Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Location: New Brunswick, New Jersey
Website: http://www.rutgers.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Rutgers University – New Brunswick has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

  • Rutgers University: Bias Investigation of Satirical Newspaper

    April 20, 2012

    In April 2011, as part of its annual April Fools’ edition, Rutgers student satire publication The Medium published a fake editorial titled “What about the good things Hitler did?”, jokingly attributed to another student columnist known on campus for his frequent commentary on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick denounced the article and announced that the school had launched an investigation of its publication as a possible “bias incident.” Just days after FIRE sent a letter to Rutgers airing our concerns and hours after FIRE publicized the investigation, Rutgers notified FIRE that the administration would not punish The […]

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  • Rutgers University: Refusal to Allow Christian Clubs to Require Christian Leadership

    December 27, 2002

    The InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship at Rutgers University was banned from campus because of its rule that "leaders must seek to adhere to biblical standards and belief in all areas of their lives." Rutgers ruled that allowing a religious student group to select its leadership on the basis of religion constituted discrimination. FIRE wrote to the president of Rutgers, to the members of the Board of Trustees and Board of Governors, and to the university’s major donors, urging the administration to undo the damage to the Fellowship. FIRE Legal Network attorney David A. French also filed a lawsuit against Rutgers […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Harassment is conduct directed toward an individual or group based on one or more protected categories. Such conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter an individual’s employment conditions, or a student’s educational opportunities which, in turn, creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment for employment, education, or participation in university activities.

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  • On-Campus Event Promotion Guide: Public Forums 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, Statement

    Designated Free Speech Area Locations:

    College Avenue Campus - A designated free speech area is located on the steps between the main entrance of Brower Commons Dining Hall and Stonier Hall on College Avenue. The space also extends back to the Records Hall courtyard.

    Cook Campus - A designated free speech area is located in the middle of the Newell Apartments.

    Livingston Campus - A designated free speech area is located on the patio of the Livingston Student Center.

    Douglass Campus - A designated free speech area is the patio and grass area on the Nichol Avenue side of the Douglass Campus Center.

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  • Policy Against Verbal Assault, Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying, and Defamation 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Any of the following acts, even if communicative in nature, are prohibited "separation offenses" (charges that could lead to suspension or expulsion from the university) under the provisions of the University Code of Student Conduct:
    1. Use of force against the person or property of any member of the university community or against the person or property of anyone on university premises, or the threat of such physical abuse. (Verbal assault may be prosecuted as a "threat of...physical abuse.")

    ...

    3. Bullying, intimidation, and harassment: a person acts with the purpose to bully, intimidate, and harass
    another by:
    * Making, or causing to be made, a communication or communications (including the use of
    electronic and/or social media) anonymously or at extremely inconvenient hours, or in
    offensively coarse language, or any other manner likely to cause annoyance or alarm; or
    * Subjecting another to striking, kicking, shoving, or other offensive touching, or threatening to do
    so; or
    * Engaging in any other course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose
    to alarm or seriously annoy such other person,
    such that the behavior substantially disrupts or interferes with the orderly operation of the institution or
    the rights of other students to participate in or benefit from the educational program.

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Green Light Policies
  • Commence the Firestorms

    April 6, 2014

    By Susan Snyder at The Philadelphia Inquirer Since Rutgers chemistry professor Robert Boikess successfully urged faculty last month to oppose Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker for her role in the Iraq war, he has been called “racist,” “liberal” – and worse. The selection of the former secretary of state has set off nothing short of a firestorm on campus with Boikess and his colleagues planning a “teach-in,” launching a website to build opposition, and filing a flurry of public records requests aimed at uncovering how Rice was invited. Student government held its own spirited debate, ultimately voting to welcome Rice. And […]

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  • Time to Put an End to ‘Disinvitation Season’

    April 1, 2014

    By Robert Shibley at National Review Online By now, many have heard about the dispute at Rutgers over its selection of Condoleezza Rice as commencement speaker. Rutgers, to its credit, is sticking to its guns. But what my colleagues at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have dubbed the annual “disinvitation season” rolls on nonetheless. The latest absurd row is over the invitation to Greg and Susan Gianforte to give commencement addresses this year at Montana Tech and at Rocky Mountain College. The Gianfortes are multi-millionaires who two years ago sold their Bozeman, Montana-based business, RightNow Technologies, to Oracle for a reported $1.5 billion. […]

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  • Cyberbullying bill would tie harassment policies to aid

    March 24, 2014

    By Jake New at eCampus News Senator introduces legislation that would require universities to adopt cyberbullying policies to be eligible for financial aid programs When Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi jumped from the George Washington Bridge in 2010, the events leading to his death were a painful reminder that cyberbullying is not confined to middle schools. Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, had used a webcam to film the freshman kissing another male student, and then invited his Twitter followers to join him for a second viewing. Clementi complained to Rutgers officials about the incident, but committed suicide a day later. Now, two U.S. […]

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  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ Begins on College Campuses

    March 14, 2014

    By Adam Kissel at Minding the Campus A college commencement is a splendid time to celebrate student achievement. But it’s “disinvitation season” again, as the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education observes: the time when intolerant students and faculty advocate against their school’s choice of commencement speaker, sometimes causing the speaker to be disinvited. These power-hungry protesters demonstrate how little they have learned about tolerance in a diverse society where people say and do things that others dislike. And all too often, as at Harvard and at Rutgers, they have learned this intolerance from their own professors. Is former New York mayor […]

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  • Campus Left to Christians, Conservatives: Shut Up!

    December 24, 2005

    By Mark Tapscott at Townhall.com Scratch many of the administrators in charge on American campuses these days and you often find a neo-Stalinist who has no hesitation about suppressing views that deviate from leftist orthodoxy. If you doubt me, try supporting Christianity or conservatism in a public way in the ivy covered groves of American academe. Take California State University at San Bernadino, for example, where administrators refuse to charter the Christian Students Association because the group thinks its members should be professing Christians. Imagine that! The group ‘would not be required to admit members who did not support the […]

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  • Conformity on campus

    December 18, 2004

    This fall four new studies of professors’ political attitudes showed a large tilt to the left: • Daniel Klein, an economics professor and researcher at Santa Clara University and Stockholm University, surveyed more than 1,000 professors around the United States and found Democrats outnumbering Republicans at least 7-1 in the humanities and social sciences, with departments such as anthropology and sociology coming in at about 30-1. • In a separate study of voter registration records, Mr. Klein found professors at Stanford and the University of California-Berkeley tilted Democratic 9-1. Among younger professors at those two universities the imbalance was even […]

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  • Survey: many college students fuzzy on first amendment rights

    January 1, 2004

    PHILADELPHIA — One out of four college students in a nationwide survey was unable to name any of the freedoms protected by the First Amendment, according to a free-speech watchdog group.“These survey results are disheartening, but they unfortunately are not surprising,” says Alan Charles Kors, president of the nonprofit Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).Even among campus administrators who were surveyed, from presidents to assistant deans, 11 percent couldn’t name any specific First Amendment rights, the survey indicated. And when asked which freedom the amendment addresses first, only 2 percent of the students and 6 percent of the administrators […]

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  • Scarlet Blight

    March 25, 2003

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  • Black List Draws Fire as US Ideologues Fight Over Patriotic Mantle

    November 24, 2001

    By Maxim Kniazkov at Agence France Presse

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  • Tyler Clementi Act: Still Well-Intentioned, Still a Threat to Free Expression

    March 31, 2014

    ‘The Huffington Post’ reported last week that Senator Patty Murray of Washington will reintroduce the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act after learning of harassment suffered by one of her interns while attending college. The intern’s story is shocking, and the Act is well-intentioned. Unfortunately, it is still as flawed as it was when introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey back in 2010 following the tragic death of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.

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  • Greg: Condoleezza Rice and the Early Start of ‘Disinvitation Season’

    March 10, 2014

    Here at FIRE, we’ve dubbed the spring “disinvitation season,” because among the many invitations extended for college and university commencement speakers, there are an increasing number of speakers subsequently disinvited because of their viewpoints, professions, or life choices. Last year, I wrote about the phenomenon in mid-May amidst a flurry of disinvitations, but this year things are getting off to an earlier start, as FIRE President Greg Lukianoff notes in The Huffington Post today.

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  • Former FIRE Intern Asks ‘Daily Targum’ Board of Trustees to Respect Student Rights

    February 19, 2014

    The Daily Targum, a student newspaper at Rutgers University, has recently been under scrutiny because of the amount of influence the paper’s Board of Trustees exerts over the student staff. The Board acts as an advisory panel and, according to College Media Matters, has the ability to cut out articles and opinion pieces they dislike. (FIRE’s Catherine Sevcenko explained the problem with this last Thursday.)

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  • ‘Unlearning Liberty’ Again, This Time by Self-Censorship at ‘The Daily Targum’

    February 13, 2014

    The Soviet Union was said to operate on a system of “telephone justice”: a judge would hold a trial and then call the local Communist Party boss to find out if the defendant should be found guilty or not. It appears that The Daily Targum, Rutgers University’s student paper, operates on a similar system of “telephone editorial policy.”

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  • Victory: Rutgers Will Not Punish Satirical Newspaper

    May 1, 2012

    On Friday, I blogged about Rutgers University’s bias investigation of the student satire publication The Medium for jokingly attributing a fake article praising Adolf Hitler to another student. As we made clear in the letter we sent Rutgers, punishing the protected expression of The Medium—or even allowing the impression to take hold that such expression was punishable—would be an impermissible violation of the paper’s First Amendment rights.  Hardly had my entry gone live on our website, however, when FIRE received a response from Rutgers Assistant General Counsel Sarah Luke, responding in relevant part: The university very scrupulously addresses First Amendment […]

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  • Rutgers’ Bias Investigation of Satirical Newspaper is No Laughing Matter

    April 27, 2012

    Last week, we pointed to a piece penned by former FIRE intern Alex Lewis in The Daily Targum, Rutgers University’s main campus newspaper, in response to a controversial “bias investigation” of The Medium, a weekly satirical Rutgers newspaper. Now, The Star Ledger (Newark, New Jersey) is covering the incident as well, in a piece that quotes Alex and draws further attention to the controversy. The Star-Ledger summarized the investigation: The flap began when the campus satirical publication, the Medium, ran a parody of the work of a columnist at the Rutgers Targum. The columnist, Aaron Marcus, writes frequently on the […]

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  • Former FIRE Intern Pens ‘A Case for Free Speech’ at Rutgers

    April 20, 2012

    In his column for the The Daily Targum this semester, former FIRE intern and Rutgers University senior Alex Lewis has written two articles making “A case for free speech” at Rutgers. In the first article, published last month, Alex wrote about the philosophy of free speech and why it is important not to censor speech, even if some find it offensive:  The government of our country has been humble enough to presume that no ideological stripe, or theory, or school or dogma is inherently “better” or “more right” than any other. The only ethic the First Amendment embraces is that […]

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  • Renewed Focus on New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Law, But Little Recognition of Impact on College Student Speech

    September 9, 2011

    Last week, The New York Times published a front page story on New Jersey’s new anti-bullying law, which took effect on September 1. In the article, reporter Winnie Hu documents complaints about the law’s requirements, which some school district officials throughout the state have found to be expensive, confusing, and burdensome. Hu reports:  The law, known as the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, is considered the toughest legislation against bullying in the nation. Propelled by public outcry over the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, nearly a year ago, it demands that all public schools adopt comprehensive antibullying policies […]

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  • Rutgers Ditches Unconstitutional ‘Bias Prevention’ Committee, Red-Light Rating

    August 8, 2011

    In 2006, FIRE wrote about Rutgers University–New Brunswick and its Orwellian “Bias Prevention Steering Committee.” The mission of the various deans, administrators, and staff members who comprised the committee was to monitor reported acts of bias which, startlingly, included “cultural conflicts” defined by the University as “disagreements, arguments, or controversies that developed due to the cultural differences, backgrounds and lifestyles of the disputants in the conflict.” By 2010, the Steering Committee had evolved into the Bias Prevention Education Committee (BPEC), but retained its unconstitutional program of policing protected expression by targeting hazily defined instances of “cultural conflicts” and “inappropriate language.” […]

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  • Rutgers University: An Institution of Higher (Re-) Education

    September 14, 2006

    Rutgers University in New Brunswick has a Bias Prevention Steering Committee designed to identify instances of bias at Rutgers and to “address[] persons who perpetrate bias acts.” According to Rutgers, “bias prevention” is defined as An organized system of monitoring, intervening in, and restoring in the aftermath of bias incidents in an environment, e.g., University or workplace. Monitoring includes the reporting of incidents when they occur. Intervention includes counseling persons victimized by bias acts as well as persons witnessing the same. Intervention also includes addressing persons who perpetrate bias acts either through systems of adjudication or reprimand. Restoration often involves […]

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  • Joint Statement of Rutgers University, Division of Student Affairs, and the Rutgers InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship

    April 1, 2003

    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and a Rutgers student organization known as the Rutgers InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship, are pleased to announce that they have amicably resolved any and all issues regarding the status and governance of the fellowship. Earlier this year, a controversy arose that resulted in the filing of a lawsuit, which will now be withdrawn. Student groups at Rutgers are registered annually and every three years are asked to submit a constitution which states the purpose of the group and how it is governed by its student members. The controversy concerned the submission of a […]

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  • Complaint Filed Against Rutgers

    October 11, 2002

    Law Office of Demetrios K. Stratis Mack-Cali Willowbrook Center 201 Willowbrook Boulevard Fourth Floor Wayne, New Jersey 07470 (973) 256-7700 Attorney for Plaintiff   INTERVARSITY MULTI-ETHNIC CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP, Plaintiff, vs. RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW JERSEY, Defendants,   UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEYCivil Action No.:   COMPLAINT>For its Complaint, Plaintiff InterVarsity Multi-Ethnic Christian Fellowship (the Fellowship) states as follows:> Jurisdiction and Venue>1. This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1331 (federal question) and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1988.> 2. Venue is proper in this district pursuant […]

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