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: 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: Harassment Policies
Centre College does not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind, as it is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972.
Sexual misconduct is a broad category of behaviors that includes but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, cyber-stalking, bullying and cyber-bullying, aiding or facilitating the commission of a violation, and retaliation. These behaviors are defined in Section VI found below.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when … 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 sexual harassment can include, but are not limited to: … use of language or the presentation of posters/banners and/or t-shirts that promotes the diminishing of a particular sex or gender.
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.
Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
Bullying or cyber bulling creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by the College. When such harassment is based on gender or perceived sexual orientation it is considered sexual misconduct.
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