Location: Boone, North Carolina
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit
Appalachian State University 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.
March 16, 2012
In March 2012, tenured professor Jammie Price was placed on administrative leave after students alleged that she had created a hostile environment and strayed from the syllabus in her introductory sociology class. The allegations included making negative comments about the university and its student athletes and showing a documentary on pornography. Although what is known about her pedagogy is likely protected under the canons of academic freedom and does not appear to constitute actionable harassment, App State found her guilty and sentenced her to a development plan featuring “corrective actions” that encroached on her academic freedom, such as unique requirements […]» Read More
April 5, 2006
With FIRE’s assistance, student activists at Appalachian State University have brought down an unconstitutional speech code. This welcome development was a direct result of a report by FIRE and the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, as well as the efforts of the Appalachian State ACLU.» Read More
January 10, 2006
FIRE teamed up with the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy to release the Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System. The Report notes that UNC System’s many speech codes and illiberal restrictions on religious groups would likely not survive a legal challenge. It also reveals that “13 out of the 16 schools in the UNC System have at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”» Read More
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementDifferent types of behaviors--verbal, non-verbal, gestures and physical contact--can create a hostile environment. Some behaviors that might constitute a hostile working, learning and/or living environment are:
* showing demeaning photos, calendars, cartoons, or graphic content in a non-artistic work area where it is reasonably expected that co-workers could view them
* persistently telling offensive stories or jokes that stereotype members on the basis of a protected category ....
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementEngaging in unwelcome and unsolicited speech or conduct based upon race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, political affiliation, veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity and expression that creates a hostile environment or circumstances involving quid pro quo.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, StatementHarassment of other users may be the sending of unwanted messages or files. Violations include, but are not limited to:
* interfering with the legitimate work of another user;
* the sending of abusive or obscene messages via computers;
* the use of computer resources to engage in abuse of computer personnel or other users.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementHostile Environment
is one that both a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive and one that the particular person who is the object of the harassment perceives to be hostile or abusive. Hostile environment is determined by looking at all of the circumstances, including the frequency of the allegedly harassing conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, and whether the conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, academic advancement, participation in extracurricular activities or access to University services. In some cases, a single incident may constitute harassment.
Examples of conduct that could create or contribute to hostile environment harassment may include:
Unwelcome jokes about disability, race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.
Offensive or degrading physical contact or coercive behavior, including stroking, patting or similar physical contact.
Pictures, posters, graffiti or written materials displayed in a workplace or classroom which are offensive or obscene.
Exclusion of individuals from meetings or University activities due to their religious beliefs or other protected class status.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementEngaging in unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with, denies, or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program or activities, and is based on circumstances involving quid pro quo sexual harassment, the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation. Examples include, but are not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; sexually-based stalking or bullying; and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature (e.g., any act of sexual misconduct as defined in this Code).
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, Statement
Any individual or group, whether affiliated with the University or not, may distribute at any open, exterior campus space, the use of which is not otherwise restricted or scheduled under this Policy, without registration or advance approval, any written materials on the condition that such materials are informational and not for commercial purposes.
January 7, 2014
by Jane Stancill Universities love to tout college rankings, but here’s a top-ten list that two North Carolina campuses won’t like. A group that advocates for basic liberties in higher education has picked two UNC-system campuses for its 2013 “10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, put Appalachian State University and UNC-Chapel Hill on its list of campuses that ran afoul of speech freedoms last year. The advocacy group cited the two universities for specific cases that made headlines. At Appalachian State, trustees denied an appeal of a sociology professor, Jammie Price, […]» Read More
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Pens Letter to ASU Board of Trustees in Support of Prof. Jamie Price
March 28, 2013
March 28, 2013. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has written to the ASU Board of Trustees in support of sociology professor Jammie Price. Last year, Price was suspended from teaching without a hearing on the basis of in-class comments and the screening of a documentary that critically examines the adult film industry. You can find FIRE’s latest recap of the case at this link. FIRE letter to Appalachian State University Board of Trustees Chair Michael A. Steinback, March 19, 2013 March 19, 2013 Michael A. SteinbackChair, Board of TrusteesAppalachian State University54 Cedar Hill DriveAsheville, North Carolina 28803 Sent Via U.S. Mail and […]» Read More
April 23, 2012
Drawing attention to a blurry line between scholarship and obscenity (and questions about scholarship about obscenity), two professors have been criticized in recent weeks for showing videos that some considered pornographic. Most agree that sexually explicit materials, including videos, can be academically relevant in sociology, gender studies and human sexuality courses, among others. But questions arise when instructors show those videos without first alerting those students and when students complain to administrators about the content. Jammie Price, a tenured professor of sociology at Appalachian State University, was suspended last month after showing a documentary about pornography in her introductory sociology […]» Read More
February 5, 2008
What do Sanford Mall, Duck Pond Field, Durham Park and the open-air amphitheater outside Plemmons Student Union have in common? They are currently the four locations where students can enjoy unscheduled protests on Appalachian State University’s campus. The SGA Senate voted at its Jan. 29 meeting in favor of new legislation that would revise the current policy to make the entire campus a place of free speech. The legislation was introduced by Senate member and junior criminal justice major Graham P. Shaw. “I read a lot of articles by Mike Adams, a professor at [the University of North Carolina at […]» Read More
February 26, 2007
by Mike Adams Townhall.com When one embarks upon a mission to eliminate speech codes from college campuses it’s tough to know where to start. Some codes ban speech that is merely “offensive.” Some ban speech that is “maligning.” Others ban speech that “challenges.” Imagine a college that guarantees a four year education without any fear of being challenged. It’s as easy as imagining a worthless college education. Whatever the reasons, it was just over a year ago today that we agreed to target the speech code at Appalachian State University. The “we” began as a joint effort between the […]» Read More
April 13, 2006
Thanks to efforts by national and campus organizations, Appalachian State University’s Housing & Residence Life department has removed an unconstitutional section from its harassment policy. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy mentioned the policy in question in their “Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System,” published in January. The policy stated, “harassment or the use of abusive language, insults, taunts or challenges directed toward another person are prohibited.” According to the report, “this policy is unconstitutionally overbroad.” After reading the report, […]» Read More
March 3, 2014
Students and FIRE supporters in the Boone, North Carolina, area are invited to hear FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley speak at Appalachian State University (ASU) tonight at 7 p.m. in the Beacon Heights of Plemmons Student Union.» Read More
January 6, 2014
An eloquent editorial penned by the editors of North Carolina newspaper The Wilson Times takes the state’s public colleges and universities to task for failing to respect student free speech rights. The editors note that FIRE recently named two North Carolina institutions—Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—to our annual list of the nation’s “Worst Colleges for Free Speech.” The editors point out that, unfortunately, these two schools aren’t outliers: Five North Carolina colleges earn “red light” rankings in FIRE’s Spotlight database for maintaining policies that clearly and substantially restrict protected expression on campus. Calling on the state’s colleges and universities […]» Read More
December 27, 2013
College is where inquisitive minds go to be exposed to new ways of thinking. But on some campuses, the quest for knowledge is frustrated when administrators censor speech they would prefer be kept out of the marketplace of ideas. To close out the year, we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) want to highlight some of the worst colleges for free speech since March 2012—the last time we published this list. (Our first list, from 2011, is here.) Most of the schools we include in this year’s list are public colleges or universities bound by the First Amendment. But some of […]» Read More
July 26, 2013
Madeline Gootman is a FIRE summer intern. As most of my friends will tell you, I am an outspoken young woman when it comes to matters of sexuality and sexual health. I recently joined the Vanderbilt Peer Sex Educators, an organization of students formed to increase the campus dialogue surrounding sexual health. In addition to my extracurriculars surrounding sexuality (I also work at the Women’s Center on campus), I am majoring in Women and Gender Studies. After hearing about my very feminist list of extracurriculars, a reasonable person might assume that I would not have a problem with the May 9 […]» Read More
July 9, 2013
Architect Rolls and Plans - Shutterstock My colleagues have done a thorough job of explaining why defenders of the Department of Education’s “blueprint” for preventing campus sexual harassment are on very shaky legal and logical ground. They have pointed out that some of ED’s allies have misquoted the findings letter and mocked Senator John McCain’s serious questions about the threat to free speech and about OCR’s authority to impose this blueprint. Other defenders of the blueprint have brushed away concerns by portraying its definition of sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature” as simply a way of encouraging reporting. […]» Read More
April 23, 2013
There’s an old saying FIRE recycles on occasion to mark the end of a university president’s tenure when that tenure has been marred by a disregard for campus free speech: The bell tolls for [insert name of president here]—not the Liberty Bell! It’s been a long time since we dusted off that FIRE favorite, but the time is ripe to break it out again to commemorate the resignation of Appalachian State University Chancellor Kenneth Peacock (who will stay on until a successor is named). The academic freedom case of sociology professor Jammie Price explains why. As we’ve chronicled, Price was […]» Read More
March 26, 2013
Appalachian State University Sign – Photo via Appstate.edu The Appalachian, the student paper at Appalachian State University, reports that yesterday the university’s Faculty Senate passed motions voting “no confidence” in Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Gonzalez and Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs Anthony Carey. According to The Appalachian, “[t]he motions were brought about by a petition received by the Faculty Senate Executive Board March 4, according to the agenda summary of the March 25 Faculty Senate meeting.” Gonzalez and Carey both figured prominently in App State’s wrongful sanctions against tenured sociology professor Jammie Price, who was removed from teaching without […]» Read More
March 25, 2013
Appalachian State University Campus. Wikimedia Commons. Last week, FIRE sent a letter to Appalachian State University’s (App State’s) Board of Trustees supporting the grievance of tenured sociology professor Jammie Price, who in 2012 was wrongly suspended without due process and ordered to complete a “professional development plan” that violated her academic freedom. FIRE has followed Price’s case since it became public and first expressed our concerns over Price’s treatment to App State Chancellor Kenneth A. Peacock in May 2012. Media attention for Price’s case has been widespread. The Chronicle of Higher Education has covered it repeatedly. So has Inside Higher […]» Read More
December 3, 2012
Last week, The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill covered a case of interest both locally to North Carolina residents and to those around the country who care about academic freedom: that of tenured professor Jammie Price at Appalachian State University (ASU). Price was placed on administrative leave last spring after students alleged that she created a hostile environment and strayed from the syllabus while teaching her introductory sociology class. Despite the fact that her pedagogy seems to be protected under the canons of academic freedom and does not appear to constitute actionable harassment, […]» Read More
February 14, 2012
Writing for the Watauga Democrat of Boone, North Carolina, Anna Oakes picks up on FIRE’s recent speech code report, Spotlight on Speech Codes 2012: The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses, and highlights the “red light” rating that Appalachian State University (ASU) receives for maintaining an unconstitutional harassment policy. (ASU additionally maintains three “yellow light” policies.) Oakes’ article notes that ASU’s red light policy lists, as examples of actionable harassment, such protected speech as “commenting inappropriately on someone’s appearance,” “sexual innuendoes & comments,” and “imposing religious beliefs on others,” among others. One can imagine a wide swath of […]» Read More
September 8, 2009
As The Appalachian, a student newspaper at Appalachian State University (ASU), reported last week, the Appalachian State chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has successfully intervened on behalf of students whose speech was threatened by ASU’s trademarking and licensing policy, resulting in changes to the policy to make it more compatible with principles of free speech and fair use. ASU student groups and university departments are, in most cases, required to ask for approval from ASU’s Office of Trademarks and Licensing when producing materials using ASU’s logos or variations of the university’s name. According to the ACLU, however, […]» Read More
April 5, 2006
At FIRE, we stand ready and willing to help students whose expressive rights have been violated by their universities. Another key part of our mission, however, is to provide students with tools they can use to stand up for their own rights. Our Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System provided such a tool to graduate student Paul Funderburk, president of the ACLU of Appalachian State University. After the Report publicized Appalachian State’s unconstitutional harassment policy, Funderburk took action. He met with administrators and urged them to repeal the policy, which prohibited […]» Read More
April 5, 2006
BOONE, N.C., April 5, 2006—With the assistance of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), student activists at Appalachian State University (App State) have brought down an unconstitutional speech code. This welcome development was a direct result of a recent report by FIRE and the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, as well as the efforts of the App State ACLU. “Our Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System showed that universities like App State have a lot of work to do,” said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “But every […]» Read More