University of Utah

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit

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Speech Code Rating

University of Utah 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
  • HRE Rights & Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2019

    Sexual harassment includes verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a university activity.

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  • Office for Inclusive Excellence: Frequently Asked Questions

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: January 17, 2019

    What is a bias/hate incident?

    Bias or hate incidents consist of speech, conduct, or some other form of expression or action that is motivated wholly or in part by prejudice or bias. It may or may not rise to the level of criminal activity or illegal or prohibited discrimination, but its effect is to discriminate, demean, embarrass, assign stereotype, harass, or exclude individuals because of their membership in a classification, such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, language, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, age, veteran status, or religion.

    What are some examples of bias-related incidents?

    Examples of bias or hate-related incidents may be signified in act(s) of intolerance, such as defacement & vandalism, racial epithets written on someone’s dry-erase board, racially themed parties, threats, ridiculing a person’s language or accent, insulting a person’s traditional manner of dress, hate messages and symbols, language and imagery objectifying women, and other subtle (and extreme) examples of bias incidents. All incidents—regardless of severity—can be reported.

    What happens to my report after it is submitted?

    When you report a bias incident, the URISE committee, including the Director of Inclusive Excellence, will use the report to inform the University’s understanding of the campus climate so that we can better address issues of concern and provide appropriate education to the campus community. If you provide identifying information about yourself, we can also direct you to supportive resources on campus. If your report identifies conduct that is criminal in nature, or otherwise illegal, such as conduct that would constitute illegal discrimination or harassment, we will forward the report to the police and/or to the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action for follow-up.

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  • Office for Inclusive Excellence: Report a Bias Incident

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: January 17, 2019

    The Office for Inclusive Excellence utilizes the bias incident reports submitted through this website to assess campus climate and to better understand how to educate the University campus about bias incidents.

    What transpired during the incident? Please select all that apply.

    • Derogatory or degrading statements…
    • Projected assumptions of inferiority
    • Promulgated Stereotypes…
    • Singled out and asked to speak for an entire identity group and/or community…
    • Use of language and/or imagery objectifying women

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  • Policy 6-400: Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities- Standards of Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2019

    Physical or verbal assault, sexual harassment, hazing, threats, intimidation, coercion or any other behavior which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any member of the University community or any other person while on University premises, at University activities, or on premises over which the University has supervisory responsibility pursuant to state statute or local ordinance.

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  • Rule 1-012: Discrimination Complaint Rule

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2019

    Harassment means unwelcome or offensive conduct which has the purpose or effect of interfering with a person’s work or academic environment or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or otherwise adverse working or learning environment, when such conduct is based on or because of an individual’s membership in a protected class described in University Policy 1-012. Harassment is a form of Discrimination.

    Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature or based on an individual’s sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression when: … such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s employment or education or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University program or activity.

    The free and open discussion of issues or theories relating to sexuality or gender in an academic or professional setting, when appropriate to subject matter, will be presumed not to constitute Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment even if it offends or embarrasses an individual unless other factors are involved, such as targeting the discussion to an individual or carrying out the discussion in terms that are both patently unnecessary and gratuitously offensive.

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Green Light Policies
  • Policy 1-007: University Speech Policy

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: January 17, 2019

    Demonstrations and picketing on campus are legitimate means of expression. Anyone who wishes to engage in demonstrations and picketing shall be permitted to do so freely, as long as their conduct is not violent and does not unduly disrupt the functioning of the University or interfere with the rights of other members of the University community or damage University or private property. …

    Time, Place and Manner Restrictions:

    a. Picketing or demonstrating must be orderly at all times and must not jeopardize public order or safety.
    b. Picketing or demonstrating must not interfere with the entrances to buildings or the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
    c. Picketing or demonstrating must not interfere with organized meetings or other assemblies in such a way as to invade the rights of others to assemble and the rights of speakers to free expression.
    d. Picketing or demonstrating must not interfere with classes and teaching, the use of offices or research facilities, the privacy of University housing, or the special needs of the hospital, Health Service, and other University activities related to teaching or research.

    1. The University shall provide reasonably appropriate facilities in the area of the Union Plaza and adjoining lawns on the southwest side of the Union Building (bounded by the University Bookstore and Orson Spencer Hall) to enable speakers to address those wishing to listen. These facilities shall be available to any person, but members of the University community and their organizations shall have preference in the use of the facilities. Use of the facilities may be reserved through the Office of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designate for up to two hours for purposes of speaking. Members of the University community or their organizations reserving use of the facilities shall have preference in its use in the order of their application and over those seeking to use the facilities without reservation. Persons using the facilities may make use of tables and other temporary means for displaying or distributing information while the person or organization representing them is making use of the facilities. The tables or other temporary means for displaying or distributing information shall be removed upon the expiration of the time during which the facilities are being used by the person or organization.

    2. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as limiting the right of free speech elsewhere on the campus as provided by these regulations. The Office of the Dean of Students shall provide general notice of the existence of free speech facilities provided for in this section and the procedures for reserving use of the facilities.

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  • Policy 6-400: Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities- Student Bill of Rights

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 17, 2019

    Students have certain rights as members of the University community in addition to those constitutional and statutory rights and privileges inherent from the State of Utah and the United States of America. Nothing in this document shall be construed so as to limit or abridge students’ constitutional rights. … Students have a right to examine and communicate ideas by any lawful means. Students will not be subject to academic or behavioral sanctions because of their constitutionally protected exercise of freedom of association, assembly, expression and the press.

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  • Utah Public Colleges Changing how they Dispense Discipline for Sexual Assault

    July 15, 2016

    By Annie Knox, Benjamin Wood and Alex Stuckey at The Salt Lake Tribune Cedar City • At colleges and universities throughout Utah, school panels originally intended to address cheating or plagiarism act as judge and jury for students accused of sex offenses… Read more here.

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  • College Athletics Grabbed More Attention than Academics During Utah Legislative Session

    March 11, 2016

    By Annie Knox at The Salt Lake Tribune College sports outshined academics on Capitol Hill as lawmakers moved to scrutinize the University of Utah’s athletic department. Read more here.

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  • Utah students pull goodbye prank in campus paper

    May 9, 2010

    A prank literally spelled out in the University of Utah student newspaper has prompted administrators to put a hold on nine students’ transcripts. The seniors wrote goodbye columns for The Daily Utah Chronicle’s April 28 edition. The first letter of each column is in larger type; together, they spell out two words referring to genitalia. Editor Rachel Hanson, one of the nine seniors, said she’s concerned the administration’s response could violate freedom of the press. “It was childish and stupid, but it’s not a cause for institutional notice,” said Jim Fisher, an associate professor of communication and the paper’s faculty […]

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  • University of Utah seniors say goodbye with vulgar send off in the Chronicle

    May 6, 2010

    As a parting gift to the University of Utah, graduating senior writers at the student newspaper decided to leave with a vulgar word, or two. The starting letters of each of the nine veteran reporters’ and staff members’ editorials, including one written by editor-in-chief Rachel Hanson, spelled out coarse words for male and female reproductive organs in their final printed edition, which hit stands April 28. Since then, the stunt has gone viral, earning more than 8,400 votes on It has been shared on Facebook and Twitter at least 3,000 times. “It wasn’t meant to be obscene or pornographic,” […]

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  • Outgoing U. columnists in trouble over ‘hidden’ vulgarity

    May 6, 2010

    Administrators place hold on students’ transcripts following gag by Brian Maffly The Salt Lake Tribune   The University of Utah student newspaper has a 12-year tradition of hiding vulgar or racy phrases in copy of the year’s final edition, but this time it appears the pranksters did a poor job of concealing the offensive language. Virtually emblazoned across the tops of two editorial pages in the Daily Utah Chronicle ‘s April 28 edition are references to male and female body parts, prompting U. administrators to place holds on the transcripts of the nine columnists, all seniors hoping to graduate today. […]

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  • Censor’s playground

    February 29, 2008

    by Vincent Carroll Rocky Mountain News   Why can’t universities debate the limits of acceptable speech without someone urging legal limits, too? It happened again this week during protests over publication of an offensive column on Asians in the University of Colorado’s Campus Press. Student government leaders presented Boulder campus Chancellor Bud Peterson with five issues they’d like him to examine – one of which was as outrageous as the column itself. They want the commentary evaluated in light of federal anti-discrimination laws. “Yes, there’s the editor, officer, crouching behind the desk! Cuff her!” With thinking like that in vogue, […]

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  • Hey, University of Utah: ‘Hate Speech’ Is Free Speech, Too

    September 30, 2011

    I hate a bunch of things, such as brussels sprouts. I also hate certain actions, like murder. And while I respect the fundamental humanity of all persons, I have to admit that I also feel hatred for specific people who have done very bad things, like commit genocide in cold blood. The First Amendment leaves me free to hate all kinds of things and all kinds of people, for any reason or for no reason, and to tell others about it. I can even go up to someone and tell them I hate them, so long as I don’t say […]

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