Location: Newport News, Virginia
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit
Christopher Newport 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.
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementAny actions against one's self or others that causes physical injury or that demeans,
intimidates, harasses, threatens or otherwise interferes with another person's rightful actions.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, StatementAny conduct or expression that is lewd or indecent that is not constitutionally protected
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, StatementIndividuals and organizations wishing to exercise their freedom of speech or "the right of the
People peaceably to assemble," must register with the Dean of Students at least 24 hours in
advance. Standard space reservation procedures must be followed. If notice is given less than 24
hours in advance, the university will make every effort to grant such a request provided that safety
and security issues and logistical concerns can be appropriately addressed.
The location of the assembly will be determined by University Officials in consultation with the
organizers and will be based on safety and security concerns.
Student Handbook: Policies Regarding the Use of the University’s Computing and Communications Systems 12-13
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, StatementIn making acceptable use of resources you must NOT: ... Use University systems for commercial or for partisan political purposes. ... Use mail or messaging services to harass or to intimidate another person, for example, by
broadcasting unsolicited messages, by sending unwanted mail, or by using someone else's
name or User ID.
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies, StatementPosting of profanity or obscenities is not permitted in public areas. This
includes, but is not limited to, room doors facing public areas, windows
and common areas. Posting determined to be reasonably offensive to others
must be removed from publicly viewable areas when asked by members
of the residential community or staff.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementHarassment is defined by Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary as "to annoy or bother (someone) in a constant or repeated way; to make repeated attacks."
Any CNU student / employee who believes that he / she has been unlawfully discriminated against or harassed may file a complaint with Michelle Moody, the Director of Equal Opportunity.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementUniversities occupy a unique place in our society. They are institutions of higher learning dedicated to
the discovery and dissemination of knowledge and, in that capacity, they assign a high priority to the
freedom of speech. ... As an instrumentality of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Christopher Newport University is committed
to its constitutional obligations to respect rights of expression.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementThe Board of Visitors defines sexual harassment as being any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that meets one or more of the following three conditions: ... Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially and unreasonably interfering with any individual's performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or learning environment for any individual.
November 13, 2012
by Eric Giunta Sunshine State News Each of the 10 public colleges and universities in Florida evaluated by a major civil liberties organization has “some policies that could ban or excessively regulate protected speech,” and nearly all of them have “at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. That’s the verdict of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonpartisan civil rights organization dedicated, in its own words, “to defending core constitutional rights on university campuses.” Last week the foundation set its sights on Tallahassee’s own Florida State University in a memo addressed to […]» Read More
October 5, 2012
The presidential election has devoured the Internet. Like a b-movie monster from the 60s — I’m thinking Mothra, or maybe the underrated Gamera — election talk has demolished my Twitter timeline and pulverized my Facebook feed. Don’t get me started about my e-mail inbox, which is a mess of poll chatter, fundraising pitches, and petition drives. And offline, back in the real world, it’s just as intense. My walk to work takes me past dozens of campaign signs posted in people’s windows, the office watercooler talk is still dissecting Wednesday’s debate, and of course you can’t turn on the television without hitting a solid […]» Read More
September 26, 2012
Last week, Christopher Newport University (CNU) censored student speech by preventing a student group, the Feminist Alliance, from protesting a campus appearance by Vice Presidential candidate Representative Paul Ryan. (Another group, the Gay-Straight Student Union, canceled its protest shortly thereafter.) Yesterday, in a welcome development, CNU President Paul Trible admitted his institution’s error and announced a dramatic revision of his university’s policies governing student expression. CNU University Counsel William Thro informed FIRE of the policy revision in a letter yesterday evening. As described here on The Torch yesterday, the controversy over the university’s “Demonstration” policy began last week when […]» Read More
September 25, 2012
In a letter sent yesterday, FIRE asked Christopher Newport University (CNU) President Paul Trible to immediately rescind restrictions on student demonstrations that prevented student groups from protesting a speech by Vice Presidential candidate Representative Paul Ryan last week. CNU’s indefensible decision silenced core political speech on a public university campus during election season—a deeply disappointing result. Here are the facts, as outlined in our letter: On September 18, 2012, Representative Ryan spoke at a rally at CNU’s Ferguson Center for the Arts. According to The Daily Press, this visit was not publicly announced until Sunday, September 16. After learning of […]» Read More
September 24, 2012
As the presidential election season accelerates rapidly both on and off campus, yet another story provides ample evidence of the folly of over-regulating student speech. Last Tuesday, Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan visited the public Christopher Newport University (CNU) in Virginia to deliver an address. In the midst of a contentious campaign, one would think that a university would provide space for debate on all sides … right? Unfortunately, students who wished to protest Ryan’s speech were told that they had missed the 10-day window for registering their event and would be unable to demonstrate. According to the CNU Student […]» Read More