Middlebury College

Location: Middlebury, Vermont
Website: http://www.middlebury.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Middlebury 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.

This school does not have any cases at this time.

Red Light Policies

Yellow Light Policies
  • Middlebury College Handbook: Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment is defined as verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct based on or motivated by an individual’s actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, creed, color, place of birth, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or other characteristics as defined and protected by law in the location where a particular program is operating, that has the purpose or effect, from the point of view of a reasonable person, of objectively and substantially:

    a. undermining and detracting from or interfering with an individual’s educational or work performance or access to Middlebury resources; or

    b. creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, work, or living environment.

    Harassment may include repeated slurs, or taunts in the guise of jokes, or disparaging references to others, use of epithets, stereotypes, comments, gestures, threats, graffiti, display or circulation of written or visual materials, taunts on manner of speech, and negative reference to customs when such conduct is based on or motivated by one or more of the protected characteristics identified above, or other characteristics as defined and protected by applicable law.

    » Read More

  • Middlebury College Handbook: Responsible Use of Computing and Network Facilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Abusive or threatening messages to others can be prosecuted as harassment.

    All users of our computing and networking facilities bear the responsibility to avoid libel, obscenity, undocumented allegations, attacks on personal integrity, and harassment.

    » Read More

  • Middlebury College Handbook: Student Organizations and Activities- Freedom of Inquiry and Expression 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    Student organizations bear full responsibility for arranging and financing any Department of Public Safety provisions that may be necessary in connection with controversial speakers.

    » Read More

  • Middlebury College Handbook: Demonstrations and Protests 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    Anyone who wishes to stage a demonstration or protest at any event on College property should contact and arrange a meeting with Public Safety to discuss College policy, demonstration-specific regulations, and safety issues.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
This school does not have any media coverage at this time.
  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Middlebury College

    February 8, 2013

    Today, FIRE continues our blog series on the state of free speech at America’s top 10 liberal arts colleges, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Up for discussion today is U.S. News‘ fourth-ranked liberal arts college, Middlebury College. Like third-ranked Swarthmore College, Middlebury receives a “red light” rating, which means that it maintains at least one policy (in Middlebury’s case, two policies) that both clearly and substantially prohibits what would otherwise be protected expression. Although Middlebury is private, its College Handbook states that “The College recognizes that its students are citizens of larger communities—local, state, and federal—and should […]

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  • Middlebury Update: Students Guilty, But No Punishment for Hoax Press Release

    November 5, 2012

    After a six-hour hearing in front of more than 250 students, faculty, and staff members, Middlebury College will not punish the five students responsible for sending out a hoax press release in advance of a recent visit from the Dalai Lama. However, the students were found guilty of violating two Middlebury policies and will receive a reprimand, as MiddBlog reports:  [The Middlebury Community Judicial Board] found the students guilty of violating the Community Standard of communicating with honesty and integrity in the College Handbook, and the “ethical and law-abiding behavior” clause in the Library and Information Services (LIS) policy. However, their […]

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  • At Middlebury, Embarrassing the Administration Has a Cost

    October 30, 2012

    Middlebury College, a private institution in Vermont, has decided to teach its students a lesson about the cost of dissent and the danger of criticizing the powers that be.  Here’s the story in a nutshell: Earlier this month, the Dalai Lama visited Middlebury, and in advance of his visit, local media outlets received a press release that appeared to be from Middlebury. The release, which contained Middlebury’s logo and purported to be from “Tim Schornak” of the “Dalai Lama Welcoming Committee,” trumpeted eye-catching news:  “Middlebury College Divests from War in Honor of Dalai Lama Visit.” The lead paragraphs, complete with […]

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  • ‘MiddBlog’ on Middlebury College’s Double Standard

    February 9, 2011

    MiddBlog, an “alternative news and events blog for Middlebury College students,” has picked up on Sam’s arguments about the college’s new videos featuring fictional character “Aunt Des.” The character, described by The Chronicle of Higher Education as “a redheaded, acrylic-nailed caricature of a Greek-American New Jerseyite,” stars in a new series of videos encouraging Middlebury students not to steal dishes from dining facilities. As Sam pointed out on Monday, the use of the stereotype violates the college’s overbroad harassment policy, which bans the use of “stereotypes,” “circulation of written or visual materials,” “taunts on manner of speech, and negative reference […]

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  • Middlebury College Administration Violates Its Own Speech Code

    February 7, 2011

    According to Middlebury College’s Anti-Harassment Policy, prohibited harassment may include the use of “stereotypes,” “circulation of written or visual materials,” “taunts on manner of speech, and negative reference to customs” on the basis of, among other things, “place of birth, ancestry, ethnicity” and “national origin.” What, then, can we make of Middlebury’s new video campaign aimed at ending dishware theft on campus? The campaign, which was profiled last week by The Chronicle of Higher Education, is a series of videos featuring the fictional “Aunt Des,” described by the Chronicle as “a redheaded, acrylic-nailed caricature of a Greek-American New Jerseyite who’s hell-bent […]

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  • May 2009: Middlebury College

    May 4, 2009

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for May 2009: Middlebury College in Vermont. Middlebury’s ironically named policy on Freedom of Inquiry and Expression provides that Student organizations bear full responsibility for arranging and financing any Department of Public Safety provisions that may be necessary in connection with controversial speakers. The policy further states: The Deans’ offices and [Center for Campus Activities and Leadership] also have the right to specify security measures to the organizations as seem appropriate. If the College, through the offices of the deans, CCAL or the president, judges that security arrangements are inadequate and that […]

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  • Middlebury’s President on the ‘Value of Discomfort’

    June 5, 2007

    At Middlebury College’s commencement last week, President Ronald D. Liebowitz delivered the 2007 Baccalaureate Address to the school’s graduating seniors, as is customary around this time of year in central Vermont. Rather than reciting the all-too-common collage of clichés reprised in so many graduation speeches, however, President Liebowitz used his bully pulpit to focus on what he terms the “value of discomfort” in a modern liberal arts education. Specifically, in observing that “[d]iversity sure can be messy,” Liebowitz argues that “well-educated individuals like yourselves, who have been made to feel uncomfortable and understand difference, are more likely than others to […]

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  • Due Process at Middlebury

    June 3, 2005

    The Village Voice had an interesting article recently about a senior at Middlebury College who was expelled from school for allegedly entering a classmate’s dorm room without permission. The article highlights one of the major problems at many American colleges and universities: the complete lack of due process—one of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution—in university judicial systems.

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