Lehigh University

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

Speech Code Rating

Lehigh 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.

Red Light Policies

  • Library and Technology Services: Policies on the Use of Computer Systems and Facilities 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Examples of prohibited uses include, but are not limited to, the following: … Placing the following types of information or software on any Computer System or Facility or on any system connected directly to the Computer Systems and Facilities … That which is abusive, profane, or sexually offensive to the average person.

    Harassment may include but is not necessarily limited to sending annoying, threatening, libelous, or sexually, racially, or religiously offensive messages through electronic means.

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  • Policy on Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    A Hostile Work, Learning, Co-curricular, Social or Living Environment occurs when a member of the Lehigh University community or a guest is subjected to unwelcome statements, jokes, gestures, pictures, touching, or other conducts that offend, demean, harass, or intimidate. Harassment includes offensive verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance, or has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. The violating conduct may involve a very serious and offensive event, or may involve persistent harassing behavior.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • University Social Policy 13-14

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

    Party themes and behavior should not be sexually, racially, religiously or otherwise offensive, and should not promote the irresponsible use of alcohol.

    Reference to drinking or to alcoholic beverages may not be made in any advertising or promotion of social events. Prohibited are words, pictures, or drawings that denote or connote alcoholic beverages or the drinking of alcoholic beverages, or both. Party themes (alcohol and non-alcohol) and behavior should not be sexually, racially, religiously or otherwise offensive.

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  • Office of the Vice Provost: Building a Community of Respect 13-14

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

    An act of hostility or harassment is any conduct or act that targets a person or group based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, disability or veteran status and may include bias motivated incidents, hate crimes, harassment, or discrimination.

    Acts of hostility or harassment based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, national or ethnic origin, disability or veteran status are not acceptable and are inconsistent with the fundamental values of the university. Such actions will not be tolerated and will be addressed swiftly.

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  • Guidelines for Cultural and Social Events 13-14

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

    Cultural and social choices reflect for good or ill on the entire Lehigh community. Hence, members of the Lehigh community must not knowingly offend by their choices significant sectors of the University.

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  • Student Handbook: University Conduct System- Expectations of Conduct 13-14

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

    Lehigh University expects that all students will act in a civil manner that reflects maturity, social responsibility, and respect towards others and the Lehigh Community.

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  • Diversity and Inclusion: The Principles of Our Equitable Community 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience

    Every member of our community has a personal responsibility to acknowledge and practice the following basic principles: … We confront and reject discrimination in all its forms, including that based on age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economics, veteran status, or any differences that have been excuses for misunderstanding, dissension, or hatred. … We affirm academic freedom within our community and uphold our commitment to the highest standards of respect, civility, courtesy, and sensitivity toward every individual.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Associated Policies- Policy on Freedom of Thought, Inquiry and Expression, and Dissent by Students 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Free inquiry and free speech and expression, including the right to open dissent, are indispensable in achieving the goals of an academic community. Lehigh University students and student organizations are free to discuss all topics and questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately. Students and student organizations have the freedom to hold a demonstration (including a rally, gathering, protest, parade or procession) on campus as an expression of support or dissent. The right to protest is integral to the freedom of dissent and to a community grounded on freedom of thought, inquiry and expression.

    » Read More

  • Policy on Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Lehigh University upholds the principles of academic freedom and free speech.

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  • Student Organization, Group and Activity Policies: Guest Speakers 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    The University affirms open inquiry and free discussion as necessary provisions for students’ freedom to learn.

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  • Ninth Circuit: School, Employer Terms of Use Are Not the Law

    April 12, 2012

    On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an en banc decision (.PDF) in United States v. Nosal, affirming a federal district court’s dismissal of several counts of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). At The Volokh Conspiracy, law professor Orin Kerr has been following this case closely for a few years, and in a recent post he highlights the broad importance of the Ninth Circuit’s decision, which was authored by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. The decision holds that violating employee restrictions on workplace computer use is not criminalized by the CFAA. Why […]

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  • FIRE’s Free Speech Victory at Duke Highlighted in ‘Morning Call’

    April 8, 2010

    The Morning Call (Allentown, PA) ran an op-ed last Saturday highlighting FIRE’s successful work defending freedom of expression against censorship by the Women’s Center at Duke University and in other cases. Charles D. Snelling writes: I belong to an organization called FIRE — Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — that is a vitally needed defender of free speech, which is under assault in many if not most colleges and universities. Readers may remember the infamous order at Lehigh University after 9/11 that the American flag would not be displayed on the college’s buses. [link added] Nor is this sort of outrage a rarity. Just last week, […]

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  • Lehigh Student Paper Gets FIRE Wrong

    March 2, 2010

    Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Speech Code Research, has an excellent letter-to-the-editor in today’s edition of The Brown and White, Lehigh University’s student newspaper. Sam’s letter responds to student reporter Dani Todd’s article published last Friday about Lehigh’s red-light rating in FIRE’s speech code database, Spotlight: The Campus Freedom Resource. Sam responds to comments by Professor Kathleen Olson, who inferred that FIRE makes no distinction between public universities, which are bound by the First Amendment, and private universities, which are not. Specifically, Professor Olson said that, “I think there is room, however, to differentiate between private universities, who have perfectly […]

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  • Bucknell Alumnus Prefers Rival Lehigh on Free Speech

    October 20, 2009

    Bucknell University alumnus Charles Mitchell has a strong piece in today’s Morning Call (Allentown, PA) regarding the administration’s wrongheaded censorship of political activity by the Bucknell University Conservatives Club (BUCC). Because of Bucknell’s actions, the school is on FIRE’s Red Alert list, which warns students to think twice before applying for admission to Bucknell if they value free speech. Mitchell, who also is a trustee of the Alliance for a Better Bucknell, concludes that despite a healthy rivalry between his alma mater and Lehigh University, Lehigh is the winner when it comes to free speech: [I read in] Lehigh’s student […]

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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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