Gettysburg College

Location: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Website: http://www.gettysburg.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Gettysburg College 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.

  • Gettysburg College: Unjust Sexual Misconduct Policy

    August 17, 2002

    After more than a year of public pressure from FIRE, Gettysburg College amended its controversial Sexual Misconduct Policy. Gettysburg students are now free from the draconian policy, which failed to distinguish between an innocent, spontaneous hug and forcible rape. The school’s old Sexual Misconduct Policy infringed on students’ rights to due process and fundamental fairness. Despite months of agreeing to undertake an administrative review and revision of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Gettysburg continued to maintain it. In response, FIRE added Gettysburg to its Red Alert list, where FIRE highlights the “worst of the worst” offenders against liberty on campus. In […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Gettysburg College prohibits all sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexually inappropriate behavior. …

    C. Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances or threats, deliberate or careless use of offensive or demeaning terms that have sexual connotations or are gender-based, repeated and unwelcome requests for sexual favors or a romantic relationship, repeated and unwelcome letters, phone calls, or e-mails of a sexual or romantic nature, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal, electronic, or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature.
    D. Sexually inappropriate behavior: Includes behaviors which may not rise to the level of sexual harassment but is still sexual in nature. For example conduct that may be an isolated occurrence or rude, obscene or sexually suggestive gestures or communication. Disrobing or exposure of one’s self to another person without that person’s consent is another example.

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  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Bias Related Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    Gettysburg College prohibits the behaviors and conduct described below.

    Inappropriate Bias Behaviors

    An Inappropriate bias behavior is defined as an act (speech, written or verbal, or conduct) targeted at a person or group creating what the College deems an insensitive or unwelcoming environment on the basis of actual or perceived identity/expression, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ability status. Inappropriate bias behaviors may consist of name calling, epithets, slurs, or degrading language, directed toward the targeted person or group.  Inappropriate bias behaviors may occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional or is targeted at an individual or group. Acts may qualify as an inappropriate bias behavior even when delivered with humorous intent or presented as a joke or prank.

    Examples might include, but are not limited to:

    • Theme parties that denigrate specific groups
    • The intentional exposure of someone’s sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression when the person wants that information to remain unknown
    • Name-calling, stereotyping, avoiding or excluding others based on perceived or actual identity
    • Derogatory jokes, verbal or written comments
    • Racial, religious, or ethnic slurs, verbal or written comments about one’s sexual orientation or ability status

    Bias Conduct

    Conduct that is threatening, harassing, intimidating, or discriminatory, is a conduct violation. When paired with inappropriate bias behaviors, it is a conduct violation in addition to a bias conduct. Bias conduct may take the form of but are not limited to the following:

    1. Graffiti or degrading images
    • Use of sidewalk chalk, spray paint, markers, or any other utensil used to graffiti.
      • Anti-religious symbols, derogatory drawings, or pictures
      • Exclusion from participation
      • Threats or harassment
      • Acts that create what the College deems an unsafe environment
    1. Hate Speech

                 a.        Expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities 13-14

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

    [A]ll members of the community are expected to engage in civil discourse, reasoned thought, sustained discussion and constructive participation without degrading, abusing or silencing others. … Behavior that violates these standards is considered a serious breach of
    responsibility and the College will determine an appropriate response; which may include mediation, public forum or other educational means.

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  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Proscribed Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in Article IV: …

    Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, or conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.

    Use of computing facilities and resources to send or intentionally receive obscene or abusive messages.

    » Read More

  • Residence Life Guidebook: Community Living – Respecting Others 13-14

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

    YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY to act respectfully toward members of the college community, which means NOT participating in behaviors that are harassing, intimidating, demeaning, violent, abusive or without consent.

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  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Policy Definition

    Harassment includes any written, verbal or physical acts (including electronically transmitted acts) that is reasonably perceived as creating an  intimidating, or hostile work, learning or living environment, particularly if questionable behavior is repeated and/or if it continues after the offending party is informed of the objectionable and/or inappropriate nature of the behavior. Harassment can be a single, serious incident or a series of related, repeated incidents. Harassment is measured by the impact of the behavior, rather than the intent of the harasser.

    Examples of Harassment

    Might include but are not limited to:

    • Making repeated suggestive or derogatory comments, jokes, or gestures about someone’s actual or perceived identity/expression, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ability status.  This can include comments indirectly related to the person’s group membership, such as comments about ethnic food, body shape or appearance, or derogatory slang.
    • Unwelcome staring, or advances, or persistent, unwanted contact such as repeated requests to meet or talk, or refusing to accept that a consensual relationship has ended by following, phoning, watching, etc. (This conduct can be so severe as to constitute stalking, which is a criminal act.)
    • Displaying or distributing racist, sexist or homophobic graffiti, cartoons, posters, email, screen-savers, etc.
    • Ridiculing or mimicking a person’s accent or speech impediment
    • Cyber-harassment (including harassment via social media, email, text, or other forms of electronic communication).

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  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies

    Personal Harassment and Bullying

    Although bullying does not rise to the level of harassment, the College believes that these behaviors are inappropriate and inconsistent with our mission. In addition, these are hurtful behaviors that interfere with the right for those in our community to live in an environment conducive to learning. Bullying is unwelcome or unreasonable behavior that demeans, offends, or humiliates people either as individuals or as a group. Bullying behavior is often persistent and part of a pattern, but it can also occur as a single incident. It is usually carried out by an individual but can also be an aspect of group behavior.

    “Mobbing” is a particular type of bullying behavior carried out by a group rather than by an individual. Mobbing is the bullying or social isolation of a person through collective unjustified accusations, humiliation, general harassment, or emotional abuse. Although it is group behavior, specific incidents such as an insult or a practical joke may be carried out by an individual as part of mobbing behavior.

    Examples of Bullying

    Performed alone or in a group might include but are not limited to:

    • Name calling, insults, physical gestures.
    • Playing hurtful or malicious jokes to embarrass.
    • Encouraging others to exclude socially someone; spreading rumors or lying that damages someone’s social reputation or social acceptance.
    • Cyber-bullying (including bullying via social media, email, text, or other forms of electronic communication).

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Green Light Policies
  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Gettysburg College subscribes to the wisdom in the words of Justice Louis D. Brandeis:

    “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”  (Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 1927).

    Free inquiry and expression are indispensable elements in the achievement of the goals of this academic community. It is therefore expected that diverse views will be voiced throughout the community, including those that may be offensive.

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  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Computer Network Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Protection from Harassment: All members of the College community are encouraged to communicate differing perspectives. Community members are also, however, entitled to work and live in an environment free of harassment. Therefore any network activity that violates the College’s harassment policy is prohibited. Defamatory remarks and obscenity are also prohibited. The use of overt profanity is strongly discouraged.

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  • Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities: Computer Network Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Gettysburg College encourages a free and open forum for personal expression. This includes viewpoints that are unorthodox or unpopular.

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  • G-burg College revises policy

    August 26, 2007

    Gettysburg College’s sexual misconduct policy, which was criticized by a group called FIRE last year, has been revised. Greg Lukianoff, president of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said the group took issue with vague wording in the college’s previous sexual misconduct policy, which drew no distinction between a hug and sex crimes. “When colleges pass codes so broad, every student can be found guilty of violating it on a regular basis,” Lukianoff said. “It leaves it up to the discretion of the school to enforce the policy as they chose.” The group, a nonpartisan organization that monitors […]

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  • College revises sexual misconduct policy

    August 24, 2007

    Gettysburg College’s sexual misconduct policy, which was criticized by a group called FIRE last year, has been revised. FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, is a nonpartisan organization that monitors educational institutions and civil rights, said organization President Greg Lukianoff. He said the group took issue with vague wording in the college’s previous sexual misconduct policy drawing no distinction between a hug and sex crimes. “When colleges pass codes so broad, every student can be found guilty of violating it on a regular basis,” Lukianoff said. “It leaves it up to the discretion of the school to enforce […]

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  • College repeals “Hug at your own risk” rule

    August 23, 2007

    You know a way to make it more likely to catch sex offenders? Make the definition of “sex offense” so broad that virtually any physical contact counts as sexual assault. Then whenever anyone is accused of a sex offense the authorities can find them guilty at their discretion. Sure, it means that a good number of innocent people will probably be found guilty of one of the most horrible crimes one person can commit against another, but it definitely would make prosecutions easier! If this sounds problematic to you (and, boy, I hope it does, or else the republic is […]

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  • Gettysburg College revises criticized sexual misconduct policy

    August 23, 2007

    Gettysburg College has revised its sexual misconduct policy more than a year after it was criticized by a nonprofit foundation as being too broad and arbitrary. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which advocates for free speech issues on college campuses, objected to the policy in May 2006 because it listed several actions, including patting, hugging and kissing, as examples of sexual misconduct. Under the new policy, the definition simply defines sexual misconduct as “deliberate physical contact of a sexual nature without the other person’s consent.” “According to the old, ludicrous policy, practically every person at Gettysburg College was […]

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  • Colleges assume unchecked power in sexual consent policies

    June 21, 2006

    You know a possible way to lower the murder rate in this country? Simply declare all 16- to 24-year-olds — the age group that commits the most murders — to be murderers. We wouldn’t have to put this whole population behind bars, mind you, but anytime someone was murdered we could lock up everyone in that age group who had been near the murder scene. After all, they have been declared guilty by virtue of their age. Yes, this may mean that hundreds of thousands of innocent people might go to jail, but such actions would make it more likely […]

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  • The Hug Police Invade Higher Education

    June 9, 2006

    It’s best not to hug anyone at Gettysburg College. At least not unless you want to get charged with sexual misconduct. Maybe Gettysburg administrators didn’t watch enough Care Bears when they were children. Maybe they were victims of drive-by huggings. Whatever their motivation, the result is an overbroad sexual misconduct policy which makes no distinction between rape and a spontaneous hug. The controversial policy, being challenged by the free speech watch-dog group the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), sets the parameters for acceptable sexual contact. There needs to be consent, which it defines as “the act of willingly […]

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  • On campus, an absurd overregulation of sexual conduct

    May 22, 2006

    IN THE EARLY 1990s, in the midst of a national debate about feminism, sexual relationships, and sexual violence, the media discovered an unusual sexual conduct policy at Antioch College, a small liberal arts school in Ohio. The policy, adopted in response to complaints from a group called Womyn of Antioch about not enough being done to stop date rape on campus, mandated explicit verbal consent every step of the way in a sexual encounter — from undoing a button to sexual intercourse. At the time, it elicited a lot of mockery. But while the debate has gone away, the mindset […]

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  • College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy under FIRE

    May 13, 2006

    by Steve Marroni The Evening Sun Both Gettysburg College and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education agree there is a world of difference between a hug and sexual assault. But how to enforce the issue of consent is a point of contention. The organization, which uses the acronym FIRE, is challenging Gettysburg College’s sexual misconduct policy. FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation in Philadelphia that monitors issues such as individual rights, due process and freedom of expression at the nation’s colleges. The crux of the policy, according to college administration, is consent. FIRE says the issue of consent is […]

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  • Sexual-Misconduct Policy is Faulted

    May 12, 2006

    An impulsive hug could land a student in serious trouble at Gettysburg College, or at least that is the interpretation of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which yesterday challenged the school to change its “arbitrary and overbroad” sexual misconduct policy. Most colleges have such policies, but Gettysburg’s is unusual in identifying “physical contact of a lewd type such as brushing, touching, grabbing, pinching, patting, hugging and kissing” as violations. Gettysburg also requires that verbal consent be given before engaging in sexual conduct, reminiscent of a policy at Antioch College in Ohio that became the butt of late-night television […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: Hug at Your Own Risk

    May 18, 2011

    In light of FIRE’s ongoing efforts to highlight concerns raised by the lowered due process protections mandated by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault, it is fitting to review our 2006 campaign against Gettysburg College’s sexual misconduct policy. The old Gettysburg policy’s draconian restrictions are a key example of how university harassment and sexual misconduct policies provide the opportunity for administrative abuse-something that will be made even more likely under OCR’s newly required “preponderance of the evidence” standard for adjudicating these cases. FIRE became involved at Gettysburg in May […]

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  • No Summer Break for Student Rights

    August 24, 2007

    While students were away for the summer, enjoying beaches and lazy days, the struggle to protect student rights on campus continued. For those just coming back from summer break, here is a review of some of the major student rights cases that you might have missed. Seniors Need Not Sue   In a disappointing decision, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Lane v. Simon that once a student graduates they lack standing to continue a lawsuit. This decision could have dangerous implications, especially for students about to graduate, since it can take years for lawsuits to wind […]

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  • Press Continues to Cover Gettysburg Policy Change

    August 24, 2007

    Gettysburg College’s long-overdue decision to revise its sexual misconduct policy continues to garner media attention. Today, The Evening Sun (which serves the Greater Hanover and Gettysburg areas) reported on the change. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff told the paper that, with regard to the old policy, “[w]hen colleges pass codes so broad, every student can be found guilty of violating it on a regular basis. It leaves it up to the discretion of the school to enforce the policy as they choose.” The new policy, by contrast, is much clearer. Julie Ramsey, Gettysburg’s vice president for student life, told the paper […]

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  • Victory at Gettysburg College on The Huffington Post

    August 23, 2007

    Check out my blog post today on Gettysburg College’s reform of its “hug at your own risk” policy over at The Huffington Post: You know a way to make it more likely to catch sex offenders? Make the definition of “sex offense” so broad that virtually any physical contact counts as sexual assault. Then whenever anyone is accused of a sex offense the authorities can find them guilty at their discretion. Sure, it means that a good number of innocent people will probably be found guilty of one of the most horrible crimes one person can commit against another, but […]

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  • Lukianoff to Discuss Gettysburg Case Live at 3 p.m. ET

    August 23, 2007

    In just a few minutes, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be discussing the Gettysburg case on WHP 580 Talk Radio. You can listen live online by going to http://www.whp580.com/main.html and clicking on WHP Live on the upper right hand side of the screen.

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  • Associated Press Story on Gettysburg’s Revamped Policy

    August 23, 2007

    The Associated Press is reporting about FIRE’s announcement yesterday that Gettysburg College has finally rewritten its Sexual Misconduct Policy. The AP writes: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which advocates for free speech issues on college campuses, objected to the policy in May 2006 because it listed several actions, including patting, hugging and kissing, as examples of sexual misconduct. The foundation also contended that the policy previously required verbal consent for each stage of a sexual encounter. The policy said that if “either person…does not give continuing and active consent, all sexual contact must cease, even if consent was […]

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  • Victory at Gettysburg College

    August 22, 2007

    FIRE’s press release today celebrates victory at Gettysburg College, which has finally put an end to its Sexual Misconduct Policy more than a year after FIRE first took the case public. The policy was so broadly written that nearly every student on campus violated it on a regular basis. Gettysburg applied the term “sexual misconduct” to not only forced sexual acts but to any “brushing, touching, grabbing, pinching, patting, hugging, and kissing” performed without constant and continual verbal consent. This policy is worse than the one that made Antioch College famous in the early 1990s when it first introduced its […]

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  • Victory for Fundamental Fairness at Gettysburg College

    August 22, 2007

    GETTYSBURG, Pa., August 20, 2007—After more than a year of public pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), Gettysburg College has amended its controversial Sexual Misconduct Policy. Gettysburg students are finally free from the draconian policy, which failed to distinguish between an innocent, spontaneous hug and forcible rape. “According to the old, ludicrous policy, practically every person at Gettysburg College was guilty of sexual misconduct, leaving it up to administrators to enforce the policy as they chose,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “We are pleased that Gettysburg has at last revised this policy.” FIRE first called for […]

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  • Red Alert: Gettysburg College

    July 26, 2007

    Today, Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania joins Johns Hopkins and Tufts on FIRE’s Red Alert list. As we explained in a press release last month, a place on the Red Alert list is “an ignominious distinction awarded to those institutions of higher education that have shown particularly severe and ongoing disregard for their contractual or constitutional commitments to uphold the fundamental rights of students and faculty.” If a school is on FIRE’s Red Alert list, it means FIRE thinks that prospective students and parents should seriously consider the very real threat to student rights on that campus before deciding to attend […]

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  • Antioch’s Infamous Sexual Assault Policy

    June 15, 2007

    As Emily mentioned yesterday, Antioch University, in my home state of Ohio, is closing the doors of its main undergraduate campus (called Antioch College). Even living in Ohio, few people knew much about Antioch with the exception of a short time in the 1990s when the college became nationally known for its bizarre sexual offense prevention policy. Adopted in 1991 at the prompting of the “Womyn of Antioch,” the consent requirements for this policy made news because they are virtually impossible to fulfill—but to fail to do so was a sexual offense. Here’s the consent section of the policy that […]

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  • Antioch University Announces Closing

    June 14, 2007

    An article in yesterday’s Inside Higher Ed reports the closure of the main undergraduate college of Antioch University due to low enrollment and a small endowment, stating that the school’s total enrollment had dropped down to just over 300 students for the upcoming semester.   Through the years, Antioch had become known for its drastic measures to enforce a politically correct climate on campus, illustrated perfectly by a policy enacted in the 1990s requiring explicit verbal consent before any sexual act. We can’t help but wonder if students wised up to Antioch’s well-known tactics and began to choose other institutions […]

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  • Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: Hug At Your Own Risk

    May 29, 2007

    Today’s installment of our weekly Campus Alert feature in the New York Post discusses a sexual misconduct policy at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania with which FIRE has taken issue for quite some time. The policy, which defines “brushing, touching, grabbing, pinching, patting, hugging and kissing” as sexual interactions, requires “verbal,” “continuing,” and “active” consent to participate in these exchanges. As we note in Campus Alert: In practice, complying with Gettysburg’s policy seems to mean that each and every physical contact between students is doomed to be embarrassingly awkward. (“Can I hold your hand?” “Yes.” “Can I continue to hold your […]

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  • Campus Alert: Hug at your own risk

    May 29, 2007

    Every hour, students at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania commit sexual misconduct. How? No, the student body isn’t made up of sexual predators. It’s because Gettysburg’s sexual-misconduct policy makes even the most innocent student interactions a violation. Gettysburg requires its students to gain consent before sexual interaction. No surprises there: That’s not only the law, it’s common sense. But what isn’t common sense is how Gettysburg defines “sexual interaction” and “consent.” The school’s policy considers “brushing, touching, grabbing, pinching, patting, hugging and kissing” to be sexual interactions. Making matters worse is the fact that Gettysburg requires “verbal,” “continuing” and “active” consent […]

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  • This Week in FIRE History: Hug at Your Own Risk at Gettysburg College

    May 16, 2007

    One year ago this week FIRE announced: GETTYSBURG, Pa., May 11, 2006—Gettysburg College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy is so broad in scope that it draws no distinction between an innocent, spontaneous hug and forcible rape. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling for the repeal of this draconian policy, which prohibits most, if not all, of the sexual and even merely affectionate relations that take place on Gettysburg’s campus.   As we pointed out at the time: “This policy can turn almost any student at Gettysburg into a criminal,” stated FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “In its quest to rid […]

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  • Post Valentine’s Day Wrap-Up: Gettysburg Still Outlawing Hugs

    February 21, 2007

    One week ago tonight, the nation’s restaurants, florists, and candy stores were overrun by citizens paying fealty to a beloved annual ritual: Valentine’s Day. Doubtless you know the drill: couples (established, would-be, erstwhile, and even those holdouts still insisting that they’re “just friends”) circle February 14th as a particularly appropriate opportunity to demonstrate their affection for one another. As a result, all of America celebrates and swoons en masse.   That is, all of America except for one small isle of awkwardness and absurdity: the campus of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania.   You see, despite FIRE’s many reproaches, Gettysburg College […]

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  • Reminder to Gettysburg College: Revise Your Policy

    November 14, 2006

    On November 3, 2006, FIRE sent a follow-up letter to Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania encouraging the school to keep its promise to rewrite its Sexual Misconduct Policy as stated in a mass e-mail sent to the student body on October 29, 2006. FIRE pointed out that the primary problem with the policy was its extraordinary overbreadth, noting that “[t]he current policy makes almost every member of the campus community a sexual offender…(it) places acts of true sexual assault in the same group as innocuous everyday acts, such as hugs without permission.”   The exact wording of the offending part of […]

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  • FIRE, Carol Iannone, and the Amy Gutmann Halloween Costume Controversy

    November 7, 2006

    On Phi Beta Cons today, Carol Iannone criticizes FIRE’s reaction to the Halloween party picture of University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann with Saad Saadi, a Penn student who dressed as a suicide bomber for Halloween. Iannone says, in part:  Contrary to the libertarian view, a good, free, ordered society does not simply proceed on its own. And I am shocked at conservatives and at FIRE for giving her a pass, and chalking up the costume to the ‘freedom’ they fear will somehow be curtailed if persons in authority are asked to stand for civil behavior, and likening the costume […]

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  • Gettysburg PR Hits Still Coming

    October 20, 2006

    People all around the country continue to think that the Gettysburg sexual misconduct policy is absurd, with the latest round of PR flak coming out of Denver, Colorado. Columnist Linda Seebach, in an excellent opinion column featured in the Rocky Mountain News, trains her guns on a policy that makes even casual contact, such as holding hands, potentially sexual misconduct. Seebach blasts away at the policy by demonstrating just how impractical it is, writing: It would be reasonable to say that if at any point one participant said “no, stop” that request must be honored. But failing to say “yes” […]

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  • No Hugs and Kisses for Gettysburg’s Sexual Misconduct Policy

    September 22, 2006

    The absurd Sexual Misconduct Policy at Gettysburg College requiring “continuing and active” “verbal” consent for all sexual acts, including touching, hugging, and kissing remains in effect and continues to garner harsh criticism from the media. Now gburgforum.com, Gettysburg’s only independent student news service, has run an editorial, written by Paul Accomando, ridiculing the policy: Aside from being completely laughable and reminiscent of policies fashioned at a middle school dance, this policy has some rather serious implications: it puts me, and I’m sure many other people on the Gettysburg College campus, on the same boat as rapists; and personally, that’s not […]

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  • ‘Know Before You Go’

    September 7, 2006

    With students heading back to school, the busy season for FIRE has started once again. This year, FIRE has more resources than ever before to help students and professors combat censorship and oppression on college campuses. From an expanded Spotlight, to the Guides to Student Rights on Campus, to our individual rights defense work, FIRE is here to ensure that liberty on campus is protected.   One of the challenging things about dealing with college students is that every few years or so you get an entirely new cohort of students who might not be familiar with their rights or […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Gettysburg President Katherine Haley Will, August 17, 2006

    August 17, 2006

    August 17, 2006 President Katherine Haley Will Office of the President Gettysburg College 300 North Washington Street Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 17325 Sent via U.S. Mail and Fascimile (717-337-6666) Dear President Will: Thank you for your response to FIRE’s April 11, 2006 letter regarding Gettysburg College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. FIRE writes again today seeking a firm commitment against the use of overbroad language in the school’s policy, which requires “continuing and active” verbal consent for all sexual encounters, including “hugging” and “kissing.” While the attempt at instituting safeguards against sexual violence at Gettysburg College is commendable, the policy’s current phrasing belittles actual […]

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  • Everyone Is a Criminal at Gettysburg College

    July 7, 2006

    While I was traveling, I somehow missed the fact that the California Daily Journal had published a column I wrote on Gettysburg College’s absurd and manifestly unfair sexual misconduct policy. I wrote: Under the policy, “consent” to sexual interaction is defined as “the act of willingly and verbally agreeing (for example, by stating ‘yes’) to engage in specific sexual conduct. If either person at any point in a sexual encounter does not give continuing and active consent, all sexual contact must cease, even if consent was given earlier.” The policy’s broad definition of sexual interaction includes not only sex acts […]

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  • ‘What Difference Can My Measly $18 Million Make?’

    June 30, 2006

    Two days ago, David French had a great post over at National Review’s Phi Beta Cons about Larry Ellison’s decision to rescind his $115 million gift to Harvard University following the Larry Summers fiasco. I have consistently been amazed at how wealthy alums give to their alma maters uncritically and almost as if they had no choice in the matter. The most extreme version of this that I have been exposed to was at a speech in New York City, when an audience member stood up and said (this is far from an exact quote, but it gets the point […]

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  • Cathy Young in ‘The Boston Globe’ on Gettysburg College

    May 22, 2006

    Check out Cathy Young’s column in today’s Boston Globe about Gettysburg College’s dangerously overbroad Sexual Misconduct policy: [T]he requirement of ensuring an explicit ‘‘yes” takes the campaign against sexual assault to a new and absurd level. For one thing, it infantilizes women (while the policies may be gender-neutral on their face, they generally presume men to be the initiators in heterosexual encounters). Are women so weak that they can’t even say ‘‘no,” or otherwise indicate their lack of consent, unless the man takes the initiative of asking? Such policies also absurdly overregulate sexual relations—particularly since they often require verbal consent […]

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  • FIRE President to Talk About Gettysburg College on Fox News Tonight

    May 17, 2006

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be featured tonight on the Fox Report with Shepard Smith at 7 p.m. ET. Fox News will be airing a segment on the overbroad sexual misconduct policy at Gettysburg College. Make sure to watch tonight to see more on the betrayal of liberty at Gettysburg College.

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  • A Striking Point About Gettysburg’s Sexual Misconduct Policy

    May 15, 2006

    Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, sent me this comment on the overbroad sexual misconduct policy at Gettysburg College. It’s worth noting that the Antioch and Gettysburg college policies requiring express consent for touching of any kind essentially treat only prostitution as an appropriate relationship, since only prostitutes and johns haggle over every touch and every specific sex act to engage in. I don’t ask my wife for permission before I hug or kiss her. And she’d die of embarrassment if I asked her explicitly in advance what she wanted to do in the bedroom. […]

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  • Gettysburg College in ‘The Philadelphia Inquirer’

    May 12, 2006

    Check out this article in The Philadelphia Inquirer about FIRE’s challenge to Gettysburg College’s absurd and unfair sexual misconduct policy. In the article, Gettysburg essentially admits that not only does the policy exist, but it is enforced.  As I said in the article, “[t]hey’re saying: ‘Yes we know we’ve written a code so broad that people will violate on a daily basis but trust us we won’t abuse it.’” It’s lunacy to trust administrators—or anyone else—with the power to punish anyone they like on the promise they won’t abuse it.  To assume such an arrangement will work in a fair […]

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  • To Hug or Not to Hug at Gettysburg College

    May 11, 2006

    To say Gettysburg College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy trivializes rape and sexual assault is to exercise extreme understatement. And yet, as detailed in today’s FIRE press release, when confronted by FIRE with such a jarring trivialization, the president of this 2,500-student college replied that it was “good practice” to draw no distinction between an unsolicited hug and forced sex, as well as to leave enforcement of such a policy to the caprice of individual university administrators. GC’s policy defines “consent” as “the act of willingly and verbally agreeing (for example, by stating ‘yes’) to engage in specific sexual conduct.” The policy […]

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  • Gettysburg College: Hug at Your Own Risk

    May 11, 2006

    GETTYSBURG, Pa., May 11, 2006—Gettysburg College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy is so broad in scope that it draws no distinction between an innocent, spontaneous hug and forcible rape. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling for the repeal of this draconian policy, which prohibits most, if not all, of the sexual and even merely affectionate relations that take place on Gettysburg’s campus. “This policy can turn almost any student at Gettysburg into a criminal,” stated FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “In its quest to rid the college of a social evil, Gettysburg has decided to make everyone guilty, leaving […]

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