Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
Freedom of expression is essential to the mission of a university. So is freedom from unreasonable and disruptive offense. Members of this educational community are encouraged to avoid putting these essential elements of our university to a balancing test.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Harassment or discrimination against individuals on the basis of race, whether subtle or blatant, is unacceptable at MIT. It will be addressed with quick and decisive action whenever it occurs. Racism and racist behavior interfere with an individual’s growth and well-being in the academic and living environments at MIT.
The Institute is committed to the elimination of racism and to the thorough handling of any allegation of racist behavior. In such situations, it will be the Institute’s aim to protect the rights of all individuals involved and to safeguard the welfare of everyone in the MIT community.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Harassment is any conduct, verbal or physical, on or off campus, that has the intent or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual or group’s educational or work performance at MIT or that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, work, or living environment. … Sexual harassment may take many forms. Sexual assault and requests for sexual favors that affect educational or employment decisions constitute sexual harassment. However, sexual harassment may also consist of unwanted physical contact, requests for sexual favors, visual displays of degrading sexual images, sexually suggestive conduct, or offensive remarks of a sexual nature.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
The Institute seeks through research and reflection to extend the boundaries of knowledge and the horizons of the human intellect. In so doing, it aims to create an atmosphere of intellectual excitement, a climate of inquiry and innovation in which each student develops a consuming interest in understanding for its own sake.
November 24, 2001
By Maxim Kniazkov at Agence France Presse» Read More
November 15, 2001
By Mary Beth Marklein at USA Today» Read More
September 5, 2014
In a guest column published in today’s edition of The Tech, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT’s) oldest student newspaper, graduate student Brian Spatocco opens with a startling admission: “Under MIT’s recently overhauled hazing policy in the Mind and Hand Book, I am guilty of hazing students.” Is Spatocco forcing his fellow students to sizzle like bacon—or something far worse? No. But under MIT’s new hazing policy, Spatocco is guilty nonetheless. And he’s not alone. Here’s the new policy’s definition of hazing: Any action or activity that causes or intends to cause physical or mental discomfort or distress, that may […]» Read More
November 26, 2013
In a column published today by The Tech, an independent student newspaper at MIT, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff explores how far colleges will go to censor controversial art on campus. Titled “When the Artist’s Brush Catches the Censor’s Eye,” Greg’s column cites numerous troubling examples, including the following from MIT: MIT students recently witnessed this type of suppression when the school painted over certain murals in the Burton-Conner dormitory. Unconventional student art can be found throughout the halls of Burton-Conner. The building is filled with “lovely, quirky, bizarre, exquisitely beautiful art,” according to Anne McCants, the dormitory’s housemaster. The censored murals, however, touched upon aspects […]» Read More
June 8, 2009
Throughout the spring semester and into the early summer, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which FIRE has given a yellow-light rating for maintaining policies that could too easily be used to suppress free speech at the university. MIT is a private university. However, it holds itself out, through its mission and objectives, as a place where students and faculty are encouraged to engage in unfettered intellectual exploration (in contrast […]» Read More