Location: Gambier, Ohio
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
Kenyon 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.
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
Any behavior which seriously affects the academic performance of the student or of fellow students, which offends the sensibilities of others (whether students, faculty members, or visitors), or which causes damage to the property of the College or of individuals will result in disciplinary action. Kenyon students are required at all times to show due respect and courtesy; and vulgar behavior, obscene language, or disorderly conduct are not tolerated.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome and unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when … 2) such conduct (a) has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with a student’s academic performance, (b) is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it adversely and unreasonably affects a student’s participation in or receipt of benefit from an educational program, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment; or c) otherwise adversely and unreasonably affects a student’s learning opportunities.
Sex discrimination and sexual harassment can take many forms, including but not limited to the following:
• repeated and unwanted comments that stigmatize another on the basis of one’s sex;
• subtle pressure for sexual activity;
• sexually harassing statements made through electronic communication;
• graphic comments about a person’s body;
• sexually explicit pictures or suggestive objects placed in a living or work space thata reasonable person would find offensive;
• unwanted propositions of a sexual nature, or demands for sexual favors;
• non-consensual sexual intercourse;
• non-consensual sexual contact;
• sexual exploitation;
• endangering the health of another person by exposing him or her to a sexuallytransmitted disease or condition without notifying the person in advance;
• unwanted telephone calls or e-mail with sexually explicit content.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Speech or other expression constitutes harassment if it:
- Is intended to insult or stigmatize an individual or an identifiable group of College-related individuals on the basis of their race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national/ethnic origin, or other characteristic that is intrinsic to a person’s identity, and
- Is addressed directly to or at (though not necessarily in the presence of) the individual or individuals whom it insults or stigmatizes, and
- Makes use of words or nonverbal symbols that convey hatred or contempt for human beings on the basis of their race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national/ethnic origin, or other characteristic that is intrinsic to a person’s identity. Harassment may also be constituted by nonverbal acts, which would also be punishable as, for example, vandalism, physical assault, or destruction of property
Other examples of harassment include:
- epithets or “jokes” referring to an individual’s group-based attributes;
- placement of offensive written or visual material in or on another’s living quarters or work area;
- offensive messages sent through email ….
For verbal utterances to be punishable as harassment they must fall under the precise definition stated above. They must be directed at an individual or an identifiable group of College-related individuals (for example, the Black Student Union), must be uttered with an intent to insult or stigmatize, and must not be protected under any of the exempt categories, which are listed and described below. For example, however lamentable, the telling of racist jokes is not harassment unless directed at a member of the scorned group for the purpose of insulting or stigmatizing that person by his or her group membership. Similarly, group libel (e.g., “all Jews …”), however revolting, is not harassment by this definition if it is not directed at particular individuals or an identifiable group of College-related individuals.
Speech that conveys reasoned opinion, principled conviction, or speculation is not harassment. For example, the assertions that “all whites are racist” or “affirmative action is wrong” or “Christians are foolish to believe …” are not harassment. Of course, the mere claim of engagement in reasoned opinion is not sufficient to lift the charge of harassment.
Political commentary and satire are not harassment. For example, satirical comments about the Laramie Project are not harassment. Putting a Confederate flag on one’s own door would also not be harassment, however offensive it might be deemed by many. Again, the mere claim of political commentary or satire cannot excuse what is really harassment.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
Do not use computing resources for any activity which may intimidate, harass or threaten others.
January 21, 2014
by Alec Torres The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual report on college-campus speech codes last week finding that while the percentage of colleges that seriously infringe upon students’ free-speech rights has diminished in recent years, many universities still burden students with overbearing and sometimes ridiculous speech regulations. Here’s a look at some of the most egregious speech codes that FIRE found: The University of Connecticut requires that “every member of the University shall refrain from actions that intimidate, humiliate, or demean persons or groups, or that undermine their security or self-esteem.” At Athens State University in Alabama, […]» Read More
December 9, 2013
Over the weekend, Wall Street Journal editorial board member James Taranto penned a piece about one Auburn University student’s treatment by the campus judiciary following another student’s allegation that he committed sexual assault. Joshua Strange faced two separate systems. In the criminal court system, a grand jury failed even to find probable cause to prosecute him, despite the fact that probable cause is a very low bar to pass. Yet in the campus court system, using the same information available to the grand jury, the school found Strange guilty under the “preponderance of evidence” evidentiary standard. The finding resulted in Strange’s expulsion from Auburn. […]» Read More