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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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

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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 ….

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  • 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.

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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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