Location: Hamilton, New York
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit
Colgate 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
Harassment is unwelcome, offensive conduct that occurs on the basis of race, color, sex, pregnancy, religion, creed, national origin (including ancestry), citizenship status, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, veteran or military status (including special disabled veteran, Vietnam-era veteran, or recently separated veteran), predisposing genetic characteristics, domestic violence victim status, or any other protected category under applicable local, state, or federal law. Sexual harassment is one form of harassment that is characterized by unwelcome conduct that is sexual in nature.
Harassing conduct can occur in various forms, including:
i. Verbal – such as unwelcome sexually suggestive, demeaning, or graphic comments; using ethnic, racial, religious, or other slurs to refer to a person; or jokes or comments that demean a person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or disability.
iii. Visual – such as exposing another person to unwanted pornographic images; creating or displaying racially, ethnically, religiously offensive pictures, symbols, cartoons, or graffiti.
iv. Communication-based – such as phone calls, e-mails, text messages, chats, or blogs that offend, demean, or intimidate another on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or disability.
Colgate may, and in the appropriate circumstances will, take action to respond to offensive behavior even if the behavior does not rise to the level of a hostile environment within the meaning of the law.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
Colgate expects that its students will not lie, steal, cheat, or engage in dishonest or unlawful behavior; behavior that damages University property, the personal property of another individual, or public property; or any other behavior intended to inflict physical or emotional harm on oneself, another person or the community.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
In order to create the best possible climate for learning, the University recognizes the importance of providing personnel and facilities of high quality and of maintaining the rights of free inquiry, expression and assembly.
The right of discussion and expression of all views is a basic principle within the University.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
Using Colgate’s EIR to actively engage in procuring or transmitting material that is in violation of sexual harassment or hostile workplace laws is prohibited. No university EIR may be used for a purpose that violates university policies, rules, or regulations or for an illegal or criminal purpose under local, state, and/or federal laws.
The following activities are strictly prohibited, with no exceptions:
- Sending unsolicited e-mail messages such as “junk mail” or other advertising material to individuals and/or distribution lists who did not specifically request such material (e-mail spam).
- Any form of harassment via e-mail, telephone, or paging, whether through language, frequency, or size of messages.
November 12, 2014
By Mary Bowerman and Peter Schmidt at The Chronicle of Higher Education When students staged a sit-in at Colgate University’s admissions office in September to protest racial intolerance on campus, perhaps the biggest news was what didn’t happen. No students were arrested or removed from the building. No one accused the campus police of heavy-handedness or administrators of trampling free-speech rights. Instead, the sit-in ended with an agreement between protesters and administrators on a 21-point plan to make the institution more welcoming for minority students. “We tried to relate to the students on a human level,” says Suzy M. Nelson, vice president and dean of […]» Read More
February 22, 2006
Four Syracuse University students punished for trashing their teacher on Facebook.com joined the growing number of students nationally whose school has held them accountable for what they put on the Internet. “Criticism can be considered a matter of free speech. In this particular situation it was the content, and the content was considered as being reviewable as a possible violation of the university code of student conduct,” said Kevin Morrow, speaking for SU. “The language and the phrasing of these Facebook postings were extreme.” Some students use Facebook.com as their personal diary. They post pictures and information such as their […]» Read More
March 17, 2015
The popular phone app Yik Yak, which allows users to anonymously share comments with nearby app users, has been attacked by college administrators and student governments alike who argue that it plays host to too much hateful or offensive commentary. In light of recent moves to block university network access to the app, Iowa State University professor Rey Junco writes for Wired today in defense of the application and of online anonymity. Junco acknowledges that negative comments and even harassment do sometimes show up on the app, as students are often willing to say things online that social pressure would […]» Read More
June 12, 2014
Konrad Thallner is a rising junior at Colgate University, pursuing majors in political science and German, as well as a minor in economics. He serves as the vice president of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, and looks forward to spending the Spring 2015 semester studying abroad at the University of Freiburg in southwestern Germany. On his decision to intern with FIRE this summer, Konrad writes: I became aware of FIRE while researching the challenges many Greek organizations around the country face in dealing with an array of school rules and regulations. While exploring some of the cases detailed on The […]» Read More
August 6, 2012
Kelsey Curtis is a FIRE Summer Intern. As I prepare to enter my senior year at Colgate University, I am spending a lot of time reflecting on all that I have learned and how much I have grown over the course of my college experience. Colgate’s faculty and students have provided me with opportunities for exploration every day, and it is because of the thoughtful community at Colgate that I have been able to gain so much. It was not until I began my internship at FIRE this summer that I realized that this learning environment is in a precarious […]» Read More
April 26, 2005
American students of these times are victims of a generational swindle of truly epic proportions. My own academic cohort appears to have no shame, and it has moved on campus after campus from its Free Speech Movement to its speech codes; from its struggle against mandatory religious chapel to its struggle for mandatory sensitivity “training” in matters of race, sex, and sexuality; and from its freedom to smoke pot openly on college lawns to its war against the kegs and spirits—literal and metaphorical—of today’s undergraduates. It is always revealing to look at policies enacted in the early ’70s to protect […]» Read More
April 20, 2005
Despite the fact that FIRE receives hundreds of formal and informal complaints every year, I remain convinced that there are a much larger number of unreported civil liberties abuses in academia. This suspicion is confirmed every time I speak at a university (side note: if you want me to come speak at your school, please email us). Following my speech, students will stream forward to tell their own tales of censorship and repression. Last week, I was at Colgate in upstate New York and the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, and this is what I heard (keep in […]» Read More
April 18, 2005
Last Tuesday morning, I spoke at a rally protesting Colgate University’s plans to force all fraternities and sororities to sell their houses and land to the university. While a transaction between two private parties is ordinarily not of great interest to FIRE, the terms of Colgate’s “deal” are particularly outrageous. Essentially, the message of the university is: sell your land or we will prohibit any student from living in your houses. The university is justifying this blatant land grab by arguing that the fraternity and sorority houses are essentially out of control—cesspools of sexual assault, binge drinking, and other crimes. […]» Read More
April 15, 2005
On Tuesday morning on the front lawn of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) house, approximately 300 students and several members of the media gathered to participate in the Freedom of Association: the Coalition for Truth (F.A.C.T.) Rally. The rally focused on protesting Colgate’s Residential Plan, which, according to the official Colgate website, will require all Greek-letter organizations to be based in University housing.The University plan requires the sale of all Greek letter houses to the University. At the current time, all Greek-letter alumni associations are voting on whether or not to sell their houses to Colgate. Thus far, DKE has […]» Read More