Smith College

Location: Northampton, Massachusetts
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Smith College 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.

This school does not have any cases at this time.

Red Light Policies

  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct & Social Responsibility- Conduct that is Offensive 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Intentional conduct that is offensive, not respectful, voluntary and understood to be behavior of a kind which targets specific individuals because of race, sex, color, religious creed, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. When sanctioning, the offensiveness should be measured by its gravity, whether it is intended to be offensive and not respectful, whether it is repeated even after the student engaging in the behavior has been clearly told that it is offensive to another, and by the effect the behavior has on the community and the student or students to whom it is directed.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Office of Institutional Diversity: Sexual Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    In Massachusetts, the legal definition of sexual harassment is as follows: “sexual harassment” means sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual natures when: … such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive work or educational environment.

    While it is not possible to list all circumstances that constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and its pervasiveness: …

    • Dissemination of sexually explicit voicemail, email, graphics, downloaded material or web sites;
    • Unwelcome sexual epithets, sexual jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s sex life;
    • Unwelcome comment about an individual’s sexual activity;
    • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures or cartoons ….

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  • Student Handbook: Social Events- Advertising of Student Social Events 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    6. Smith College prohibits promotion and/or marketing of alcoholic beverages on campus and social events that encourage drinking or drunkenness as themes. The advertisement of such events in not permitted.
    7. Advertisements with language or illustrations that are sexually explicit are not permitted.

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  • Student Handbook: Smith College Technology Policies- Acceptable Use of Computer Resources 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Actions normally prohibited by law and/or this Acceptable Use Policy include but are not limited to:

    Smith College does not approve of the use of images or text which are abusive, profane, obscene in e-mail or on web pages.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct & Social Responsibility- Conduct that Threatens or Endangers a Person 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion and other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person or which unreasonably interferes with, impedes or harasses other students in the pursuit of their education.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Policies Concerning Freedom of Expression and Dissent 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Any person at Smith College is free to express opinions and support causes by orderly means that do not disrupt the regular and essential operation of the institution. To this end, all members of the Smith community are obligated to provide, protect and promote the free exchange of ideas in every form on the Smith College campus.

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  • Student Handbook: Statement of Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Academic freedom and, more generally, freedom of expression are of paramount value in an academic community. Among the central purposes of such a community are acquisition and transmission of knowledge, cultivation of the creative and critical faculties of the human intellect, expression of ideas and emotions through the arts, and development of aesthetic sensitivity and appreciation. Academic freedom and freedom of expression are essential to the fullest realization of these purposes, and therefore Smith College must preserve and protect those freedoms. It must do so even when the ideas and values expressed are believed, by some or even many, to be inimical to humane society.

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  • Protesters Force IMF Chief to Cancel Speech

    May 14, 2014

    At The Nation Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund chief, has withdrawn from delivering her commencement address at a women’s liberal arts college, citing protests against her and the fund that the students call “a primary culprit in the failed developmental policies implanted in some of the world’s poorest countries”. “This (the Fund’s role) has led directly to the strengthening of imperialist and patriarchal systems that oppress and abuse women worldwide,” said an online petition against Lagarde’s appearance at Smith college. For years, critics of the IMF have charged that in providing economic aid to poor nations, it has imposed conditions […]

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  • IMF’s Lagarde Won’t Speak at Smith, Part of a Growing List

    May 12, 2014

    By Douglas Belkin at The Wall Street Journal The head of the International Monetary Fund on Monday joined an elite group—those whose plans to give commencement addresses this graduation season were derailed by student or faculty protests. Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, was scheduled to speak this coming Sunday at Smith College, but she withdrew her name after nearly 500 people signed a petition objecting to the policies of the IMF. Similar outcries foiled speaking engagements by former National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice at Rutgers University and human-rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali at Brandeis University, among several others. “I call it disinvitation season,” said Greg […]

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  • After Protests, I.M.F. Chief Withdraws as Smith College’s Commencement Speaker

    May 12, 2014

    By Richard Perez-Pena at The New York Times A week before she was to speak at the Smith College commencement,Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund, has withdrawn from the event, citing protests against her and the fund, the college said Monday. Her withdrawal comes after Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, withdrew from speaking at the Rutgers University commencement in the face of protests against her role in Bush administration foreign policy, and weeks after Brandeis University rescinded its invitation to the rights advocate Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement, after protests over her anti-Islam statements. Such reversals have […]

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  • Pariahs, Martyrs — and Fighters Back

    October 24, 2005

    At the start of the last school year, activists at DePaul University set up a pair of tables along a student thoroughfare and distributed literature to passers-by. They caught the eye of faculty member Thomas Klocek, who took one of their handouts and read about Israel’s “brutal and murderous occupation” of “Palestine” as well as its “apartheid violence” in the West Bank and Gaza. This was provocative stuff — but nothing out of the ordinary for the two groups behind it all, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and United Muslims Moving Ahead (UMMA). Engaging the students in a discussion […]

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  • College Students Get Comfortable—Often, Too Comfortable

    August 22, 2014

    Late last month, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Eric Hoover took a close look at trends in higher education that suggest that students feel more empowered than ever—but also may be using their power to shut out new ideas.

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  • Replacement Speakers at Haverford and Smith Urge Graduates to Listen to Other Viewpoints

    May 19, 2014

    “Disinvitation season” continues, but at least some students are getting a lesson in what the phenomenon means for open discourse on campus.

    Former Princeton University president William G. Bowen spoke at Haverford College’s commencement ceremony Sunday and criticized those whose demands ultimately led to former University of California, Berkeley chancellor Robert Birgeneau withdrawing from the event. And at Smith College, former Smith president Ruth J. Simmons replaced International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde as speaker after Lagarde backed down in the face of student protests. In her speech, Simmons emphasized the importance of hearing views with which you disagree, even those that are “deeply offensive.”

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  • Don’t Save the Date: NYT, WSJ, Fox, MSNBC, NPR Cover ‘Disinvitation Season’

    May 13, 2014

    The Class of 2014 is preparing for graduation by buying their caps and gowns—but let’s hope they weren’t counting on having a speaker for the ceremony. The years-long, snowballing trend of protests against commencement speakers, which FIRE has termed “disinvitation season,” is getting major attention this year from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, MSNBC, and NPR, among many other outlets.

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  • ‘Disinvitation Season’ In Full Swing; IMF Head Next Victim

    May 12, 2014

    Condoleezza Rice. Duncan Lance Black. Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Charles Murray. All of them have been disinvited from speaking at colleges this spring (or put under such pressure that they withdrew from speaking), for, respectively, the political, personal, religious, and scientific controversies surrounding their lives and work. Now those keeping score can add to that list Christine Lagarde, the formerly scheduled commencement speaker at Smith College and current managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

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