Location: Princeton, New Jersey
Federal Circuit: 3rd Circuit
Princeton 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.
April 19, 2005
Princeton Faith and Action, a student organization at Princeton University, was given recognition after being arbitrarily denied such. PFA is associated with the Christian Union, an off-campus ministry serving Ivy League universities whose own request to apply to have a full-time chaplain on campus was rejected by Dean of Religious Life Thomas Breidenthal. After being blocked from reserving spaces on campus through an existing recognized Christian student group, students organized PFA in order to hold activities independently. When they approached the student government to apply for official recognition, however, student government officials explained that because their group was religious in […]» Read More
Red Light Policies
When using the campus technologies or access to network technologies provided by the University, or in any other venue in which you are acting as an agent of the University, you must refrain from creating and sending, posting, or displaying, or causing to be sent or posted, or displayed, or assisting to create and send or cause to be sent, posted, or displayed, any malicious, harassing, or defamatory messages or statements regarding another person, via email, instant message, text message, Twitter or voice mail, by posting to message boards, mailing lists, social networks or newsgroups, by posting to the World Wide Web or Google Plus, by issuing as a virtual reality avatar, or by inclusion in a video produced for broadcast via the campus network, TigerTV, or YouTube or similar service.
You must be sensitive to the public nature of shared facilities, and take care not to display on workstations in such locations inappropriate images, sounds or messages which could create an atmosphere of menace or harassment for others.
You also must refrain from transmitting to others in any location inappropriate images, sounds or messages that are clearly threatening, hostile, or harassing in contradiction to the code of civility defined in RRR.
Listed below are examples of behavior that can constitute sexual harassment. The list is not all-inclusive; in addition, each situation must be considered in light of the specific facts and circumstances to determine if sexual harassment has occurred. * Pressure for sexual activity or sexual favors; * Unwelcome touching of a person’s body, hair or clothing; * Unwelcome sexual jokes or comments (including favorable comments about someone’s gender, body, clothing, appearance, etc.); * Disparaging remarks to a person about his/her gender or body; * Asking about a person’s sexual fantasies or sexual activities; * Repeatedly asking for a date after the person has said no; * Nonverbal behavior, such as making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements; * Displaying sexually explicit posters or pictures; and * Electronic communications, such as e-mail, text messaging and internet use, that violate this Policy.
Listed below are examples of behavior that can constitute [discriminatory] harassment. The list is not all-inclusive; in addition, each situation must be considered in light of the specific facts and circumstances
to determine if harassment has occurred.
* Unwelcome jokes or comments about a legally protected characteristic (e.g., racial or ethnic
* Disparaging remarks to a person about a legally protected characteristic (e.g., negative or
offensive remarks or jokes about a person’s religion or religious garments);
* Displaying negative or offensive posters or pictures about a legally protected characteristic;
* Electronic communications, such as e-mail, text messaging and internet use, that violate this
Rights, Rules, Responsibilities: University-Wide Regulations- Distribution of Written Materials by Members of the University Community 13-14
Anonymous public postings without sponsorship of a registered University organization shall be removed or deleted if a complaint by a member of the University is lodged with the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students or the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School.
Rights, Rules, Responsibilities: University-Wide Regulations- Peaceful Dissent, Protests and Demonstrations 12-13
All individuals and groups planning to engage in activities of the sort described in the previous paragraph should seek approval from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students. … In asking groups and individuals to seek prior approval for schedule and location, the University’s goal is not to restrict free speech or peaceable assembly. Rather, it is to give the University the opportunity to provide space that accommodates the reasonable needs of both the University community and those engaged in acts of speech or protest. The University reserves the right to determine the time, place, and manner of all such activities.
The University reserves the right to refuse permission to use a particular area for protests or demonstrations, including those on the designated area list. When such a decision is reached, the University will provide reasons when asked.
Sexually Inappropriate Conduct: Unwelcome sexual conduct that may not rise to the level of sexual harassment or sexual exploitation, but that is sexual in nature. Examples may include: obscene or sexually offensive gestures and comments; and lewdness.
The central purposes of a University are the pursuit of truth, the discovery of new knowledge through scholarship and research, the teaching and general development of students, and the transmission of knowledge and learning to society at large. Free inquiry and free expression within the academic community are indispensable to the achievement of these goals.
Rights, Rules, Responsibilities: University-Wide Regulations- Discrimination, Bias, or Harassment (Based on a Protected Characteristic) 13-14
At Princeton University, unlawful harassment is defined as unwelcome verbal or physical behavior that is directed at a person because of his/her race, creed, color, sex, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, veteran’s status, marital or domestic partnership status, affectional or sexual orientation or other classification protected by applicable law, when these behaviors are sufficiently severe and/or pervasive to have the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational experience, working conditions, or living conditions by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.
Rights, Rules, Responsibilities: University-Wide Regulations- Peaceful Dissent, Protests and Demonstrations 13-14
Free speech and peaceable assembly are basic requirements of the University as a center for free inquiry and the search for knowledge and insight.
September 11, 2008
by Michael Davidson The Daily Princetonian Over the past three years at Princeton, every time I saw another student publication at my door, a demonstration in front of Frist, or heard of our administration’s continued support for the academic freedom of Peter Singer, I became more confident that our marketplace of ideas was alive and well. I was also impressed by the appropriately restrained reaction on the part of the administration during both of the major free speech controversies that have occurred while I have been a student. First, The Daily Princetonian’s 2007 op-ed parodying then-Yale freshman Jian Li resulted […]» Read More
June 22, 2006
There may be an end in sight to the long reign of one-sided intellectual discourse on the nation’s colleges and universities. New, on-campus movements by students as well as interest from state and federal lawmakers are beginning to make headway in guaranteeing intellectual freedom for all students. According to Sara Dothan, campus director for Students for Academic Freedom (SAF), students at more than 150 campuses across the country have started SAF chapters to fight for the passage of an academic bill of rights. The organization is growing rapidly and having an impact on campuses, Dothan said. “One of the biggest […]» Read More
May 11, 2005
PRINCETON, N.J. — After being initially rebuffed by a Princeton University official, a group of evangelical Christian students who wanted access to facilities and the chance to apply for funds has won a victory. After the university’s dean of religious life refused recognition for Princeton Faith and Action, the group appealed to a campus rights group that successfully lobbied the university to change its procedures. “We found Princeton’s quick and fair response very encouraging. We’ve found other colleges who haven’t been particularly fair to religious groups, sometimes in an unconstitutional way,” said Greg Lukianoff, an official with the Philadelphia-based Foundation […]» Read More
April 17, 2003
Alan Kors, from the Adam Smith tie around his neck to the “Liberty” flag on his wall, makes no bones about his libertarianism. His files, refusing to conform to anyone’s concept of order but their own, apparently share it. “Can you believe the kid won?” Kors asks, holding up an old envelope covered in scribbled names, numbers and reminders that, along with the mountains of scrap paper, xeroxes and formal reports from which it came, once played its part in Kors’ struggle against Penn’s prosecution of Eden Jacobowitz. “This is what his defense looked like,” Kors says, spreading the piles […]» Read More
December 10, 2012
Students at Princeton University have formed a new group “to encourage campus-wide conversation and protect student speech,” The Daily Princetonian reported yesterday. The group, called Princetonians for Individual Rights in Education (PIRE for short; no affiliation with FIRE, although we are flattered that we were reportedly part of the inspiration for the group), was started by Vivienne Chen and Elan Kugelmass, two members of Princeton’s class of 2014. Such a group is sorely needed at Princeton, which makes lofty commitments to free speech but then places serious restrictions on students’ expressive rights (such as prohibiting speech or expression that “demeans” […]» Read More
April 23, 2012
This weekend, Justin Pope of the Associated Press came out with a pair of thorough and insightful articles about the “legal minefield” in which universities currently find themselves when it comes to addressing claims of sexual assault on campus. As Pope explains, Typically, colleges enjoy wide leeway in responding to student misconduct, whether that means using a disciplinary board to enforce their own rules or simply punting the matter to law enforcement. But as Title IX is now interpreted — and would be reinforced under a new version of the Violence Against Women Act awaiting a Senate vote — colleges […]» Read More
October 26, 2011
Check out FIRE Chairman Harvey Silverglate and Director of Speech Code Research Samantha Harris’ essay on free speech at their mutual alma mater in this week’s Princeton Alumni Weekly. Harvey and Samantha point out to Princeton alumni how their college’s policies leave today’s Princeton students subject to punishment for speaking their minds on controversial issues, or even for sending emails that administrators could deem “hostile.” In the article, Harvey and Samantha, who as alumni of Princeton are particularly concerned with free speech at the college they attended (FIRE Co-Founder Alan Charles Kors happens to be another notable alumnus), discuss what led to their writing this […]» Read More
December 10, 2009
More points were scored recently for the angry “heckler’s veto” when protesters (including at least one Princeton administrator) successfully pressured Nonie Darwish’s student hosts to cancel her speaking events at Princeton and Columbia universities. Darwish is Founder and Director of Former Muslims United. Darwish’s November 18, 2009, speech at Princeton was canceled the evening before she was scheduled to speak, according to The Daily Princetonian, because of her previously expressed views. Both student groups that were sponsoring the event, Tigers for Israel and the American Whig-Cliosophic Society (Whig-Clio), withdrew. Each group gave a different, strange reason for withdrawing. For Tigers […]» Read More
June 22, 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). We have now come to our final two universities: Princeton and Harvard. Today we review policies at my alma mater, Princeton University, which FIRE has given a red-light rating for maintaining policies that prohibit protected speech on campus. Although Princeton is private, its policies contain robust protections for free speech. The Rights, Rules, Responsibilities handbook states that The central purposes of a University are the pursuit […]» Read More
September 11, 2008
2008 FIRE summer intern Michael Davidson alerts us this morning to his op-ed in today’s edition of The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University‘s student newspaper. Mike’s opinion piece, entitled “The hidden scandal of Princeton’s speech code,” alerts the Princeton community to its designation by FIRE as a red-light school. (To earn a red-light rating, a school must have at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.) In Princeton’s case, FIRE has taken issue with the school’s overbroad harassment policy. As Mike explains, “A student can be subject to University disciplinary sanctions if their ‘abusive’ behavior ‘demeans’ […]» Read More
February 20, 2007
Yesterday’s Daily Princetonian, Princeton University’s student newspaper, carried an article well worth reading—a profile of FIRE’s own Samantha Harris, Director of Legal and Public Advocacy. Sam well deserves the honor with the outstanding work she does for FIRE. Click on the link above to read more about the person Professor Robert George calls “one of the finest students I’ve encountered in more than 20 years of teaching at Princeton.”» Read More
January 24, 2007
In a refreshing development, The Daily Princetonian joke op-ed controversy will resolve itself through campus discussion, not through administrative intervention. Even though the op-ed garnered a good amount of media attention—enough to be featured in The New York Times—administrators at Princeton have limited their involvement to a strongly worded letter to the editor. While Janet Smith Dickerson, Vice President for Campus Life, and Kathleen Deignan, Dean of Undergraduate Students, do make some statements with which I disagree (like the implication that offensive satire and parody are not “productive ways to engage an academic community,” a statement disproved by this incident), […]» Read More
May 16, 2005
Following the victory FIRE announced last week, the Daily Princetonian reported on Friday that Princeton has moved quickly to fulfill its promise to FIRE that it would make any changes necessary for its student organization recognition procedures to be consistent with student’s freedom of expression and legal equality. The article reports: Under the new policy, religious student groups with ties to faith organizations without established “campus ministries” will be considered for official student group status using the same criteria as other groups. Previously, such student groups were denied recognition. As David and Greg have highlighted in previous posts, Princeton’s swift […]» Read More
May 11, 2005
If there is one constant in modern academic censorship it is that conservative or orthodox religious groups consistently face high hurdles to recognition and campus existence. Whether administrative objections are rooted in concerns about “homophobia” or “religious discrimination” or simple distaste for “controversy”, Christian and now Muslim student organizations are facing an epidemic of attacks on basic free association rights. For a time, it looked as if Princeton University was going to join Tufts University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Rutgers University and many others in the religious liberty “hall of shame.” Princeton had denied recognition to […]» Read More