7 Cheryl K. Acton
8 Steve R. Christiansen
9 Timothy D. Hawkes
10 Marsha Judkins
A. Cory Maloy
Candice B. Pierucci
Travis M. Seegmiller
Mark A. Strong
Norman K. Thurston
Ryan D. Wilcox
12 LONG TITLE
13 General Description:
14 This bill enacts provisions related to discriminatory harassment and expression at an
15 institution of higher education.
16 Highlighted Provisions:
17 This bill:
18 ▸ defines terms;
19 ▸ enacts provisions related to discriminatory harassment at an institution of higher
20 education, including provisions that:
21 • prohibit an institution from sanctioning or disciplining certain acts of speech
22 that do not constitute discriminatory harassment; and
23 • create a cause of action for the attorney general related to discriminatory
24 harassment at an institution of higher education; and
25 ▸ enacts provisions related to the free expression of policies of an institution of higher
27 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
29 Other Special Clauses:
31 Utah Code Sections Affected:
33 53B-27-401, Utah Code Annotated 1953
34 53B-27-402, Utah Code Annotated 1953
35 53B-27-403, Utah Code Annotated 1953
36 53B-27-404, Utah Code Annotated 1953
37 53B-27-501, Utah Code Annotated 1953
39 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
40 Section 1. Section 53B-27-401 is enacted to read:
42 53B-27-401. Definitions.
43 As used in this part:
44 (1) "Discriminatory harassment" means student-on-student speech that:
45 (a) is unwelcome;
46 (b) discriminates on the basis of a classification protected under federal or state law;
48 (c) is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and
49 distracts from a student's educational experience, that the student is effectively denied access to
50 an institution's resource or opportunity.
51 (2) "Student" means an individual enrolled at an institution.
52 (3) (a) "Student-on-student speech" means verbal, written, or other communication that
54 (i) communicated by a student; and
55 (ii) directed at another student.
56 (b) "Student-on-student speech" does not include an act of physical contact between a
57 student and another student.
58 Section 2. Section 53B-27-402 is enacted to read:
59 53B-27-402. Institution duties.
60 (1) An institution is in violation of this part if the institution:
61 (a) gains actual knowledge of discriminatory harassment in the institution's program or
62 activity; and
63 (b) acts with deliberate indifference to the discriminatory harassment.
64 (2) (a) An institution may not sanction or discipline, as discriminatory harassment,
65 student-on-student speech that does not constitute discriminatory harassment.
66 (b) An institution is not liable under this part for failing to sanction or discipline a
67 student who communicates student-on-student speech that is not discriminatory harassment.
68 (3) Nothing in this part prevents an institution from sanctioning or disciplining
69 student-on-student speech that is otherwise not protected under the First Amendment to the
70 United States Constitution.
71 (4) Nothing in this part prevents an institution from responding to student-on-student
72 speech that is not discriminatory harassment by taking nonpunitive actions designed to promote
73 a welcoming, inclusive environment.
74 (5) Nothing in this part prevents an institution from maintaining policies prohibiting
75 stalking or other criminal activity.
76 Section 3. Section 53B-27-403 is enacted to read:
77 53B-27-403. Cause of action.
78 The attorney general may bring an action to enjoin a violation of this part, in a state
79 court of competent jurisdiction, against an institution or an institution's agent acting in the
80 agent's official capacity.
81 Section 4. Section 53B-27-404 is enacted to read:
82 53B-27-404. Statute of limitations.
83 (1) Except as provided in Subsection (3)(b), the attorney general may not bring an
84 action under this part later than one year after the day on which the cause of action accrues.
85 (2) For an action alleging a violation of Subsection 53B-27-402(2)(a), the cause of
86 action accrues on the day on which the student receives final notice, from the institution, of
87 sanction or discipline that violates Subsection 53B-27-402(2)(a).
88 (3) (a) For an action alleging a violation of Subsection 53B-27-402(1), the cause of
89 action accrues on the day on which the institution gains knowledge of the discriminatory
91 (b) For an action described in Subsection (3)(a), the limitation described in Subsection
92 (1) extends to one year after the day on which the most recent known act of discriminatory
93 harassment, involving the same parties as a prior known act of discriminatory harassment,
95 Section 5. Section 53B-27-501 is enacted to read:
97 53B-27-501. Free expression policies.
98 (1) As used in this section, "free expression policy" means an institution's policy,
99 regulation, or other expectation related to student expression.
100 (2) An institution shall:
101 (a) publish the institution's free expression policies:
102 (i) in the institution's student handbook; and
103 (ii) on the institution's website;
104 (b) include information about the institution's free expression policies in an orientation
105 program for students enrolled in the institution; and
106 (c) develop a program, procedures, and materials to ensure that an individual who has
107 responsibility for the discipline or education of a student at the institution understands the
108 institution's free expression policies.
109 (3) An individual described in Subsection (2)(c) includes an institution:
110 (a) administrator;
111 (b) campus police officer;
112 (c) residence life official; and
113 (d) faculty member.
114 (4) An institution shall ensure that a free expression policy is consistent with the
115 provisions of this chapter.