Location: Chicago, Illinois
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit
Northeastern Illinois 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.
March 8, 2005
At Northeastern Illinois University, administrators had warned the members of the College Republicans that both the students and the group would be punished if they held a campus protest against affirmative action. NEIU Dean of Students Michael Kelly e-mailed the student organization informing them that the protest would violate the school’s nondiscrimination policy. Dean Kelly wrote that “[v]iolating University rules can and will result in charges being filed,” and that “any disruption of university activities that would be caused by this event is also actionable….” FIRE wrote the school, demanding the group be allowed to stage their protest as it […]» Read More
Red Light Policies
Unauthorized uses (some of which may also constitute illegal uses) include, but are not limited to, the following:
Posting or sending … offensive material which is not related in any matter to academically approved research & learning, providing instruction or within the person’s official business capacity.
Sexual Harassment – Any unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, or any verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University activity;
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for or a factor in such decisions affecting employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University activity;
3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University activity.
Some examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
Unwanted sexual statements – sexual or “dirty” jokes, comments on physical attributes, spreading rumors about or rating others as to sexual activity or performance, talking about one’s sexual activity in front of others, and displaying or distributing sexually explicit drawings, pictures, and/or written material. Unwanted sexual statements can be made in person, in writing, electronically (email, text/picture/video messages, instant messaging, blogs, social network sites, web pages, etc.) and otherwise.
Textual/Electronic “sexting” (electronically sending messages with sexual content, including pictures and video) – sexually explicit language, harassment, cyber stalking and threats via all forms of electronic communication (e-mail, text/picture/video messages, intranet/on-line postings, blogs, instant messages and social network websites such as Facebook and Twitter).
A student is subject to University discipline for participating or conspiring in the following acts of misconduct.
Lewd, obscene, or disruptive conduct, or racial/ethnic, homophobic or other legally prohibited harassment.
Intentionally intimidating, impelling, threatening, or humiliating any member of the University community through conduct that violates the University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment.
Northeastern Illinois University exists for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students are encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.
January 14, 2009
When it comes to campus safety, fliers and signs posted on college campuses might pose an issue for some universities. Northeastern Illinois University proposed a policy in November to require protesters to submit fliers, signs and/or posters to administrators two weeks in advance before bringing them on campus. The reason behind the policy was to help the university address security concerns and be aware of what was going on in the campus community. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) thought otherwise, and due to their participation, the university withdrew the policy from consideration earlier this month. FIRE is […]» Read More
September 9, 2005
There is a chill on campus, but that’s nothing new. For decades, campus speech has been chilled by speech codes and other attempts to prevent expression that might offend. Some would like to imagine that the excesses of “political correctness” are ancient history, but repression in the name of tolerance hasn’t gone anywhere. Oppressive speech codes are not only still around—they have actually multiplied, even after numerous court decisions declared them unconstitutional. Within the past year, college students have been punished for such things as expressing a religious objection to homosexuality and arguing that corporal punishment may be acceptable. Students […]» Read More
February 13, 2014
Last month, Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) Professor Loretta Capeheart’s long-running legal battle against the institution for actions taken after her viewpoints clashed with the school’s finally ended when the two parties settled under confidential terms. As my colleague Azhar Majeed reported back in 2011, Capeheart alleged that NEIU retaliated against her defense of protesting students and her criticism of the university by denying her promotions and a faculty award. She also alleged that she was threatened with disciplinary action for her own protests against military recruitment on campus. Capeheart’s complaint included charges that NEIU violated her right to free speech […]» Read More
Victory for Freedom of Speech and Religious Liberty at Northern Illinois U; Political and Religious Organizations Finally Get Equal Treatment
April 28, 2011
After months of delay and pressure from FIRE, Northern Illinois University (NIU) has finally given political and religious organizations access to student activity fee funding. In 2010, NIU’s Student Association brazenly flouted Supreme Court precedent by discriminating against all such groups, maintaining extensive double standards, and denying recognition altogether to NIU Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) on two separate occasions. SSDP was first considered for recognition on October 24, 2010, as a “Social Justice, Advocacy, and Support” group because it advocates “that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society” and seeks “to reduce the harms […]» Read More
January 19, 2009
Ten days ago, Peter reported that a controversial and repressive “free speech zone” policy at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) has been withdrawn by NEIU President Sharon K. Hahs, who had first proposed the unconstitutional measure in November. As we have noted before on The Torch, the proposed policy was blatantly unconstitutional, demanding—among other things—a minimum of one week’s notice for NEIU community members wishing to hold events and demonstrations on campus, as well as prior approval over all materials to be displayed and distributed at such events. FIRE remains in touch with members of the NEIU faculty and Student Government […]» Read More
January 16, 2009
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) Chancellor Samuel Goldman and his administration have been a veritable one-stop shop for newsworthy content lately, as followers of The Torch this week are no doubt aware. In one of three articles penned by Adam Testa for the Southern Illinoisan, Goldman referred to FIRE as “embarrassing” SIUC into defending itself, as though its free speech crisis did not already exist, meanwhile having actually made FIRE’s requested change to SIUC’s protest policy. This prompted FIRE’s press release on SIUC’s doublespeak, to which Testa reported that the university will not respond. Goldman now asks for patience—but […]» Read More
January 9, 2009
A controversial and repressive “free speech zone” policy at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) has been withdrawn by NEIU President Sharon K. Hahs, who had first proposed the unconstitutional measure in November. In an e-mail sent on Tuesday, Hahs directed that consideration of the policy be halted: I am writing to request that the A and P [Administration and Personnel] Council and the Faculty Senate suspend their consideration of endorsement for the policy entitled “Policy Concerning Demonstrations on Campus, Distribution and Display of Visual Communications and Solicitation of Signatures on Campus,” conveyed to you on November 10, 2008. I also thank […]» Read More
December 19, 2008
Deanna Isaacs of the Chicago Reader reports troubling developments at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), a public university in Chicago. According to Isaacs, NEIU President Sharon K. Hahs has proposed instituting an unconstitutional free speech zone on the NEIU campus, with prior approval requirements that put an impermissible onus on students and faculty members seeking to exercise their constitutional rights of assembly and demonstration. FIRE has not yet seen Hahs’ proposed policy, but if Isaacs’ description is accurate the implications are breathtaking: Proposed by university president Sharon K. Hahs, the Policy Concerning Demonstrations on Campus, Distribution and Display of Visual Communications […]» Read More
October 15, 2007
As Will discussed earlier, Florida International University professor Stanley Fish argues in his latest “Think Again” column for The New York Times that campus speech codes do not present as much of a problem for students as one might think. In the process of reviewing filmmaker Evan Coyne Maloney’s Indoctrinate U, Fish argues that any negative effects that speech codes may have on the state of free speech on campus is overblown because colleges will rarely, if ever, actually enforce their speech codes. Pointing to the fact that every speech code that has been litigated in the courts has ultimately […]» Read More
December 29, 2005
FIRE’s press release from yesterday details some of the cases that made 2005 FIRE’s busiest year ever. If 2005 made anything clear, it is that no student, regardless of his or her views, is safe from censorship on today’s college and university campuses. This year, we intervened on behalf of students censored for expressing viewpoints spanning the political spectrum: Seminole Community College in Florida refused to allow a student to distribute literature from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. After FIRE intervened, the college changed course and allowed the student to distribute her literature. Northeastern Illinois University decided to […]» Read More