Location: Richmond, Kentucky
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
Eastern Kentucky University has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct is sufficiently severe and pervasive so as to alter the conditions of, have purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment.
Generally, hostile environment sexual harassment may be described as unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that a reasonable person would find unwelcome or unwanted and that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to adversely affect the working or learning environment.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
The use of information technology resources for unlawful purposes is prohibited. Examples of unlawful use include, but are not limited to: defrauding, threatening, abusing, defaming, harassing, intimidating or transmitting obscene messages or media. Using information technology is no different than similar conduct carried out in person, by telephone or by mail. Violations through electronic media will subject the individual to the same University sanctions.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
As citizens, students enjoy the same freedoms as are guaranteed by the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky and have the same duties and responsibilities, as do other citizens.
Students are free to discuss, to express opinions and to hear expression of diverse opinions.
February 6, 2013
Eastern has received a green light from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for recent policy revisions that make the university more First Amendment friendly. Mike Reagle, associate vice president for Student Affairs, described FIRE as a group that was founded to make sure students, faculty and staff’s rights are maintained at universities. FIRE reviews school policies across the United States and highlights policies that are in violation of the First Amendment. Samantha Harris, the director of speech code research at FIRE, said the green light classification Eastern just received means the school is no longer in violation […]» Read More
December 30, 2013
As 2013 comes to a close, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) looks back on a year that was headlined by dire threats to free speech and student rights on campus.» Read More
April 1, 2013
Tomorrow, FIRE’s Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley heads to the Bluegrass State to discuss student rights at the University of Kentucky (UK) and Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). At both schools, Creeley will examine the state of the law on freedom of speech on today’s college campuses, discussing the decades of legal precedent upholding First Amendment protections on college campuses, common restrictions on student and faculty speech, and shocking instances of censorship on campus. Creeley will also answer questions about how students can best protect their rights and the limited exceptions to freedom of expression. For those of […]» Read More
February 7, 2013
Monday, FIRE announced that it had added Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) to its exclusive list of 16 colleges and universities whose policies do not unduly burden free speech (or “green light” schools, if you prefer something shorter). Today, EKU’s student newspaper, The Eastern Progress, reports on the school’s brand new green light rating and quotes FIRE’s Director of Speech Code Research Samantha Harris. Be sure to check out the full article on The Eastern Progress’ website!» Read More
February 4, 2013
LEXINGTON, Ky., February 4, 2013—Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) in nearby Richmond has eliminated all of its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating for free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). While the overwhelming majority of the nation’s colleges and universities maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech, EKU is now a proud exception as one of just 16 schools nationwide to earn a green light and as Kentucky’s first green light school. EKU administrators worked with FIRE attorneys to ensure compliance with the First Amendment. “The entire Eastern Kentucky University community should […]» Read More
March 1, 2010
As FIRE continues to be successful in our efforts to prevent schools from violating the First Amendment, universities are devising more creative—and specious—ways to rebut FIRE’s admonitions. The most recent odd response involves claiming that a university’s discussion of enacting unconstitutional speech policies is itself protected speech. This defense not only misses the point, but it threatens to obscure and undermine First Amendment rights. Students, in tandem with administrators, have also begun falsely invoking free speech as a defense against criticisms that they are censoring their peers. Last week, Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) President Doug Whitlock responded to FIRE’s charge […]» Read More
October 16, 2009
FIRE was elated to begin the week with the announcement that The College of William & Mary had reformed the last of its troublesome speech codes and become one of just eleven colleges to earn a “green light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database. Perhaps the fever has spread to neighboring James Madison University, where the focus has intensified on JMU’s policy on “Obscene Conduct” since it was named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month. Not surprisingly, heightened awareness of the policy sowed discontent among the student body–enough so that this week JMU’s student newspaper The Breeze reported that JMU has […]» Read More
April 10, 2009
Another week, another crush of FIRE cases from around the country battling for headlines. I’ll start with Greg’s Huffington Post blog on the controversy swirling around the University of Maryland campus in the wake of a legislator’s threat to pull funding from the university if it allowed students to screen an adult film on campus—which, after a hiccup or two, they went ahead and did anyway. Elsewhere, Robert addressed a brewing controversy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst via a column in The Boston Globe, while Adam took to the editorial pages of Virginia Tech’s student newspaper The Collegiate […]» Read More
April 9, 2009
In 2006, at San Francisco State University (SFSU), members of the university’s College Republicans were under investigation after hosting an anti-terrorism rally in which participants stepped on makeshift Hamas and Hezbollah flags. Charges filed against the Republicans stated they created a “hostile environment.” Some students witnessing the act reported they were offended and filed a complaint against the Republicans. The Republicans contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, better known as FIRE, for help in defending their First Amendment rights. College administrators at SFSU were ignoring that it is legal free speech to burn or desecrate religious or political […]» Read More