Location: New Britain, Connecticut
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit
Central Connecticut State University 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.
September 20, 2007
FIRE fought Central Connecticut State University’s (CCSU) urging the creation of “oversight boards” to “look further into making substantive, constructive changes” to the CCSU student paper, the Recorder, and suggesting the possibility of instituting a mandatory “cultural awareness” requirement after the Recorder published a cartoon that offended some members of the campus community. FIRE wrote CCSU president John W. Miller to remind him of his constitutional obligation to uphold freedom of the press and therefore cease unconstitutional university actions resulting from the cartoon’s publishing.» Read More
SECTION 4. DEFINITION OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
“Any unwelcome sexual advance or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when … (3) such conduct has the purpose or affect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.”
The law currently recognizes two forms of sexual harassment: …
2. Hostile Environment
a. Such contact affects or interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic or working environment. Hostile environment sexual harassment involves speech or conduct that is directed at someone because of their gender and/or is conduct of a sexual nature. Such speech or conduct includes but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct or a sexual nature.
b. Such speech or conduct is reasonably regarded as offensive and substantially impairs the academic or work opportunity of students, colleagues or co-workers. This policy shall not be interpreted so as to constitute interference with academic freedom.
3. Gender Harassment
a. Gender harassment is a form of sexual harassment, which consists of discriminatory behavior towards an individual based on gender. It includes the use of sexist language, illustrations, examples and gestures that demonstrate discriminatory behavior. Sexually related conduct forms the basis of a sexual harassment claim if a reasonable person of the same gender would consider the actions sufficient to interfere unreasonably with the academic and/or employment performance of the Complainant.
While it is not possible to list all conduct which may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness. Examples of sexual harassment may include but is not limited to:
1. Direct or unwanted proposition of a sexual nature.
2. Direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances is a condition of employment, promotion, or advancement in grades, letters of recommendation, scholarships, or any related matter.
3. A pattern of conduct intentionally intended and/or which has the effect of humiliating another that includes examples of the following: comments of a sexual nature, sexually explicit statements, questions, anecdotes, jokes, pictures, or other written materials.
4. A pattern of conduct that would humiliate another (using the reasonable person standard) which would include the following: Unnecessary touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against another’s body, remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body, or remarks about sexual activity or speculations about sexual experiences.
The Board of Trustees for the Connecticut State University system, on November 3, 1989, endorsed the following policy regarding racism and acts of intolerance: Institutions within the Connecticut State University system have a duty to foster tolerance; The promotion of racial, religious, and ethnic pluralism within the University is the responsibility of all individuals within the University community; Every person within the University community should be treated with dignity and assured security and equality; Individuals may not exercise personal freedoms in ways that invade or violate the rights of others; Acts of violence and harassment reflecting bias or intolerance of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and ethnic or cultural origins are unacceptable; and The University shall take appropriate corrective action if such acts of violence or harassment occur.
[S]exual harassment, which is defined as any unsolicited, unwelcome, and unwanted sexual advance, or other conduct of a sexual nature which has the effect of interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Harassment, which is defined as conduct which is abusive or which interferes with a person’s pursuit of his or her customary or usual affairs, including, but not limited to, such conduct when directed toward an individual or group because of race, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical attribute, or physical or mental disability or disorder, including learning disabilities and mental retardation.
All members of the university community must at all times govern their social and academic interactions with tolerance and mutual respect so that the men and women who pass through the university’s doors are enriched by these experiences and are prepared for full and enlightened participation in a multi-cultural society. Because of the University’s commitment to principles of pluralism, mutual respect, and civility, certain activities are not acceptable on the university campus. Acts of intolerance, of hatred or violence based
on race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, age, or ethnic background are antithetical to the University’s fundamental principles and values. It is the University’s responsibility to secure the students’ right to learn by establishing an environment of civility.
As a Central Connecticut State University student:
It is in my own best interest to help create a world, a community, and a campus of compassion, equality, and justice for all people.
It is my responsibility to help build a community that fosters mutual respect and a safe environment for all human beings regardless of race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, and socioeconomic status.
It is my moral obligation to behave in ways that contribute to a civil campus environment, and I resolve to support this behavior in others.
I therefore commit myself to actively work towards these goals in my daily life. This is my commitment to Central Connecticut State University.
Bias Incident - an act of discrimination, hate speech, harassment, or retaliation by known or unknown offenders that occurs on the CCSU campus or property, and that one could reasonably conclude is directed at a member or group of the Central Connecticut State University community because of that individual’s or group’s actual or perceived age, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, ex-offender status, gender, gender identity/presentation, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any combination of these or other related factors.
Hate speech or fighting words are those personally abusive epithets which, when addressed to the ordinary citizen, are, as a matter of common knowledge, inherently likely to provoke a violent reaction. They are words that are directed to the person of the hearer, and which by their very utterance tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students and the general well being of society. In line with this purpose, the University has the duty to protect the freedoms of inquiry and expression and furthermore has the responsibility to encourage all of its members to develop the capacity for critical judgment in their sustained and independent search for truth.
March 6, 2009
College and university campuses are supposed to be bastions of learning and the expression of different ideas, but when it comes to the Second Amendment, the door to the ivory tower is evidently closed. Last October, Central Connecticut State University Prof. Paula Anderson reportedly assigned students in her communications class the task of presenting a discussion on a “relevant issue in the media.” When student John Walhberg and two other students suggested that the Virginia Tech massacre could have been mitigated or stopped altogether if students or professors had been armed, Wahlberg wound up being quizzed by police about firearms […]» Read More
March 4, 2009
A professor in Connecticut reported one of her students to the police after he gave a class presentation on why students and teachers should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on campus. Now, free speech activists say the professor’s actions are what really need to be investigated. Last October, John Wahlberg and two classmates at Central Connecticut State University gave an oral presentation for a communications class taught by Professor Paula Anderson. The assignment was to discuss a “relevant issue in the media,” and the students presented their view that the death toll in the April 2007 Virginia Tech shooting […]» Read More
October 29, 2007
Students and faculty at Central Connecticut State University plan to protest Wednesday in response to ongoing tension stemming from race and discrimination issues on campus. Students passed out fliers on campus Thursday announcing the demonstration, which will be held between the Student Center and campus cafe Wednesday from 1 to 4 p.m. A copy of the flier with an obscenity and racial slur against blacks written on it was mailed to one of the professors in the African Studies program. Vice President of Student Affairs Margaret Toston told the university’s president, Jack Miller, that two students and a professor discovered […]» Read More
Central Connecticut State president will investigate editorial process after controversial rape article
February 15, 2007
A Feb. 7 editorial in the student newspaper at Central Connecticut State University that satirically explained the benefits of rape has spurred the university’s president to launch a review of the newspaper’s editorial process. The opinion article, which the author has said was meant to be a satire, has been a target of widespread ire from the campus community. National media attention has focused on the campus, and in a statement issued Feb. 8, university President Jack Miller proposed a deeper look into The Recorder itself. “We will in the near future gather a group composed of students and faculty […]» Read More
May 16, 2012
Invoking a deep commitment to freedom of speech and freedom of the press, President Jack Miller of Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) has announced severe penalties against two soccer coaches who apparently stole about 150 copies of the student newspaper, The Recorder, in early May. At least one of the coaches, Shaun Green, was caught on video taking the newspapers. Often the thieves in such cases are hard to find, but the surveillance cameras on campus (like them or not) made this investigation easy. As you might expect, the stolen issue of the newspaper included negative information about the soccer […]» Read More
March 18, 2009
Jay Bergman, a history professor at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), has written on a controversy engulfing CCSU, in which undergraduate student John Wahlberg was reported to university authorities by his professor and then subjected to a police interrogation following his classroom presentation in support of the right to carry concealed firearms on campus. In his column for The Hartford Courant, Bergman highlights the CCSU controversy as indicative of the feverish political correctness and culture of fear in the academy regarding gun-related speech. While noting that Wahlberg considers the matter closed and crediting the professor for not hurting the student’s […]» Read More
March 13, 2009
As Will wrote earlier in the week, FIRE has seen far too many instances of students’ First Amendment rights being thrown out the window when used to support Second Amendment rights. FIRE has been all over the news concerning the most recent instance of this, in which a student at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) was reported to the police by his professor and subjected to an interrogation on the basis of a class presentation he had given in favor of concealed carry rights on campus. Building on a FoxNews.com front-page story (tipped this week in an editorial on the […]» Read More
March 10, 2009
The First Amendment protects core political speech—and, as should be obvious, that protection extends to speech regarding the Second Amendment. This means that students at public universities and private universities that promise the right to free expression on campus must be free to engage in unfettered discussion of the merits of federal, state and local gun policy in the same way that they are free to discuss, say, agricultural subsidies, diplomatic relations with Cuba, or last night’s Daily Show. But an unfortunate consequence of the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University is that students are increasingly facing punishment […]» Read More
March 10, 2009
FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley is scheduled to appear on tonight’s edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, which airs at 7 PM Eastern time. Robert will be discussing the growing censorship of gun-related speech on campus. Media interest in the topic has been growing since Central Connecticut State University’s campus newspaper, The Recorder, reported that student John Wahlberg faced a police interrogation after giving a class presentation in favor of the right to carry concealed weapons on campus. Tune in to find out more about this important free speech issue!» Read More
March 6, 2009
Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Vice President, will be joining the Dan Lovallo Show this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern) to discuss the recent concealed carry case at Central Connecticut State University. If you are in the Hartford area, you can listen to the show on WRDC 1360 AM. For those outside of Hartford, the show is also broadcast on WMMV 1470 AM Meriden, WWCO 1240 AM Waterbury, and WSNG 610 AM Torrington.» Read More
March 4, 2009
FIRE’s Vice President Robert Shibley is quoted today in a FoxNews.com article about John Wahlberg, a Central Connecticut State University senior whose professor called the police after he advocated for the concealed carry of firearms on campus in a class presentation. Robert points out the serious concerns this raises for those who value free speech on campus. As Robert explains: “If all he did was discuss reasons for allowing guns on campus, it seems a bit much to call the police and grill him about it,” Shibley said. “If you go after students for just discussing an idea, that goes […]» Read More
September 24, 2007
Last week I wrote about the uproar developing at Central Connecticut State University over the publication of a three-panel cartoon that many have found offensive. FIRE continues to follow the case, and we sent a letter on September 20 to embattled President John W. Miller encouraging a dismissal of all charges filed against the Recorder and its staff and reminding him of CCSU’s legal and moral obligation to respect First Amendment rights. The university’s responses to the newspaper’s purported offenses have already contributed to a chilled atmosphere for the student press in Connecticut. It was disheartening to see the […]» Read More
September 18, 2007
The president of Central Connecticut State University is in a difficult position. The student newspaper has published a cartoon that has offended him and others and has been called racist and sexist. The problem is that he has stated publicly that the cartoon is protected “by the First Amendment and a broad range of judicial court decisions.” Now he is under fire from communication professor Serafin Mendez-Mendez. WSFB reports not only that Professor Mendez-Mendez has filed a judicial complaint against the Recorder and its staff, but also that “Mendez and his supporters are calling for the president’s resignation and said […]» Read More
June 29, 2007
In the February 7, 2007 issue of The Recorder, the student newspaper at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), student John Petroski published an article entitled “Rape Only Hurts if You Fight it” (article not available on the paper’s online archives but reprinted in full here). The article contained such sentiments as, “[f]ar from a vile act, rape is a magical experience that benefits society as a whole,” and understandably garnered enmity among offended students, professors, bloggers, and readers across the country. In response to campus outrage about this article, CCSU President Jack Miller issued a statement saying that “it […]» Read More