Location: Danville, Kentucky
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
Centre College 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.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Misconduct for which students are subject to disciplinary action includes, but is not limited to: … Physical, mental, verbal abuse, or conduct, including, but not limited to abuses on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age and disability, of any person on college premises or at college-sponsored or college-supervised functions, which threatens or intimidates, or endangers the health or safety of any person.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when … 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic
performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, academic, or campus environment.
Examples of unacceptable verbal expression or physical conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: … a pattern of conduct in class, in the work-place, or in the general campus environment that a reasonable person would identify as creating a sexist atmosphere, that is, an atmosphere that demeans or oppresses people simply by virtue of their sex. Examples of such patterns of conduct might include persistent denigration of women or men through sexist humor or remarks, assignment according to gender of tasks that are not gender-specific, or other activities that, by alienating or discouraging members of one sex, tend to impair their academic or professional performance or their ability to function within the community (e.g., hanging of signs in the dining hall which depict women/men in a derogatory manner, yelling sexist remarks from windows as men/women walk by); behavior that would discomfort or humiliate a reasonable person through one or more of the following: i) inappropriate touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s body, ii) remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body, iii) remarks about sexual activity or speculation about previous sexual experience or sexual orientation, or iv) other sexually suggestive remarks or insults.
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies
Reference to alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs in text, graphic or any other form is prohibited.
As an institution, Centre respects the dignity of all individuals, and expects that all forms of publicity on its campus will display that respect, along with a sense of common decency.
The College reserves the right to remove any material that is deemed inappropriate or offensive.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
Disrespect (harassment, true threats, defamation, obscenity, incitement) for a College official while carrying out their official job responsibilities.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
In order to preserve and guarantee the students of Centre College those conditions which are indispensable to the full achievement of the objectives of higher education in a free democratic society, the student body of the College holds the following rights essential to the complete development of the student as an individual and to the fulfillment of his/her responsibilities as a citizen of that society: … The right of every student to exercise his/her full rights as a citizen in forming and participating in campus, local, national, or international organizations for intellectual, religious, social, political, economic, or cultural purposes, and to publish and/or determine his/her views and those of his/her organization on campus.
June 12, 2012
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has selected Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, for its “Speech Code of the Month” feature in June. Each month, FIRE features a school with an especially egregious speech code. Azher Majeed, associate director of legal and public advocacy at FIRE, says Centre College was selected because of its vague policy prohibiting disrespect for college officials. “There is really no definition given, and that ‘disrespect or failing to show due respect’ can mean really anything that you want in a particular case,” he explains. “In that sense, it’s ripe for administrative abuse.” Even though Centre […]» Read More
February 19, 2014
Centre College, FIRE’s June 2012 Speech Code of the Month, has finally revised its policy banning any “disrespect for a college official” after FIRE wrote the college two letters urging it to better protect students’ free speech rights. Because that was Centre’s only “red light” policy (a red light policy is one that both clearly and substantially bans protected expression), the college now earns an improved, “yellow light” speech code rating from FIRE. This change is good news for students at Centre. As FIRE pointed out when we named that policy our Speech Code of the Month, students could have […]» Read More
June 5, 2012
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for June 2012: Centre College in Kentucky. Although it is a private institution, Centre’s Bill of Student Rights promises The right of every student to exercise his/her full rights as a citizen in forming and participating in campus, local, national, or international organizations for intellectual, religious, social, political, economic, or cultural purposes, and to publish and/or determine his/her views and those of his/her organization on campus. Fundamental to one’s rights as a citizen is the right to free speech, including—perhaps most crucially—the right to criticize one’s leaders. But at Centre, that right […]» Read More