Location: Newport, Kentucky
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
Northern Kentucky 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
Sexual Harassment is * unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is, * sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it, * has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying or limiting someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities, and is * based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.
Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; using language that creates a hostile environment for another person; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.
Intentionally or recklessly causing physical or emotional harm to any person, including self, on University property or at University-sponsored activities off campus, and includes intentionally or recklessly causing reasonable apprehension of such harm.
January 30, 2013
Introducing Arun Smith, heroic censor. Last week at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, this student tore down a “free speech wall” display that a libertarian student group had set up on campus. Such displays usually take the form of a large, blank sheet of paper on which students are invited to write anything they like. Student groups sponsor the displays as a way of demonstrating that universities need not fear open expression. In a self-congratulatory letter,also posted publicly on Facebook, Smith explained that his vigilante censorship was a “moral imperative” because the wall created the potential for “hate speech,” and asserted that […]» Read More
January 31, 2007
How much does it take to get free speech? Apparently decades, because it has taken nearly two of them for Northern Kentucky University to review its free-expression policy. I was astounded to hear that a review, done by Student Affairs and Legal Affairs, showed a 17-year gap in the revision of the policy. Seventeen years—that’s how long it’s been since NKU’s free-expression policy was last updated. I was also troubled to find out that NKU’s speech code rating on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s Web site is still a blaring red, but so are many of the colleges […]» Read More
February 22, 2006
Four Syracuse University students punished for trashing their teacher on Facebook.com joined the growing number of students nationally whose school has held them accountable for what they put on the Internet. “Criticism can be considered a matter of free speech. In this particular situation it was the content, and the content was considered as being reviewable as a possible violation of the university code of student conduct,” said Kevin Morrow, speaking for SU. “The language and the phrasing of these Facebook postings were extreme.” Some students use Facebook.com as their personal diary. They post pictures and information such as their […]» Read More
May 1, 2012
“Forget about fraternity rush, spring break, and cramming for exams,” FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley writes this week in The Daily Caller. “The students and faculty of Northern Kentucky University (NKU) have brought a disturbing new tradition to campus: justifying the destruction of pro-life displays as ‘freedom of speech.’” Robert notes that since at least 2006, pro-life student organization Northern Right to Life has had its public displays vandalized by vigilante censors. In 2006, a professor actually encouraged her students to express their views against the display by becoming destructive vandals. This year, a student followed suit after he […]» Read More
April 18, 2012
Hopefully the experiences of four Northern Kentucky University students arrested for vandalizing the display of a pro-life student group will serve as another useful lesson to those on campus who still think that destroying the expression of other students is a legitimate act of First Amendment expression. The student group in question here is Northern Right to Life, which according to KyPost.com set up a display which “consisted of baby clothes on a line with a red ‘x’ through every fourth one.” A spokesperson for the student group said the “x” was supposed to represent “that every fourth baby is […]» Read More
April 1, 2011
A recent article in The Northerner, of Northern Kentucky University (NKU), reports that an art display has been moved from its place in an NKU library after administrators received complaints over its depiction of a member of the Ku Klux Klan. More specifically, the work is an award-winning triptych of images by NKU professor Hanz Schellhas titled “First Class, Second Class,” which the professor created during his days as a student at NKU as a critique of modern race relations. An NKU website describes the motivation and methodology of the piece: Based on his own experience working for social justice in Cincinnati, […]» Read More
January 26, 2011
When discussing the possibility of increased restrictions on the rights of uninvited, non-college-affiliated speakers at Northern Kentucky University (NKU), Dean of Students Jeffrey Waple told student government officials, “[t]hat’s the problem with free speech, guys.” According to the The Northerner, an independent student newspaper at NKU, Waple was responding to concerns some students had expressed about the potentially offensive nature of others’ speech. The Northerner reports that Waple “said that, although that speech may be offensive to some listeners, the speaker is probably entitled to say it and the university cannot usually engage in censoring the content of a visitor’s speech.” […]» Read More
May 10, 2007
We mentioned last week here on The Torch that Northern Kentucky University (NKU) had revised its free expression policies at the behest of committed students like Alex Kindell. Alex played a crucial role in organizing NKU students, raising awareness about the importance of free expression on campus, and galvanizing student support. Since Alex’s experience is exactly the kind of change we’d like FIRE’s recently launched Campus Freedom Network (CFN) to help students recreate at universities across the country, we thought it would be appropriate to ask her for her thoughts after the stunning success she helped bring about at […]» Read More
May 15, 2006
As we reported on the Torch last month, Sally Jacobsen, then a professor at Northern Kentucky University (NKU), turned the concept of free speech on its head by encouraging students in one of her classes to “express their freedom-of-speech rights” by destroying an anti-abortion display erected by an NKU student group. NKU responded quickly to Professor Jacobsen’s appalling act of censorship by placing her on leave from the university. Now, things have gotten even worse for Jacobsen. The Louisville Courier-Journal reported yesterday that Jacobsen has been charged with criminal solicitation for encouraging her students to commit criminal mischief and theft […]» Read More
April 19, 2006
The president of Northern Kentucky University has acted commendably in response to a serious threat to the free speech rights of students. Last week, NKU professor Sally Jacobsen encouraged a group of her students to destroy an anti-abortion display erected by the university’s right-to-life student organization. Photographs published by local media indicate that Professor Jacobsen actually took part in the destruction as well. In a public statement, university president James Votruba announced today that “Professor Jacobsen has been removed from her remaining classes and placed on leave from the University.” He stated that Jacobsen’s “actions were inconsistent with Northern […]» Read More
April 17, 2006
Today, the Cincinnati Enquirer published an editorial concerning an incident at Northern Kentucky University (NKU) where a professor invited a class “to express their freedom-of-speech rights” to destroy a “Cemetery of Innocents,” an anti-abortion display consisting of 400 crosses and a sign explaining its purpose. The editorial is right on point in saying: Northern Kentucky University professor Sally Jacobsen overstepped her own rights and arrogantly stomped on the First Amendment rights of others when she invited students in her class to demolish an approved anti-abortion display on campus. As a teacher she has much to learn. Her own “outrage” at […]» Read More
April 14, 2006
After nearly five years of dealing with all the terrible and often absurd abuses of free speech in higher education, I am a hard person to shock, but hats off to professor Sally Jacobsen of Northern Kentucky University (NKU) for showing me the most perverted inversion of the concept of free speech I have seen in a long time. Jacobsen, a professor at NKU, invited students in one of her classes to “to express their freedom-of-speech rights to destroy [an anti-abortion] display if they wished to.” The anti-abortion display had been erected by an NKU student group with permission from […]» Read More