‘The Coddling of The American Mind’

    June 20, 2016

    The University of Northern Colorado (UNC) appears to have investigated two professors for asking students to simply consider all sides of the debate over today’s most controversial political and social issues. The investigations were prompted by student complaints made through UNC’s “Bias Response” system, which encourages students to file online reports of any “offensive classroom environment” to administrators, who may then intervene with the theoretically offending faculty. The Bias Response Team’s reports are troubling—both in sheer quantity, and substance. According to UNC documents obtained by Heat Street under Colorado’s Open Records Act, a professor asked his students to read The […]

    » Read More
  • Speech Code of the Month for January 2010: the University of Northern Colorado

    January 8, 2010

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for January 2010: the University of Northern Colorado. The University of Northern Colorado’s (UNCO’s) Residence Handbook prohibits “Bias Motivated Incidents,” which include any “inappropriate jokes” that are motivated by bias. The policy also provides that Any discriminatory act is a violation of the Housing & Residence Life Student Code of Conduct, including, but not limited to racism, ageism, sexism, and/or homophobia. This includes intentionally, recklessly or negligently causing physical, emotional, or mental harm to any person. (Emphasis added.) It is a fundamental legal—and moral—principle that laws must “give a person of ordinary […]

    » Read More