University of Texas at Austin

Location: Austin, Texas
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

University of Texas at Austin has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more
  • Information Security Office: Acceptable Use Policy for University Students

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    5. REQUIREMENTS: … Be civil. Do not send rude or harassing correspondence. … What are the consequences for violating the rules listed in Section V of this document? Punishment for infractions includes, but is not limited to: Verbal warnings Revocation of access privileges Disciplinary probation Suspensio... Read More
  • University Catalog: Appendix D- POLICY ON SEX DISCRIMINATION, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL ASSAULT, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT, INTERPERSONAL VIOLENCE, AND STALKING

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that can occur when … unwelcome physical acts of a sexual nature, or unwelcome requests for sexual favors or other verbal conduct of a sexual nature, that have the effect of creating an objectively host... Read More
  • Handbook of Operating Procedures 3-3020: Nondiscrimination Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    Harassment: As a form of discrimination is defined as verbal or physical conduct that is directed at an individual or group because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, citizenship, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression w... Read More
  • Campus Climate Response Team

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    Do you know of a student organization hosting a party with a racist theme? Have you seen derogatory graffiti on bathroom walls and buildings regarding sexual orientation or gender identity and expression? Have you overheard malicious threats intended to intimidate another person because of their religion? Are you wo... Read More
  • Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities: Chapter 11- Student Discipline and Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    Notwithstanding any action taken on account of the violation by civil authorities or agencies charged with the enforcement of criminal laws, the dean of students may initiate disciplinary proceedings under subchapter 11–500 against a student who … otherwise engages in the following acts of inappropriate conduc... Read More
  • Residence Hall Manual: Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    Members of an educational community should adhere to standards of civility and good taste that reflect mutual respect. A respectful environment is free of harassment, violence, and verbal abuse. It is the policy of the University to maintain an educational environment free from harassment and intimidation. In an eff... Read More
  • Residence Hall Manual: Incivility

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    Students are expected to behave in a civil manner that is respectful of their community and does not disrupt academic or residential activity. Uncivil behaviors and language that interfere with the privacy, health, welfare, individuality, or safety of other persons are not permitted. Read More
  • Residence Hall Manual: Cyber-Stalking and Bullying

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    Using electronic media, such as the internet, email, or other electronic communications devices, to repeatedly threaten or harass another person is a crime. Cyber-stalking is similar to physical stalking in that the stalker’s intended purpose is to exert or maintain control over their victim. In many cases, the pers... Read More
  • Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities: Chapter 13- Speech, Expression, and Assembly

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    The freedoms of speech, expression, and assembly are fundamental rights of all persons and are central to the mission of the University. Students, faculty members, and staff members have the right to assemble, to speak, and to attempt to attract the attention of others, and corresponding rights to hear the speech of... Read More
  • Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities: Chapter 11- Student Discipline and Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    [H]arassment is defined as conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent to create an objectively hostile environment that interferes with or diminishes the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by the University. Read More
  • Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities: Chapter 13- Speech, Expression, and Assembly

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: March 6, 2019

    Subchapter 13–900. Public Assemblies without Amplified Sound Sec. 13–901. General Rule on Public Assemblies a. “Publicly assemble” and “public assembly” include any gathering of persons, including discussions, rallies, and demonstrations. The rules in subchapter 13–800 apply to any use of amplified sound at a public... Read More
  • University of Texas at Austin student government urges official adoption of ‘Chicago Statement’

    February 22, 2019

    Earlier this week, the student government at the University of Texas at Austin approved a resolution endorsing the body’s “support of free speech and free expression rights of all students.” The resolution urges the university administration to adopt the “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression” at the University of Chicago (the “Chicago Statement”),… Read more

  • A Longhorn’s lessons in free speech

    August 7, 2018

    If the eyes are the windows to the soul, creativity is the key that unlocks the front door. As college students, we’re pushed to our limits in academic and extracurricular commitments alike; we are no strangers to stress. And sometimes, we’re left with only one option: to develop creative solutions to our problems. But what… Read more

  • University of Texas objects to own courtroom stance on academic freedom

    July 23, 2018

    The University of Texas at Austin is the second school in recent months to argue in court that its own institutional academic freedom supersedes that of its faculty. It’s a stance at odds not only with long-recognized principles of academic freedom, but also with — according to university officials — the university itself. Back in… Read more

  • FIRE Q&A: ‘Hero in a hijab,’ Amina Amdeen

    February 1, 2017

    The media dubbed University of Texas at Austin sophomore Amina Amdeen the “Hero in a Hijab” for physically shielding a Donald Trump supporter from attacks at a post-election “Love Trumps Hate” rally at the Texas Capitol on November 13. The Austin American-Statesman, Amdeen’s hometown paper, reported that the 19-year-old Amdeen wedged herself between 6-foot-6-inch, 350-pound… Read more

  • ‘Affirmative Action Bake Sale’ Disrupted at UT Austin

    November 4, 2016

    Everyone loves a good bake sale, right? Well, apparently not. Last week, the University of Texas at Austin chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas held an “affirmative action bake sale,” where the prices of the baked goods varied depending on the racial identity of the purchaser. The event, which was designed to critique affirmative action… Read more

  • Universities Give Students Frightening Halloween Assignment: Pick a Costume

    October 31, 2016

    Is your “exhausted undergrad” costume ready for tonight’s festivities? That might be one of the frighteningly few outfit choices remaining if you attend a university expecting you to avoid “cultural appropriation” this year. And beware: The rules are petrifyingly hard to follow. While institutions are well within their rights to suggest costume considerations to their… Read more

  • Texas Students, FIRE’s Joe Cohn is Coming to a Campus Near You

    October 6, 2014

    Yeehaw! Joe Cohn, FIRE’s Legislative and Policy Director, will be traveling across the Lone Star State for a rootin’ tootin’ Texan campus tour. Students and faculty at or near the University of Houston, University of Texas at San Antonio, University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University at San Marcos, and Texas A&M are invited… Read more

  • Victory for Student Rights: UT Austin Restores Transparency in Funding Student Organizations

    May 19, 2014

    The assessment of mandatory student fees for the purpose of supporting a variety of student organizations and programming is commonplace at public universities. Distribution of these funds is often placed in the hands of students themselves, with the understanding—reinforced by multiple Supreme Court decisions—that this process must be content- and viewpoint-neutral. In the absence of transparency, however, the fair allocation of student fee funds can be threatened—as was until recently the case at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). Fortunately, in response to concerns raised by FIRE, UT is taking steps to ensure transparency is restored and funds are distributed even-handedly.

  • Threat of Honor Code Charges Causes Texas Student Group to Cancel Event

    November 21, 2013

    On Monday, the University of Texas-Austin (UT-Austin) chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) announced that it would host a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” event on Wednesday, during which volunteers for the group would wear a label stating “illegal immigrant,” and other students would have the opportunity to “capture” them for a $25 gift card bounty…. Read more

  • University of Texas Police Arrest Man for Standing Around Talking about Politics

    August 11, 2010

    President Obama was at the University of Texas at Austin on Monday to give a speech and, as expected, the Presidential visit drew the usual complement of protesters and political activists. Among them was John Bush, the executive director of a group called Texans for Accountable Government, along with several others. A video has been posted… Read more

  • Victory for Freedom of Expression: University of Texas Permanently Suspends Window Posting Ban

    July 30, 2009

    Torch readers may remember that last fall, in the midst of the election season, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) threatened to punish two students if they did not remove political campaign signs that they had placed in their dormitory room window. Thankfully, after national media attention, the university came to its senses quickly and suspended its rule banning signs in students’… Read more

  • In Texas, First Amendment Imperiled in 2008

    January 1, 2009

    I’m not sure what happened down in Texas in 2008, but administrators at several schools have been unusually cowardly about even the slightest challenges to their ideas of good order on campus. During the election season there was the Great Non-Riot of 2008 at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), where two students faced… Read more

  • Repression of Political Speech and Activity Abounds on College Campuses in 2008

    December 24, 2008

    In an election year when the presidential race between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain dominated much of the country’s attention and media headlines, college and university campuses were certainly not immune to election fever. University students and faculty across the nation joined in the multitude of voices advocating for, criticizing, protesting, and otherwise commenting… Read more

  • Breaking News: UT–Austin Suspends Rule on Political Signs

    October 9, 2008

    Less than two hours ago, Will Creeley blogged about the University of Texas at Austin’s ban on political signs in dorm room windows, calling it "a silly, if not necessarily unconstitutional, ban on student expression in dorm windows and on dorm doors." Two students, Connor and Blake Kincaid, were to be punished for refusing to… Read more

  • Political Censorship at UT–Austin

    October 9, 2008

    Late yesterday afternoon, in a brazen act of censorship on campus, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) ruled against two students who have refused to remove political signs posted on their dormitory door and window, according to a report from The Daily Texan this morning. Connor Kincaid and Blake Kincaid reportedly had until 7… Read more

  • Student Paper at University of Texas at Austin Seeks Relief from Prior Review

    December 15, 2006

    Last week, the Student Press Law Center reported that the Texas Student Publications Board has removed the requirement of official prior review from its agreement with The Daily Texan, the University of Texas at Austin student paper and one of the only major college papers still subject to prior review. The new contract has been… Read more