Location: Carbondale, Illinois
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale 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.
December 17, 2008
To cover up a free speech crisis on his campus, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s chancellor has resorted to deceit. SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman called documented claims about SIUC’s unconstitutional policies “baseless,” attacked FIRE in false and misleading public statements, and strongly defended SIUC’s Protest Policy despite actually changing the policy in response to a detailed letter from FIRE, the Southern Illinois Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Illinois Association of Scholars challenging SIUC’s manifestly unconstitutional free speech zone.]» Read More
September 13, 2005
Southern Illinois University’s College of Law became a subject of controversy and lawsuit after it derecognized the Christian Legal Society because CLS refused to allow anyone in its leadership who openly engaged in fornication or homosexuality, which SIU claimed violated its anti-discrimination policies. After a discouraging denial of its motion for preliminary injunction at trial, the Christian Legal Society appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, where a three judge panel reversed the trial court, ordering SIU to recognize the Christian Legal Society. The case, Christian Legal Society v. Walker, was not only a commendable […]» Read More
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementDiscriminatory harassment includes, but is not limited to, conduct (oral, written, graphics or physical) directed against any person or group of persons because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, or veteran's status that has the purpose of or reasonably foreseeable effect of creating an offensive, demeaning, intimidating or hostile environment for that person or group of persons. Such conduct includes but is not limited to objectionable epithets demeaning depictions or treatment and threatened or actual abuse or harm.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementAny unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or any
conduct of a sexual nature which has the purpose or effect of: ... b) creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementHarassment
18.104.22.168. Unreasonable Conduct: Intentional conduct, without a legitimate purpose, which both
does cause a person distress or fear and would cause a reasonable person distress or fear.
No threat or overt act of violence is required for conduct to be unreasonable.
22.214.171.124. Bullying: Any intentional, repeated and aggressive act, whether physical, verbal or
otherwise communicated with the intent to cause another person physical, mental, or
emotional harm or which is intended to coerce an individual to act or refrain from acting.
126.96.36.199. Obstruction or Intimidation: Any intentional act which limits any person’s attendance or
participation in any academic activity, employment or university event, or function.
188.8.131.52. Harassment via Technology: Use of electronic or other technology, without a valid
purpose, to intentionally intimidate, embarrass, ridicule, or humiliate another person.
This includes distribution of video, audio, or photographic files without the consent of all
parties recorded or photographed which could foreseeably intimidate, embarrass, ridicule
or humiliate and does cause another person to be intimidated, embarrassed, ridiculed or
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, StatementAs a guiding principle for general content, such student-operated media shall strive to maintain relevance to SIUC, its purposes and goals as a university, and the customs, attitudes, and goals of the student body, student staff, and faculty/staff.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementSexual Harassment in higher education means any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature, when: ... * Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with a student’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic environment (this is a type of hostile environment sexual harassment).
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, StatementEvents Outside of Designated Public Forum Areas
Individuals, organizations, and groups of persons seeking to engage in noncommercial free expression on property owned and/or controlled by the University may do so in accordance with the Standards of Respect and Civility in the University Learning Community, as noted above.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementAll students have the right to engage in a free exchange of ideas. University policies are
intended to safeguard the rights of free inquiry, expression and assembly.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, StatementThe SIUC data facilities may be used only for lawful purposes. Transmission, distribution or storage of any material in violation of any applicable law or regulation coming to or from any unauthorized network or system is prohibited. Illegal use may include without limitation: material protected by copyright, trademark, trade secret or other intellectual property rights, material used without proper authorization, government and military data protected by law or applicable national security policies and concerns, SIUC data protected by public policy, material that in SIUC's sole discretion is obscene or defamatory or constitutes an illegal threat, material that violates export control laws or any other laws or applicable regulations. Any violation of the above which compromises the integrity of the SIUC; data facilities, network, services or resources connected to the SIUC network is strictly prohibited.
January 14, 2009
Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials are asking the national organization challenging its policies to allow time for ongoing revision efforts to be completed, a university spokesman said. SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman will not respond to a press release issued Tuesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, university spokesman Rod Sievers said. Goldman and FIRE officials have recently exchanged words over the university’s free speech policy. FIRE issued an initial letter on Dec. 22, asking for a reply from university leaders. Goldman responded to the letter by standing by existing university policy and calling FIRE’s claims “baseless.” FIRE retaliated […]» Read More
January 13, 2009
by Brian Feldt Daily Egyptian A day after SIUC Chancellor Sam Goldman called free speech accusations against the university ‘baseless,’ the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has responded, calling Goldman’s actions deceitful. In a release on the group’s Web site Tuesday, FIRE said Goldman’s letter to the group dated Jan. 7, ” … attacked the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in false and misleading public statements and strongly defended SIUC’s Protest Policy despite actually changing the policy in response to a detailed letter from FIRE …” Goldman’s letter responded to allegations that the university’s Registered Student Organization […]» Read More
January 13, 2009
Southern Illinois University Carbondale has modified its student handbook policy on protests amid a controversial challenge on its free speech policies, but a university spokesman said deceit was never the intention. In the latest exchange of communication between SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, officials with FIRE accuse Goldman of “quietly” changing the handbook while publicly attacking the organization. “SIUC railed against FIRE in public while failing to mention that it changed one of its absurdly unconstitutional policies in the face of our criticism,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said in a news release. The […]» Read More
January 12, 2009
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Samuel Goldman called allegations attacking the university’s free speech policies a “baseless claim.” The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education sent a letter challenging SIUC’s policies and student handbook on the issue of free speech on campus. The letter states that the university’s use of designated free speech zones “chills expression” on campus. Goldman’s response indicates that these areas, located near Anthony Hall and Morris Library, exist for groups to use amplified noises. “There is no prohibition on our campus that prevents anyone from handing out leaflets or pamphlets,” Goldman wrote in a reply to […]» Read More
January 8, 2009
Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials will respond to the organization challenging the university’s free-speech policies by Monday. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education along with local affiliates of the National Association of Scholars and the American Civil Liberties Union issued a letter to the Chancellor Samuel Goldman last month expressing concerns about the campus’ “free-speech zones.” “The university is not clear where it stands,” said Jonathon Bean, an SIUC history professor and president of the Illinois Association of Scholars. “They have a designated free-speech area and they say you can do it (protest) outside (of the zone) – except […]» Read More
August 29, 2005
A federal appeals court has ordered Southern Illinois University to recognize a Christian group—regardless of the fact that the group’s procedures may violate other anti-bias rules at the campus. The ruling granted an injunction that restored the recognition for the campus chapter of the Christian Legal Society at the university’s Carbondale campus. The order by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was not a final decision on the case. But the ruling—and a strongly worded dissent—provide a good indication of the thinking of the appeals court on the debate over religious groups at […]» Read More
April 8, 2010
“The mistakes in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s sexual harassment policy,” my colleague Azhar says in a letter published in yesterday’s Daily Egyptian student newspaper, “are much worse than what could be attributed to minor oversight or simple misunderstanding.” Coming in the wake of deeply controversial prosecutions of two professors for sexual harassment—which led to lawsuits, a free speech crisis, administrative deceit, and possibly even the death of one of the faculty members due to the stress associated with SIUC’s treatment of him—what could SIUC possibly be thinking? As Azhar writes: In fact, SIUC’s policy severely misapplies sexual harassment law, violating the […]» Read More
February 12, 2010
When outlining the procedures for reporting sexual harassment, the instinct may be to focus on creating a safe and supportive environment for the alleged victim. But in the aftermath of two recent cases at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in which some believe the administration treated two longtime professors unfairly, faculty members there are fighting to make sure the new sexual harassment protocols include adequate protections from trumped-up charges against their colleagues. The debate over those protocols, which are currently under review while the administration and the faculty union negotiate a new contract, came to the fore again this week […]» Read More
February 5, 2009
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2009: Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC). Followers of FIRE’s work are likely familiar with the ongoing controversy at SIUC. FIRE, along with the heads of the Illinois Association of Scholars and the ACLU of Southern Illinois, recently wrote to SIUC Chancellor Sam Goldman regarding the university’s free speech zone policy. In response to FIRE’s letter, Chancellor Goldman lashed out, erroneously alleging (among other things) that FIRE had given SIUC its “red light” rating because of its proposed sexual harassment policy rather than for its many existing policies that violate […]» Read More
At SIUC, Faculty, Graduate Student, and Staff Unions Push Back Against Proposed Sexual Harassment Policy
January 21, 2009
Torch readers have heard a lot about Southern Illinois University–Carbondale (SIUC) lately, and with good reason. Although Chancellor Samuel Goldman won’t admit as much, SIUC has been embroiled in a free speech crisis of sorts as of late, as we described in our press release last week. To recap quickly, there are three free speech concerns at SIUC: (1) SIUC’s unconstitutional speech codes, which remain problematic even after the quiet revision of the school’s free speech zone policy; (2) the prosecution of two long-time SIUC professors on suspect sexual harassment charges, in which the professors were denied basic due process […]» Read More
January 16, 2009
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC) Chancellor Samuel Goldman and his administration have been a veritable one-stop shop for newsworthy content lately, as followers of The Torch this week are no doubt aware. In one of three articles penned by Adam Testa for the Southern Illinoisan, Goldman referred to FIRE as “embarrassing” SIUC into defending itself, as though its free speech crisis did not already exist, meanwhile having actually made FIRE’s requested change to SIUC’s protest policy. This prompted FIRE’s press release on SIUC’s doublespeak, to which Testa reported that the university will not respond. Goldman now asks for patience—but […]» Read More
January 15, 2009
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s administrators can’t make up their minds. One day Chancellor Samuel Goldman is blasting FIRE in the media, calling us an “embarrassing” organization making “baseless” claims regarding SIUC’s free speech policies. The next, university spokesman Rod Sievers is claiming that the policy in the student handbook had been in error and that FIRE’s letter to the school pointing out that the speech code was unconstitutional had nothing to do with the fact that the policy was changed just days after the letter was received. And finally, yesterday—the icing on the cake—Sievers asked that FIRE allow time […]» Read More
January 15, 2009
The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s (SIUC’s) student newspaper, ran an article Tuesday night covering FIRE’s press release on the ongoing free speech controversy at SIUC. Overall, the article was a comprehensive and fair treatment of the issues—a pleasant surprise in the wake of the Egyptian‘s editorial earlier Tuesday blasting FIRE and defending the now-revised free speech zone policy as “reasonable and necessary for learning.” Last night’s article addresses the fact that at the same time Chancellor Samuel Goldman was defending the free speech zone policy, the university was quietly changing the policy to eliminate the objectionable section […]» Read More
Deceit at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale as Chancellor Tries to Cover Up Free Speech Crisis
January 13, 2009
To cover up a free speech crisis on his campus, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale‘s chancellor has resorted to deceit. SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman called documented claims about SIUC’s unconstitutional policies “baseless,” attacked FIRE in false and misleading public statements, and strongly defended SIUC’s Protest Policy despite actually changing the policy in response to a detailed letter from FIRE, the Southern Illinois Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU-S.Ill.), and the Illinois Association of Scholars (IAS) challenging SIUC’s manifestly unconstitutional free speech zone. As we have reported before, SIUC has also been facing campus outrage and at least two […]» Read More
January 13, 2009
In an article in today’s Southern Illinoisan, Southern Illinois University–Carbondale (SIUC) Chancellor Samuel Goldman attacks FIRE for our recent letter challenging the university’s free speech zone. As we will be explaining here in detail on The Torch via several upcoming posts over the next several days, Goldman’s comments to the Illinoisan are fraught with errors, one of which in particular I would like to address here. Goldman tells the Illinoisan that he is preparing a second response to FIRE, this one for “being placed on the organization’s ‘red light’ list for its proposed sexual harassment policy.” While the proposed policy […]» Read More
Deceit at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale as Chancellor Tries to Cover Up Free Speech Crisis
January 13, 2009
CARBONDALE, Ill., January 13, 2009—To cover up a free speech crisis on his campus, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s chancellor has resorted to deceit. SIUC Chancellor Samuel Goldman called documented claims about SIUC’s unconstitutional policies “baseless,” attacked the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) in false and misleading public statements, and strongly defended SIUC’s Protest Policy despite actually changing the policy in response to a detailed letter from FIRE, the Southern Illinois Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Illinois Association of Scholars challenging SIUC’s manifestly unconstitutional free speech zone. SIUC is also facing campus outrage and […]» Read More
FIRE Letter to Southern Illinois University Carbondale Chancellor Samuel Goldman Regarding Speech Policies
December 22, 2008
December 22, 2008 Interim Chancellor Samuel Goldman Southern Illinois University – Carbondale Office of the Chancellor Carbondale, IL 62901-6899 Sent by U.S. Mail and Facsimile (618-453-5362) Dear Interim Chancellor Goldman: We write to you today because we are deeply concerned about the unconstitutionally restrictive speech policies of Southern Illinois University – Carbondale (SIUC). The university’s Protest Policy—which designates only one small area of campus for protests, rallies, demonstrations and speeches—chills expression on SIUC’s campus and ignores constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech that SIUC, as a state-supported institution, is obligated to protect. SIUC’s implementation of a “free speech zone” is […]» Read More
Southern Illinois University–Carbondale Faculty Senate Assails Proposed Sexual Harassment Policy over Abridgement of Rights
October 17, 2008
The faculty outcry against the administration at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale (SIUC) over its sexual harassment policy continues. Torch readers will remember that the administration’s mistreatment of two faculty members—in violation of their due process rights, to say the least—led to a number of lawsuits along with, it seems, the death of one of the faculty members. Well, SIUC’s proposed new sexual harassment policy has been released, and it has received scathing reviews from a fearful and angry faculty. As Morgan Hottes and Sean McGahanthe report for the Daily Egyptian, this Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting was bad news for the administration’s […]» Read More
October 2, 2008
It seems that the troubles facing SIUC regarding individual rights keep getting worse instead of better. First, SIUC officials caused a local uproar, as well as some lawsuits, over the dismissal of two longtime faculty members in travesties of due process. Both professors had been told they had violated the university’s sexual harassment policy. One of them subsequently passed away in part due to the stress caused by the university’s actions. Then, the university got embroiled in debate over revisions to its sexual harassment policy. The process had been stalled for years despite the efforts of official university committees to […]» Read More
September 12, 2008
In the wake of two high-profile cases of alleged sexual harassment at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (SIUC)—and the two high-profile lawsuits that soon followed—the campus has been roiled in debate over the school’s sexual harassment policy, which faculty members have been trying to amend for years to no avail. Unfortunately, an article published this week in The Saluki Times, SIUC’s institutional newsletter, has served to distort this important discussion. In attempting to clarify the precise legal definition of sexual harassment, Carmen Suarez, Director of the SIUC Office of Diversity and Equity, instead weighed in with some disturbing and inaccurate […]» Read More
September 10, 2008
Last month I wrote about two disturbing cases of alleged sexual harassment by longtime professors at Southern Illinois University–Carbondale (SIUC). One professor passed away partly because of the stress caused by SIUC’s handling of the allegations, and the other is now suing SIUC. The charges against the second professor, renowned scientist Cal Meyers, were only cobbled together months after Meyers had been banned from campus with no hearing, no chance to respond to the evidence, no statement of evidence, no chance to respond to the accuser, and no notification of a right to appeal. The first professor, eminent historian John […]» Read More
June 18, 2007
Last Monday, University of Wisconsin at Madison Professor Donald A. Downs had an interesting post at the National Association of Scholars forum, “Religion and the University.” Professor Downs divides the history of the American university into three eras: the proprietary, the liberal, and the post-liberal. The proprietary university, to use the American Association of University Professors’ term, was defined by its adherence to a specific conception of truth and its mission to pass on that idea. It was replaced by the liberal university, with a research focus spurred by scientific advances. The liberal/research university believed in the validity of universalism […]» Read More
May 23, 2007
Today, Southern Illinois University (SIU) settled a case where it refused to recognize a new student organization, the Christian Legal Society, because its membership policies conflicted with the school’s non-discrimination regulations. The case, in which FIRE filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Christian Legal Society, produced an important opinion from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which protected the student organization’s freedom of association rights. SIU found out the hard way that ignoring the First Amendment has real financial costs. As part of the settlement the University will establish a $10,000 scholarship fund which the organization will administer. Maybe this will […]» Read More
July 17, 2006
Last week, a federal appeals court ordered Southern Illinois University’s (SIU’s) School of Law to grant the campus Christian Legal Society the basic right to exclude students who do not share (or demonstrate that they do not share) the core beliefs of the group. Unfortunately, in too many media outlets this case has been explained as a competition between the rights of religious students and the rights of gay students. As David French explained on Phi Beta Cons last week, this interpretation of the case stems from a misunderstanding of the nature of freedom of association and anti-discrimination laws: Since […]» Read More
July 14, 2006
On Monday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the right of the Christian Legal Society (CLS), a Christian student group, to choose its membership on the basis of a commitment to Christian faith and practice. In its decision, the court drew a critical distinction that FIRE has stressed for years: the distinction between status and belief. In its amicus brief to the Seventh Circuit in this case, FIRE wrote that “[t]here is a difference between making a determination on the basis of an immutable characteristic and making a choice on the basis of changeable personal beliefs and rules […]» Read More
July 11, 2006
Check out today’s release on the important court victory at Southern Illinois University: Yesterday, a federal appeals court ordered Southern Illinois University’s (SIU’s) School of Law to grant a Christian student group the same rights as secular student groups on its campus. The court ordered a preliminary injunction requiring the school to recognize the group and sent the case back to the lower court for trial. Last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed an amicus brief in the case, urging the appeals court to reach this very result. This victory is of great significance for an […]» Read More
July 11, 2006
CARBONDALE, Ill., July 11, 2006—Yesterday, a federal appeals court ordered Southern Illinois University’s (SIU’s) School of Law to grant a Christian student group the same rights as secular student groups on its campus. The court ordered a preliminary injunction requiring the school to recognize the group and sent the case back to the lower court for trial. Last year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed an amicus brief in the case, urging the appeals court to reach this very result. “This is a crucial victory for the principles of religious liberty and freedom of association on campus,” […]» Read More
September 9, 2005
Southern Illinois University at Carbondale cannot deny official university recognition to a campus Christian group, according to a preliminary injunction issued by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. University officials had revoked the Christian Legal Society’s university privileges last semester after deciding that the group’s stance on homosexuality violated antidiscrimination laws. The appeals court has not issued a final ruling, however. A three-judge panel of the court is scheduled to receive briefs from both sides in the dispute over the next two months. The injunction, issued last month, allows the Christian group to continue operating […]» Read More
August 23, 2005
Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an order granting the Christian Legal Society’s request that Southern Illinois University restore CLS to the status of registered student organization. Southern Illinois University had revoked CLS’s recognition because CLS had the audacity to request that leaders and voting members of the organization actually share the group’s beliefs. To Southern Illinois (and many other universities), such a common requirement—not unlike a requirement that members of the Democratic Party be Democrats or members of the Sierra Club actually support environmentalism—constitutes “religious discrimination” and must be prohibited. Unfortunately for the […]» Read More
May 3, 2005
Check out this excellent editorial from the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper of Southern Illinois University. The paper is responding to a recent controversy: A professor chose a controversial account of a series of race-related murders in California as option reading for a history course, which provoked outrage among other faculty members. After much public criticism, the professor apologized, stopped distributing the article and made no assignment related to it. Once again demonstrating that students often understand the importance of free speech better than their elders, the editorial continues: Our constitutional right to self-expression is one of our dearest freedoms, […]» Read More