Eastern Michigan University

Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Website: http://www.emich.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Eastern Michigan 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.

This school does not have any cases at this time.

Red Light Policies

  • Student Conduct Code: Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive campus, educational or working environment for another person. This includes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, inappropriate sexual or gender-based activities, comments or gestures, or other forms of verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment.

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  • Student Conduct Code: Harassment/Stalking 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    1. Conduct (not of a sexual nature) that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive campus, educational or work environment for another person or group.
    2. Conduct (not of a sexual nature) that threatens, intimidates, humiliates, or otherwise harms another person or group.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Conduct Code: Computer Misuse 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Use of computing facilities or equipment to send obscene, harassing, threatening or abusive messages.

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  • Student Organization Handbook: Appropriate Use of Communication Media 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Eastern Michigan University has zero tolerance for the misuse of any communications media – print or electronic, individually or mass distributed, if such use results in communications that are harassing, racist or in any way threatening to other individuals on or off campus. This type of behavior will be promptly investigated, and should perpetrators of such acts be identified as students, they will face consequences under the terms of the Student Conduct Code, which governs student behavior.

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  • Student Organization Handbook: Student Organization Poster/Flier/Table Tent Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    It is expected that all poster/fliers conform with generally accepted standards of good taste.

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  • Department of Public Safety: Reporting Hate Crimes 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    A bias incident or hate incident involves behaviors, though motivated by bias against a victim’s race, religion, ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, or disability, are not criminal offenses. Hateful speech or other disrespectful/discriminatory behavior may be motivated by bias, but are not illegal. They become crimes only when they directly incite perpetrators to commit violence against persons or property, or if they place a potential victim in reasonable fear of injury, or intimidate or harass a person with specific intent motivated solely by a person’s race, religion, ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation, or gender.

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  • Guide to Campus Living: Rooms and Roommates 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Decorations should be of such a nature that they would be a credit to the individual, the hall and the University. The appearance of the hall to the public—from the outside—depends on “window housekeeping.” Anything visible through the window should be in good taste. Residence hall staff maintains the right to remove posters, signs, etc., from student room doors, windows and/or corridor walls if they are deemed offensive.

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  • Guide to Campus Living: Solicitation and Posting 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Any information that is to be posted in more than one residence hall on staff boards must be approved by either the Director of Housing & Residence Life or an Assistant Director of Residence Life. The University will not approve any information that is deemed to be racist, homophobic, sexist, indecent, scandalous, illegal, inciting or in any way oppressive in nature. All materials to be posted should be given to the ACD via the hall desk. Any materials posted without approval or posted in an inappropriate location will be removed.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Judicial Services: Sexual Harassment & Other Prohibited Conduct Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment includes any behavior of a sexual nature where: … such conduct is intended to or would objectively be regarded by a reasonable person as unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, academic performance in a course or program, or participation in an activity, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment.

    Depending on the particular circumstances, sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following: …

    • Unwelcome sexual advances, repeated propositions or requests for a sexual relationship to an individual who has previously indicated that such conduct is unwelcome, or sexual gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, questions, or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience. Such speech or conduct must be directed against another and either abusive or humiliating, or it must persist despite the objection of the person targeted by the speech or conduct. Such conduct between peers must be sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an educational or working environment that would reasonably be perceived as hostile or abusive. A single incident involving severe misconduct may rise to the level of harassment.

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This school does not have any media coverage at this time.
  • After Lawsuit, Eastern Michigan U. Agrees to Revise Unconstitutional Policy

    November 22, 2013

    In March, student organization Students for Life at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) enlisted Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF’s) help in suing the school after it denied the group funding based on its “political or ideological” views. ADF announced yesterday that EMU settled the case late last month, agreeing to fund all groups—including Students for Life—without consideration of the groups’ viewpoints. ADF describes the lawsuit’s origins on its website: In February, Students for Life at Eastern Michigan University applied for student fee funding to host a pro-life display on campus called the Genocide Awareness Project, a traveling photo-mural exhibit… . EMU denied the request because they deemed the […]

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  • After Sixth Circuit Loss, Eastern Michigan U Settles with Expelled Counseling Student

    December 12, 2012

    The Detroit Free Press reported on Monday that Eastern Michigan University (EMU) will pay former graduate student Julea Ward $75,000 to settle Ward’s lawsuit against the university. Ward filed suit in 2009 after being dismissed from EMU’s graduate counseling program for inquiring about the possibility of referring a gay client who sought counseling regarding a same-sex relationship, citing her religious beliefs. In January, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit allowed Ward’s suit against EMU to continue after she appealed a federal district court’s dismissal. This week’s settlement ends Ward’s suit. In a statement, a university spokesman […]

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  • Eastern Michigan Stands By Speech Code, Defying Legal Clarity

    July 12, 2012

    Despite months of appeals from FIRE, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) does not appear inclined to take its legal obligations under the First Amendment, as a public university, seriously. The university is simply not willing to revise a sexual harassment so clearly unconstitutional that FIRE named it our Speech Code of the Month in July 2011—let alone to revise its other speech codes restricting campus discourse. This is a shame for students at EMU wishing to exercise their right to free speech without fear of administrative reprisal. EMU’s Student Conduct Code policy on “Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harassment” states, in relevant part:  Conduct […]

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  • ‘Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act’ before Michigan Legislature

    May 17, 2012

    Torch readers may recall the case of Julea Ward, an Eastern Michigan University (EMU) student in counseling who was expelled for seeking to refer a gay client to another counselor when counseling would have required violating her Christian beliefs. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a victory for Ward in January (her lawsuit against EMU is currently back in district court), and we wrote about the case at that time.  The State News, Michigan State University’s student newspaper, reports that a bill is hitting the floor in the Michigan House of Representatives that seeks to […]

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  • Sixth Circuit Relies on High School Cases to Assess Graduate Student’s Rights

    February 10, 2012

    Last week here on The Torch, I discussed the interesting ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Ward v. Polite (.PDF). Before discussing the facts of the case and the Sixth Circuit’s holding, I noted that while the court reached the right result by allowing the First Amendment lawsuit brought by expelled graduate student Julea Ward to continue, it did so in a way that may harm college student rights in the future. Here’s why: In analyzing Ward’s claim that her First Amendment right to freedom of expression had been violated by Eastern Michigan […]

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  • In ‘Ward v. Polite,’ Sixth Circuit Reaches Right Result, but with Wrong Reasoning

    January 30, 2012

    On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that expelled Eastern Michigan University (EMU) counseling student Julea Ward’s First Amendment suit may continue, finding that a federal district court had improperly granted the EMU defendants summary judgment. Ward was expelled from EMU’s graduate counseling program after she inquired about referring a gay client who sought counseling regarding a same-sex relationship. The Sixth Circuit found that Ward had presented sufficient evidence that, when viewed in the light most favorable to Ward (a necessary inference when deciding motions for summary judgment), could prompt a jury to conclude […]

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  • Sixth Circuit: Expelled Counseling Student Will Have Day in Court

    January 27, 2012

    In an opinion (.PDF) issued today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the civil rights suit filed by former Eastern Michigan University counseling student Julea Ward may proceed. Ward was expelled from her graduate program after she inquired about referring a gay client during her student practicum due to her religious beliefs. Following her expulsion, Ward brought suit, alleging that the defendants—members of the review committee that expelled Ward, professors in Ward’s graduate program, and the President and Board of Regents of the university—had violated her rights to freedom of expression and freedom of […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Eastern Michigan University

    July 5, 2011

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for July 2011: Eastern Michigan University (EMU). EMU’s Student Conduct Code defines “sexual harassment” as Conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive campus, educational or working environment for another person. This includes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, inappropriate sexual or gender-based activities, comments or gestures, or other forms of verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment. [Emphasis added.] This policy’s prohibition on “inappropriate sexual or gender-based … comments” means that virtually any speech relating in any way to gender is subject to […]

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  • Michigan Attorney General Supports Former Student’s Suit Against EMU

    March 14, 2011

    The Detroit News reports that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has put his support behind Julea Ward, a former graduate student at Eastern Michigan University who is suing the school following her dismissal from its counseling program. The Detroit News writes that “Ward claims she was dismissed in March of 2009 after asking how to refer student clients to other advisers in the school’s counseling practicum because the client’s activities were in conflict with her Christian belief against homosexuality.” Schuette has filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, where Ward’s case is on appeal. […]

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  • Another Political Cartoon Controversy; This Time, at Eastern Michigan

    October 7, 2010

    Controversies over political cartoons in college newspapers are nothing new, but it’s always disappointing to see them spring back up. This time it’s Eastern Michigan University’s turn, where a cartoon depicting members of the Ku Klux Klan has drawn the ire of some students and, almost inevitably, the university itself. The Eastern Echo published the below cartoon on September 28: So what is this cartoon trying to say? Clearly it is meant to depict an absurd situation, but what is the social commentary meant to be? The Eastern Echo explained it in its official statement about the cartoon controversy: We […]

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