Location: Pasadena, California
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit
California Institute of Technology 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 here.
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
Some examples of inappropriate use are: … sending a communication or using electronic information resources, including webpages, to discriminate against or illegally harass, defame, offend, or threaten individuals or organizations, or to engage in other illegal conduct or conduct that violates Institute policy.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
An action that places an unreasonable emotional burden on another person results in taking unfair advantage of that person. Actions which degrade an individual or group, promulgate damaging rumors, or place someone in a situation where he or she feels threatened, harassed, or victimized may also unfairly disadvantage members of the community.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Harassment is the creation of a hostile or intimidating environment in which inappropriate conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere significantly with an individual’s work or education, or
affect adversely an individual’s living conditions.
Behavior evidently intended to dishonor such characteristics as race, gender, gender expression or identity, national origin or ethnic group, religious belief, sexual orientation, age, or disability is contrary to the pursuit of inquiry and education and may be discriminatory harassment violative of law. Some examples of incidents that may constitute unlawful harassment are … A student tells a racially offensive joke within a study group session with other students.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Some examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment are: …
• Making sexual gestures, or displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons, posters, calendars, or computer screens.
* Making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, or jokes of a sexual nature.
* Verbal sexual advances or propositions.
* Using Caltech resources (including electronic resources) or time to create or obtain sexually explicit materials that are not directly related to legitimate business of Caltech.
* Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, graphic comments about an individual’s body, sexually degrading words used to describe an individual, suggestive or obscene letters, notes, electronic mail messages, or invitations.
Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience
* We acknowledge that a multitude of perspectives is essential to all we do. As a community, we understand that civility and mutual respect for diversity of background, race, ethnicity, sex, gender, gender identity, socioeconomic status, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, age, disability, and marital and family status, are critical.
* We are dedicated to creating and sustaining an environment in which such diversity will flourish.
All who work, live, study, and teach at Caltech are here by choice; implicit is a respect for these principles which are an integral part of our mission.
January 7, 2011
Free speech is not safe at California colleges—not by a long shot. That’s what investigative reporter Erica Perez found in FIRE’s 2011 speech code report, as she wrote yesterday for California Watch: A new report from a national free speech advocacy organization found most of the four-year universities it surveyed had speech codes that substantially limit students’ freedom of speech, including dozens of colleges in California. […] Of the 33 California universities the organization rated, 64 percent got a red light, including San Diego State University, UC Santa Cruz and Claremont McKenna College. About 36 percent got a yellow light, including UC Berkeley, Occidental College and San Jose State University. […]» Read More
May 27, 2009
Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at California Institute of Technology (Caltech), which FIRE has given a red-light rating for maintaining policies that clearly and substantially restrict free expression on campus. Although Caltech is private, California has a law applying the First Amendment to private, secular colleges and universities. California’s “Leonard Law” (California Education Code § 94367, named for its author, former California State Senator Bill Leonard) provides that “No private postsecondary educational […]» Read More