Victory for Free Speech at the University of Utah

February 20, 2008

The University of Utah—FIRE’s February 2008 Speech Code of the Month—has eliminated its unconstitutional speech code and now earns FIRE’s most favorable speech code rating, a "green light."

Less than a week after the policy was named Speech Code of the Month, administrators from the university’s Department of Housing and Residential Education contacted FIRE to let us know that the posting policy we highlighted was no longer the university’s practice and was being removed from the residence life handbook effective immediately. A new handbook has been posted online, and the offending policy is now gone.

The policy, which prohibited the posting of any material "deemed to be racist, sexist, indecent, scandalous, illegal, inciting, advertise alcohol or illegal substances, or in any way oppressive in nature," earned the university a poor, red-light rating on FIRE’s Spotlight. With that policy now off the books, FIRE has updated the University of Utah’s Spotlight entry to a green-light rating for having no policies that inhibit free expression.

FIRE is thrilled that the University of Utah has taken the steps necessary to ensure its students’ First Amendment rights. We hope that more universities will follow this example.