University of Pittsburgh

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

University of Pittsburgh 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

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
  • Policy AO 10: Computer Access and Use- Appropriate Use of University Computer Services

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: October 12, 2021

    The following are considered improper use of University owned computing equipment, networks, services, and resources: … Using electronic media to harass or threaten other persons, or to display, design, copy, store, draw, print, or publish obscene language or graphics. Read More
  • Policy CS 20: Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 12, 2021

    Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome verbal or non-verbal sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal, virtual or physical conduct of a sexual nature and/or conduct directed at an individual(s) because of gender or gender stereotypes or identity when: … c. Such conduct is severe or perva... Read More
  • The Pitt Promise: A Commitment to Civility

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience
    Last updated: October 12, 2021

    The University of Pittsburgh is committed to the advancement of learning and service to society. This is best accomplished in an atmosphere of mutual respect and civility, self-restraint, concern for others, and academic integrity. By choosing to join this community, I accept the obligation to live by these common v... Read More
  • Student Code of Conduct: Violations of the Student Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 12, 2021

    A Violation is committed when a Student or a Registered Student Organization: … Harassment. Harassment may occur through verbal, physical, or electronic means when: 1. The conduct is severe or pervasive and objectively and subjectively has the effect of: a. Unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or... Read More
  • Policy CS 27: Title IX

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 12, 2021

    Sexual Harassment: Conduct on the basis of sex occurring in the United States and occurring in or related to a University Education Program or Activity that satisfies one or more of the following: … Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that i... Read More
  • Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Make a Report

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: October 12, 2021

    Pitt is committed to maintaining an environment free from unlawful harassment and discrimination, and your reports of bias incidents enable the University to assess the campus climate and promptly respond to incidents. Bias incidents are actions committed against a person or group that are motivated, in whole or in ... Read More
  • Student Code of Conduct: Student Rights Within the University Community

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: October 12, 2021

    With the approval of the Board of Trustees, the University affirms the following Student rights and privileges: To engage in discussion, to make inquiries, to exchange thought and opinion, to publish and exchange findings and recommendations, to speak, write, or print freely on any subject, and to sponsor speakers o... 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 81/154
Ideological Diversity 93/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 59.42
Openness 10.18
Tolerance (Liberals) 10.76
Tolerance (Conservatives) 7.02
Administrative Support 5.89
Comfort 15.67
Disruptive Conduct 9.89
Speech Code YELLOW
  • University of Pittsburgh: Punishment of Cardiology Professor for Academic Research Paper

    January 12, 2021

    In August 2020, the University of Pittsburgh revoked Associate Professor of Medicine Norman C. Wang’s teaching privileges following criticism of his paper, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, concerning demographics in the cardiology profession. On January 12, 2021, FIRE wrote to Pitt calling for it to rescind Wang’s punishment, explaining that Pitt,… Read more

  • Pennsylvania House of Representatives Select Committee on Student Academic Freedom

    September 19, 2005

    The Pennsylvania House of Representatives brought together a committee to examine allegations that Pennsylvania’s public universities were plagued by liberal ideology and indoctrination. David A. French, at the time president of FIRE, served as a legal adviser to the panel. FIRE released FIRE Report on the First Amendment Responsibilities of Pennsylvania State-Funded Colleges and Universities,… Read more

  • Pitt’s punishment of professor over ‘deep disagreement’ with academic paper merits judicial intervention

    January 12, 2021

    It’s not too often that FIRE comes across a public university — bound by the First Amendment — that puts in writing that it is motivated to discipline a faculty member merely because it disagrees with their opinions. But at the University of Pittsburgh, the administration made it crystal clear to a professor that his… Read more

  • What Donald Trump Taught Me About Incivility

    July 19, 2016

    Do the words “Donald Trump” and “civility” belong in the same sentence? Regardless of your feelings about the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, it seems safe to say that Trump has not made the topic of civility a cornerstone of his campaign. Quite to the contrary, I’ve seen firsthand the incivility a Trump appearance can provoke—from… Read more

  • The Pitt Promise: A Commitment to Civility over Constitutionality

    July 23, 2014

    One needs only to flip five pages into the University of Pittsburgh’s Student Code of Conduct and Judicial Procedures to find “The Pitt Promise: A Commitment to Civility” (the “Pitt Promise,” or “the Promise”)—a list of pedagogical principles and values to which students are expected to adhere. In principle, the pledge is morally sound and perhaps desirable, but, as FIRE has explained, mandating civility clauses infringes on students’ First Amendment rights. As a current student at the University of Pittsburgh, a public institution of higher education that is bound by the Constitution, it concerns me that the university has enacted a policy that so clearly infringes on its students’ rights.

  • Introducing FIRE Summer Intern Zoe Kuenstler

    June 16, 2014

    Zoe Kuenstler is a rising senior at the University of Pittsburgh, studying the Arabic language and majoring in anthropology and economics. Zoe’s main extracurricular activities include serving on the executive board of the co-ed national honors fraternity Phi Sigma Pi as external secretary and acting as project manager for the Pittsburgh chapter of Students Consulting for Non-Profit… Read more

  • Universities Must Not Intrude Upon Freedom of Conscience in ‘Values’ Statements

    January 16, 2014

    This winter, FIRE is running a series of blog posts about what makes a “green light” policy. So far, we have examined how universities can craft policies on harassment, civility, and computer usage that achieve their aims while still respecting students’ right to freedom of speech. Today we are going to talk about policies that infringe on students’ right to… Read more

  • The Problem with Mandating Civility

    October 11, 2012

    FIRE is often referred to as a "watchdog" organization, and that is indeed an important part of what we do. But those who follow our work know that we also love to reward schools for upholding students’ free speech rights. That is why when a university earns a "green light" rating—a distinction currently awarded to… Read more

  • Practical Advice for Fraternities Caught in the Battle for Free Speech on Campus

    September 16, 2004

    I. Introduction While there is no shortage of free speech battles on college campuses, fraternities have the dubious honor of being at the center of many of the least sympathetic controversies. From Halloween parties where brothers show up dressed as Ku Klux Klan members to fraternity newsletters that graphically relate a brother’s sexual exploits with… Read more