Swarthmore College

Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Website: http://www.swarthmore.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 3rd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Swarthmore 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

Yellow Light Policies
Green Light Policies
  • Interim Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or more of the following conditions are present: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, i.e. it is sufficiently serious, pervasive, or persistent as to create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or sexually offensive working, academic, residential, or social environment under both an objective and subjective standard.

    Sexual harassment also includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex/gender or sex/gender-stereotyping, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

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  • Information Technology Services: Acceptable Use 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Individuals with access to the Swarthmore College network have the following obligations and responsibilities:

    1. To respect other people and the College’s intellectual environment. Use of the network may not violate federal, state, or local law, including the laws of defamation, forgery, copyright/trademark infringement, and harassment. The copying or serving of copyrighted material such as music, movies, and other multimedia is strictly forbidden.

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  • Student Handbook: Academic Freedom and Responsibility 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators, and trustees an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression on and off the campus. The right of students to exercise free expression, including peaceful dissent, orderly demonstrations, protests, and picketing, will be respected.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Bullying and Intimidation 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies

    Bullying includes any intentional electronic, written, verbal, or physical act, or a series of acts, directed at another person or group of people, that is severe, persistent, or pervasive and that has the effect of doing any of the following:

    (i) substantially interfering with a student’s education;
    (ii) creating a threatening environment; or
    (iii) substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school. Bullying is prohibited and participating in such acts will result in disciplinary action.

    Verbal, written, or electronic threats of violence or other threatening behavior directed toward another person or group that reasonably leads the person(s) in the group to fear for her/his physical well-being constitutes intimidation, is prohibited, and will result in disciplinary action.

    Anyone who attempts to use bullying or intimidation to retaliate against someone who reports an incident, brings a complaint, or participates in an investigation in an attempt to influence the judicial process will be subject to disciplinary action.

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  • On College Campuses, a Presumption of Guilt

    February 28, 2014

    By Peter Berkowitz at RealClearPolitics SWARTHMORE, Pa. — On Feb. 22, in celebration of its sesquicentennial, Swarthmore College proudly hosted “The Liberal Arts in Action: A Symposium on the Future of Liberal Arts.” In what seemed an unrelated event, a month before, a former Swarthmore student expelled by the college in the summer of 2013 filed a lawsuit in federal court of the eastern district of Pennsylvania. The student, identified as “John Doe,” was found guilty under campus disciplinary procedures of sexual misconduct. (Pseudonyms were used to protect both the accused and the accuser.) His legal complaint alleges that Swarthmore […]

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  • Campus rape accusations an obvious outcome at progressive college (Column)

    April 29, 2013

    I recently read that the people who run Swarthmore College, one of America’s most progressive, diverse and elite educational institutions are covering up sex crimes against their female students. Can this be true? And if so, who do these college administrators think they are? The Catholic Church? A formal complaint has been lodged against the school for failing to report numerous sex crimes on campus as the administration is required to do by federal law. That law is the Clery Act, and Mia Ferguson, class of 2015, says Swarthmore is in direct violation of it. And she isn’t the only […]

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  • Censorship on Campus in 2012: From Benghazi to Free Speech Zones at the University of Missouri

    December 31, 2012

    Looking back at what 2012 had in store for the fight for free speech and basic rights on campus, the best I can say is that it was a mixed bag. There were some encouraging signs along the way, but also many setbacks. For instance, for the fifth straight year, my organization (the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE) found a decrease in the number of campus speech codes. This is good news. However, it sounds a little less exciting when you realize that a pretty miserable 62 percent of top colleges maintain what FIRE dubs “red light” (read: very bad) […]

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  • Thought Reform 101

    March 1, 2000

    At Wake Forest University last fall, one of the few events designated as “mandatory” for freshman orientation was attendance at Blue Eyed, a filmed racism awareness workshop in which whites are abused, ridiculed, made to fail, and taught helpless passivity so that they can identify with “a person of color for a day.” In Swarthmore College’s dormitories, in the fall of 1998, first-year students were asked to line up by skin color, from lightest to darkest, and to step forward and talk about how they felt concerning their place in that line. Indeed, at almost all of our campuses, some […]

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  • Swarthmore Admits Treating Student Accused of Sexual Assault Unfairly, Settles Lawsuit

    November 21, 2014

    As colleges and universities face ever-growing pressure to show that they take the issue of sexual assault seriously, a number of accused students have found themselves steamrolled by unfair and frequently incompetently-run, ends-driven disciplinary proceedings that disregard the procedural protections owed to anyone facing such serious allegations. Over the past year, those students have increasingly taken to the courthouse steps in order to vindicate their rights and expose the flaws in the disciplinary processes they faced. One particularly troubling trend, which often serves as a harbinger of due process violations to come, is universities’ re-opening of closed disciplinary cases for […]

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  • FIRE’s Samantha Harris Speaking at Swarthmore College Next Tuesday

    December 5, 2013

    Students and FIRE supporters in the Philadelphia area are invited to hear Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Policy Research, speak at Swarthmore College this coming Tuesday, December 10. Swarthmore has a “red light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight Database, and was recently discussed on The Torch after the Swarthmore Independent reported that Swarthmore solicits volunteers to serve on panels for hearings involving allegations of sexual misconduct in a manner that compromises the impartiality of the panels. The Independent has reported on both school and student-led censorship attempts recently at Swarthmore, so this is sure to be a timely event. We hope to see you there! Samantha Harris Speaking at Swarthmore College When: 4:15 […]

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  • Swarthmore Students Asked to Volunteer to Be on Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel

    October 10, 2013

    Torch readers will already be familiar with some of the procedural safeguards generally missing from sexual misconduct cases tried by campus judiciaries, as well as recent allegations that some college officials are withholding evidence and presuming the guilt of accused students. But on Tuesday, the Swarthmore College student newspaper Swarthmore Independent shed light on another worrying aspect of collegiate procedures in hearings involving allegations of sexual misconduct: At Swarthmore, volunteers are solicited to serve on hearing panels in a manner that compromises the impartiality of the panels. According to the Independent, all Swarthmore students were emailed application forms for the college’s Sexual Assault and Harassment Hearing Panel. Each panel will be […]

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  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Swarthmore College

    January 25, 2013

    This winter, FIRE is presenting a blog series on the state of free speech at America’s top 10 liberal arts colleges, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. So far, we have covered speech codes at Williams College and at Amherst College. Today, we will discuss speech codes at U.S. News‘ third-ranked liberal arts college: Swarthmore College. Swarthmore is the first school in this blog series to receive a “red light” rating, which means that it maintains at least one policy that both clearly and substantially prohibits what would otherwise be protected expression. Although Swarthmore is private, its Student […]

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  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping cases from 2006 involved a breathtaking exercise in thought reform by Michigan State University. FIRE publicly challenged what MSU calls a “Student Accountability in Community Seminar” (SAC) which is intended to address student behavior that administrators consider unacceptable; the seminar is successful only when it […]

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