Location: Northfield, Minnesota
Federal Circuit: 8th Circuit
St. Olaf 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.
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementSexual harassment, including, but not limited to:
a. Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on college premises or at functions sponsored by or participated in by the college.
b. Harassment on the basis of another's race, disability, religion or sexual orientation.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementSexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct that emphasizes the sexuality or sexual identity of a person, such as: sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, StatementSt. Olaf College provides computing and networking resources in order to meet the academic needs of students, faculty, and staff. Any actions that undermine this important college goal are subject to disciplinary review. These include, but are not limited to ... creating or posting of material that is offensive, pornographic, libelous, or intended to harass.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementPhysical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person including, but not limited to, the following forms:
a. Direct oral expression or physical gesture or action.
b. Notes, letters, U.S. mail, campus mail or other forms of written communication.
c. Phone calls or phone messages.
d. E-mail or other computer-based methods of communication.
Student Handbook: Residence Life Policies and Procedures- Harassment, Sexual and Sexual Assault 13-14
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementExamples of verbal or physical conduct that are prohibited include but are not limited to: ... unwelcome remarks of a sexual nature, including remarks about a person's body or clothing; unwelcome remarks about sexual activity; showing, exposing to, or subjecting others to materials or media of a sexual nature.
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies, StatementBecause St. Olaf is a safe space for all students; any material that can be deemed offensive, demeaning, or derogatory to others may not be posted in common areas. These areas include: the front of any room doors, on the hallway or spaces around it, as well as restrooms. If such material is posted, The Area Coordinator may ask to have it removed. If it is not removed, other disciplinary actions may result.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementSt. Olaf College is committed to creating and maintaining an environment where individual and institutional responsibility combine to promote each student's complete development. The academic freedoms to teach and learn are integral to this environment.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementSt. Olaf College affirms its belief in the importance of freedom of expression and in the value of permitting all members of the college community to protest actions with which they disagree.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementFree inquiry and free expression are essential attributes of the community of scholars. As members of that community, students should develop the capacity for critical judgment and engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.
To this end, student organizations are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, express their views, and hear opinions of others.
December 6, 2011
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2011: St. Olaf College in Minnesota. St. Olaf’s policy on “Misuse of Computers” [.pdf] prohibits “creating or posting of material that is offensive,” stating that such actions “are subject to disciplinary review.” As is typical of such policies, “offensive” is left undefined, and there is no provision for who decides what is offensive, leaving students with no way of knowing whether their electronic communications might get them in trouble. Is a pointed criticism of the university offensive? What about a provocative editorial about Islamic fundamentalism? These types of expression have gotten students in trouble at other […]» Read More