Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit
Northeastern 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
The Appropriate Use Policy specifically prohibits the use of Northeastern University’s information systems or facilities to: Harass, threaten, defame, slander, or intimidate any individual or group; Generate and/or spread intolerant or hateful material, which in the sole judgment of the University is directed against any individual or group, based on race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, genetic makeup, or disability; Transmit or make accessible material, which in the sole judgment of the University is offensive, violent, pornographic, annoying, or harassing, including use of Northeastern information systems to access and/or distribute obscene or sexually explicit material unrelated to University-sanctioned work or bona fide scholarship ….
Examples include, but are not limited to, disruptive behavior in the classroom, public urination, yelling, or use of profanity.
a. Verbal, written, graphic, or electronic abuse. b. Harassment (defined as repeated and/or continuing behavior), coercion, or intimidation of an individual or group, either directly and/or indirectly or on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or veteran status. c. Bullying, defined as the repeated use of written, verbal or electronic expression and/ or communication and/or a verbal, electronic or physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a member of the University community that (i) causes physical, psychological and/or emotional harm to a University community member or damage to his/her property; (ii) places a University community member in reasonable fear of harm to him/herself or damage to his/her property; or (iii) creates a hostile, threatening, intimidating, humiliating or abusive environment [at the University] for a University community member or substantially interferes with his/her educational performance, opportunities or benefits. For purposes of this section, bullying may include, but is not limited to: social exclusion or isolation, humiliation or degradation, threats, intimidation, harassment, stalking, theft and/or damage/destruction of property, or the perpetuation of any of the conduct listed in this section by inciting, soliciting or coercing others to demean, embarrass, humiliate, or cause emotional, psychological or physical harm to a member of the University community.
Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion: Sexual Harassment Policy- Examples of Sexual Harassment 13-14
Examples of sexual harassment:
- Sexual comments or remarks about your body, your hair, your clothing
- Sexual jokes in the classroom or workplace
- Physical gestures such as stroking your hair or arm, massaging your shoulders, kissing you or rubbing, touching or brushing against your body
- Verbal harassment such as the use of names like “broad,” “bitch,” “bimbo” when referring to a specific woman or to women in general ….
As citizens and as members of an academic community, students enjoy the same basic rights and are bound by the same responsibilities as all citizens.
Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion: Sexual Harassment Policy- What is Sexual Harassment? 13-14
Sexual harassment is defined as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or academic environment.
The University supports as fundamental to the democratic process the rights of all members of the University community to express their views and to protest actions or opinions with which there is disagreement. A university is where individuals express diverse ideas and viewpoints in an atmosphere free of any physical force.
September 5, 2013
Students are moving into dorms, apartments and houses, getting ready for the new school year, but a debate over free speech last semester still lingers at Northeastern University, where a group of pro-Palestinian students says administrators have stifled its free speech.Back in April, the group Students for Justice in Palestine staged a walkout of a presentation by Israeli soldiers inside a lecture hall at Northeastern. Their goal, they say, was to protest human rights abuses in the Middle East. More than 20 students marched out. Some captured video with their smartphones. Others heckled the soldiers, calling them criminals."They’re not welcome […]» Read More
November 30, 2012
‘At Stanford, I took every human rights class that was offered, every First Amendment class, and in addition to that, for six additional credits, I did an independent study on the origins of the prior restraint doctrine of Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. That’s how much of a nerd I am about this stuff.’ Greg Lukianoff lets out a big hearty laugh, before adding, ‘And I really enjoyed that last one’. There is no doubting Lukianoff’s passion for the principles of liberty. In 2006, he was made president of the Foundation for Individual Rights […]» Read More
November 16, 2012
At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—”a bizarre, parallel dimension,” as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. Mr. Lukianoff, a 38-year-old Stanford Law grad, has spent the past decade fighting free-speech battles on college campuses. The latest was last week at Fordham University, where President Joseph McShane scolded College Republicans for the sin of inviting Ann Coulter to speak. […]» Read More
June 20, 2007
After reading the concerns of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a non-profit organization that advocates for civil liberties, voiced about how the university is violating our privacy and freedom of speech I couldn’t help but wonder how hypocritical the issue seemed. On one hand, I understood why the university has to monitor e-mail servers and university computers to maintain a certain level of safety and order on campus and to protect us from harassment, identity theft and such. On the other, I was mesmerized to see that the same process is not used in all aspects of […]» Read More
June 6, 2007
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a non-profit organization that advocates for civil liberties in academia, recently placed Northeastern on its watch list and has argued that several of Northeastern’s policies restrict free speech on campus. In an op-ed published May 21 in the New York Post, FIRE berated the university for enforcing campus speech codes that it said limit free expression otherwise protected by the First Amendment. FIRE’s op-ed, authored by the organization, called the university “the self-appointed arbiter of good taste” and cited a section of the Northeastern’s Appropriate Use Policy (AUP) that prohibits the use […]» Read More
May 21, 2007
How would you feel if you got in trouble not for telling an off-color joke, but simply for laughing at one? Sounds inconceivable, right? Not at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where school policy prohibits not only “inconsiderate jokes” but also “inappropriately directed laughter.” Not only won’t they let you tell certain jokes, they promise to punish you for finding them funny. Drexel is not alone in its prohibition of what can only be described as typical college student interaction. Northeastern University in Boston, apparently the self-appointed arbiter of good taste, prohibits sending any e-mail message “which in the sole judgment […]» Read More
August 12, 2013
Earlier this summer on The Torch, we reported on a controversy at Northeastern University surrounding the school’s requirement that student organizations obtain a permit at least seven days in advance of campus protests. After the student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) was sanctioned for a walkout-style demonstration at a talk by Israeli soldiers, some questioned whether the school’s response was motivated more by SJP’s message than by their failure to obtain a permit. Last Wednesday, SJP and supporters of the group staged a protest against what they say was selective enforcement of the policy. But as FIRE’s Will […]» Read More
June 13, 2013
Protest Sign - Shutterstock Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham wrote today to criticize Northeastern University’s inconsistent handling of student protests by pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian students. The controversy centers on Northeastern’s requirement that student groups obtain a permit at least seven days in advance of protests. But Abraham questions whether the requirement was the real reason for sanctioning the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and whether such a requirement should even exist. In April, members of SJP staged a quickly-executed walkout at a presentation by Israeli soldiers and were placed on probation by the university ostensibly for not obtaining a permit. Northeastern […]» Read More
June 13, 2007
In response to my blog entry about Northeastern’s speech code, Northeastern undergraduate Daniel Kamyck sent us the following comment: While I enjoy keeping aware of FIRE’s work across the country, and though I support the defense of individual rights in an academic setting, I’m disappointed that FIRE has chosen to ridicule the Acceptable Use Policy at Northeastern University. As an undergraduate student, I support the existing policy. I think it’s quite silly that you’ve declared, by your measure, that most students at Northeastern would support having this policy rescinded. More likely, most reasonable students here, constituting the majority, would […]» Read More
June 8, 2007
Northeastern University’s student newspaper, The Northeastern News, recently did a feature story on Northeastern’s Appropriate Use Policy, which makes punishable any e-mail “which in the sole judgment of the University is offensive.” FIRE was so appalled by this policy that we named it our February 2007 Speech Code of the Month, and now it seems to have caught the concerned eye of Northeastern students as well. According to the article, FIRE’s concern over censorship at Northeastern is warranted: In recent years there has been at least one case of censorship under the AUP. In September 2005, university administrators […]» Read More
May 21, 2007
Our weekly Campus Alert column in the New York Post focuses today on speech codes at Drexel University, Northeastern University, and Johns Hopkins University—all of which have been named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for banning constitutionally protected expression on their respective campuses. Drexel, which was given the dubious honor of being recognized as FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for September 2006, prohibits not only “inconsiderate jokes,” but also “inappropriately directed laughter.” So students can be punished not only for telling a joke some may find offensive, but also merely for laughing at one. Not so funny […]» Read More