College of the Holy Cross

Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
Website: http://www.holycross.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

College of the Holy Cross 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.

  • College of the Holy Cross: Abridgement of Freedom to Display Patriotic Symbols

    October 21, 2001

    The chair of the Department of Sociology at the College of the Holy Cross forced a secretary to remove an American flag that hung in the office in memory of a friend who fought and died on the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. When the secretary refused, it was removed by the chair himself. After critical media coverage, the College apologized, but the office remains without the flag.

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Red Light Policies

  • Use of Information Technology Resources 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Communications from members of the College community are to reflect mutual respect and civility. Obscene or intolerant language, as well as offensive images, clearly violate these standards and are considered inappropriate for electronic and all other forms of discourse among members of the College community. The determination of what is obscene, offensive or intolerant is within the sole discretion of the College.

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  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Emotional Abuse 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Issuing harassing, degrading or abusive threats or statements that cause emotional injury; and or, causing emotional injury through careless or reckless behavior. Emotional abuse also includes willful damage to the reputation or psychological wellbeing of another. This covers all forms of communication including, but not limited to, written or electronic media.

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  • Student Handbook: Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Holy Cross is committed not only to enforcing the law but also to protecting the community from any form of harassment that serves to degrade the status of another human being. Most often, harassment objectifies a personal attribute, singling it out for ridicule, attack, or disparagement. Examples include, but are not limited to: race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, ancestry, sexual orientation, physical or mental handicap, veteran or other protected status. It may include physical contact such as touching or patting, written or verbal comments or suggestions, obscene or offensive jokes or pictures, hostile or threatening gestures, or other forms of degradation. Though harassment is often malicious in intent, even thoughtless or unpremeditated behavior can have the effect of harassment.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Protest and Demonstration Guidelines 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    The Division of Student Affairs serves as the contact and clearinghouse for anyone wishing to conduct a demonstration, rally, or protest on campus. General conduct, expectations and previously scheduled events will be reviewed with demonstrators.

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  • Student Handbook: Community Standards and Disciplinary Procedures for Students 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    To enter the College of the Holy Cross is to accept an invitation to participate in the growth and development of a “community marked by freedom, mutual respect and civility.”

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  • Student Handbook: Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as any type of sexually oriented conduct, whether intentional or not, that is unwelcome and has the purpose or effect of creating a work environment that is hostile, offensive or coercive to a reasonable woman or man, as the case may be. The following are examples of conduct that, depending on the circumstances may constitute sexual harassment:
    a) unwelcome and unwanted sexual jokes, language, epithets, advances or propositions;
    b) written or oral abuse of a sexual nature, sexually degrading or vulgar words to describe an individual;
    c) the display of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, posters, or cartoons;
    d) unwelcome and unwanted comments about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies;
    e) asking questions about sexual conduct;
    f) unwelcome touching, leering, whistling, brushing against the body, or suggestive insulting or obscene comments or gestures;
    g) demanding sexual favors in exchange for favorable reviews, assignments, promotions, or continued employment, or promises of the same.

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  • Student Handbook: Inclusive Language at Holy Cross 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    Holy Cross is committed to achieving a proficiency in the use of sex-inclusive language. Students are asked to speak and write inclusively when preparing assignments, in classroom presentations, in their contribution to campus publications, and as representatives of the College at public events. For example, where appropriate, generic use of the pronoun “he” should be replaced with either “he or she” or an alternate sex-blind construction; neutral terms such as chair should replace chairman; the use of titles should be standardized. Any questions regarding the inclusive language usage can be addressed to the Affirmative Action Officer.

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  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Sexual Misconduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Any type of sexually oriented conduct, whether intentional or not, that is unwelcome and has the purpose or effect of creating an employment or academic environment that is hostile, offensive or coercive to a reasonable woman or man, as the case may be.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Protest and Demonstration Guidelines 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    As an academic institution, the College of the Holy Cross is committed to an environment in which a variety of ideas can be reasonably proposed and critically examined. The College recognizes that the free exchange of ideas and expression may produce conflicts in beliefs and proposals for action. This exchange is an important element in the pursuit of knowledge. All members of the College community have a responsibility to maintain channels of communication which foster a climate favorable to maintaining this exchange.

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  • Student Handbook: Community Standards and Disciplinary Procedures for Students 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    All student members of the College of the Holy Cross community have certain rights. These include: … The right to express opinion, which includes the right to state agreement or disagreement with the opinions of others and the right to an appropriate forum for the expression of opinion.

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  • Holy Cross Student Files Suit after Expulsion for Sexual Assault; Alleges Due Process, Title IX Violations

    December 1, 2011

    Edwin Bleiler, a former student at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, has filed a lawsuit (first in Massachusetts Superior Court, later removed to federal court) alleging violations of Title IX and due process relating to his expulsion on sexual misconduct grounds. A copy of the complaint can be found here (as Exhibit A), and the answer from Holy Cross can be found here (PDF). According to the complaint, in early May 2011, a female student alleged to Holy Cross that Bleiler had engaged in sexual intercourse with her while she was intoxicated and incapable of effective consent. Bleiler’s […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: College of the Holy Cross

    July 7, 2010

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for July 2010: College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Although it is a private college, Holy Cross claims to value free expression. The Protest and Demonstration Guidelines state that “The College recognizes that the free exchange of ideas and expression may produce conflicts in beliefs and proposals for action. This exchange is an important element in the pursuit of knowledge.” The Community Standards provide that “All student members of the College of the Holy Cross community have certain rights. These include: …The right to express opinion, which includes the right […]

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  • FIRE Remembers September 11

    September 11, 2007

    Today, FIRE joins individuals across America and around the world in reflecting upon the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As university students and professors from Maine to California host commemorations today to remember those who suffered and died six years ago, we take a moment to look back at how those events played out on campus in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, and how their legacy continues to affect us today. In the wake of the tragedy, FIRE was called on to defend liberty on campus as many universities reacted to the cataclysmic circumstances with sometimes shocking limitations […]

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  • What 9/11 Taught Us About Academia

    September 11, 2006

    Today, FIRE joins the rest of the nation in remembering the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Five years ago, the events of 9/11 highlighted—in a very ugly way—just how out of touch many universities are with the American public. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when much of America was still in mourning, a number of very prominent universities moved swiftly to suppress displays of public sympathy and patriotism by students and faculty. Here are some examples of university actions in September and October 2001: At Central Michigan University, an administrator told several students to remove various patriotic posters […]

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