Trinity College

Location: Hartford, Connecticut
Website: http://www.trincoll.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Trinity College 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.

  • Trinity College: New Social Code Erodes Freedom of Association

    August 20, 2004

    In October 2012, Trinity College’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendations of a report prepared by the college’s specially created Charter Committee for Building Social Community at Trinity College. The report includes a new Social Code that imposes dramatic new regulations on “social organizations,” primarily fraternities and sororities. Among its numerous requirements, the code forbids selective membership, prohibits association with national single-sex social organizations, and requires them to achieve “minority gender” parity in membership and leadership. In addition, social organizations will be required to gain recognition from the administration and any students who associate with unrecognized groups will be […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Computing, Communications, and Video Systems Regulations 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Sending lewd or intimidating messages via the network is harassment.

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  • Student Handbook: Residential Guidelines- Room and Furniture Condition 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Pictures and other materials that may be considered to be objectionable are subject to removal in areas that may be visible outside a residence hall room/suite/apartment (e.g., directly in windows, exteriors of doors, etc.).

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  • Student Handbook: College Regulations- Social Code 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Conduct that is unbecoming of a Trinity College student. This includes, but is not limited to, disturbance of the peace; disorderly or indecent conduct; physical or verbal abuse or assault; threats; intimidation; coercion; any conduct that threatens, instills fear, or infringes upon the rights, dignity, and integrity of any person; any conduct likely to lead to violence; harassment.

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  • Student Handbook: Poster and Banner Regulations 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Individuals and organizations are expected to use good judgment and civility when posting information.

    All recognized student organizations must submit posters, banners and all other marketing materials (including apparel designs see the Apparel Guidelines on the SAIL website) to the SAIL office for approval prior to posting/ordering. Without the approval of the SAIL office, posters may be removed immediately

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  • Student Handbook: Policy Statement on Discrimination, General Harassment and Abuse, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment, whether opposite or same sex, includes but is not limited to: unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other behavior of a sexual nature, on or off-campus, when: … such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education or employment by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, living, or work environment.

    While it is not possible to list all the circumstances that may be considered sexual harassment, the following are examples of conduct that, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment: physical, verbal, visual, or written conduct of a sexual nature, including, but not limited to, pressuring someone for dates, retaliation for non-submission to a request for sexual favors, and electronic messages or photos.

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  • Student Handbook: Policy Statement on Discrimination, General Harassment and Abuse, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Discriminatory harassment includes conduct specifically directed at an individual or a small group of individuals and expresses hatred or contempt on the basis of stereotyped group characteristics or because of a person’s identification with a particular group. Discriminatory harassment also includes any action or speech directed toward members of the aforementioned groups that reasonably can be determined to be threatening in content or is spoken in a manner that suggests violence toward such persons is imminent.

    Discriminatory harassment may be found to have occurred when harassing conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with or limits a student’s or employee’s ability to participate in or gain the privileges of programs and services of the College.

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  • Incident Response Team: Definitions of Bias and Hate 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    Bias incidents … can include taunting, verbal harassment, bullying, intimidation, or the posting or circulating of demeaning jokes or documents.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: The Trinity College Student Integrity Contract 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    According to the mission statement of Trinity College, excellence in liberal arts education relies on critical thinking, freeing the mind from parochialism and prejudice, and encouraging students to lead examined lives. Free inquiry and free expression are essential for the attainment of these goals.

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  • Student Handbook: General Harassment/Abuse 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment includes, but is not limited to, physical or non-physical behavior, such as assault, abuse, stalking, hazing, invasion of privacy, and intimidation. The following definitions provide examples of behavior that will not be tolerated:

    • Assault is nonconsensual physical contact that places someone in fear or
      apprehension of immediate harm. Relationship violence may also be categorized as assault.
    • Stalking refers to a pattern of behavior in which an individual willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows another in his/her course of daily activities in such a way that the stalker’s actions can reasonably be found to interfere with another person’s ability to perform his or her regular duties or cause that person to feel frightened, intimidated, harassed, threatened, or molested.
    • Invasion of privacy is unauthorized taking and use of facts, information, and/or property not in the public domain that a reasonable person would desire to keep from the public eye.
    • Intimidation is spoken, written, or physical conduct directed toward an individual or individuals that unreasonably interferes with their full participation in the Trinity College community or that is intended to create or may be reasonably determined to have created a threatening or hostile environment

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  • Student Handbook: Poster and Banner Regulations 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Students and student organizations should be free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them and to express opinions publicly and privately.

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  • Trinity College President James Jones Will Retire Early

    May 6, 2013

    Trinity College President James F. Jones Jr., who has been under fire for his decision to force fraternities and sororities to go coed, announced Monday that he will step down a year early, on June 30, 2014. Jones, 66, has been at the center of a firestorm of protest since October, when he and the board of trustees approved a plan requiring fraternities and sororities to go coed starting this fall. Fraternity and sorority members have argued that going coed will effectively shut them down. Alumni have threatened to withhold donations, and some called for Jones’ resignation. In an email to students […]

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  • Trinity President Moves Up Retirement Under Alumni Fire

    May 6, 2013

    Trinity College (78323MF) President James Jones, criticized for demanding that fraternities go co-ed, will step down in June 2014, a year earlier than originally planned. Jones announced his expedited resignation in an e-mail today to the Hartford, Connecticut-based college community, hours before a scheduled meeting called to oppose the co-ed plan. Students and some alumni plan to gather this evening as part of a challenge to a college decree that its Greek houses admit members of the opposite gender starting in September. Each of Trinity’s 10 fraternities and sororities will be required to have 45 percent of their members from […]

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  • Trinity College Leader Moves Up Retirement Under Alumni Fire

    May 6, 2013

    Trinity College President James Jones, under fire for demanding that fraternities go co-ed, will step down in June 2014, a year earlier than originally planned.   Jones announced his expedited resignation in an e-mail today to the Hartford, Connecticut-based college community, hours before a scheduled meeting called to oppose the co-ed plan.   Students and some alumni plan to gather this evening as part of a challenge to a college decree that its Greek houses admit members of the opposite gender starting in September. Each of Trinity’s 10 fraternities and sororities will be required to have 45 percent of their members from the opposite […]

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  • Amherst Bans Fraternities, Sororities, and Similar Organizations On and Off Campus

    May 9, 2014

    Amherst College’s Board of Trustees sent out an email Tuesday announcing that it was reaffirming its 1984 ban on the college’s recognition of fraternities and sororities—and that it would be taking things a step further this summer in a move that will take a significant bite out of Amherst students’ ability to freely associate.

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  • Trinity Policy Change Renders Promise of Freedom of Association Meaningless

    September 17, 2013

    In October 2012, Trinity College’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a measure enforcing strict new regulations on “social organizations,” effectively spelling the end of fraternities and sororities at Trinity. Trinity’s new policies prohibit selective membership in all social organizations and mandate that all existing social organizations achieve rough gender parity in both membership and leadership. Further, they require all social organizations to receive official recognition and approval; students participating in unrecognized social organizations “will be subject to separation from the College.”  As FIRE pointed out in a letter sent to Trinity President James F. Jones, Jr. in March 2013, this […]

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  • 16th Annual ‘Campus Muzzle’ Awards Feature Yale, Tufts, Harvard

    June 27, 2013

    The “Muzzles” live! The 16th annual “Campus Muzzle” Awards, previously featured in the now-sadly-defunct Boston Phoenix, have found a new home this year on WGBH News online, as well as in the Portland Phoenix. FIRE co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate awards the Campus Muzzles each year to the worst universities in New England for First Amendment rights. (Harvey’s Campus Muzzles are a sidebar to Dan Kennedy’s Muzzle Awards, which feature his selection of the worst free speech violators off-campus in New England.)  This year, Yale University “wins” for its disturbing disregard for free speech on its new overseas campus in […]

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  • William Voegeli on the Purpose of College and the Fight for Free Speech

    June 25, 2013

    William Voegeli, senior editor of the Claremont Review of Books, wrote for Real Clear Politics yesterday to discuss the shift in why students go to college and how their focus hinders progress with respect to open and frank discussion on campus. He laments that for many young people, college is a means to an end; potential employers view a student’s admission to an elite college and ability to obtain a degree as indicators that that student is capable of a successful career, regardless of how much the student actually learns in college. Since the primary motivation for going to college […]

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  • Fraternities, Sororities Object as Trinity Tramples Freedom of Association; President, Board Chairman Step Down

    May 7, 2013

    Here’s today’s press release: HARTFORD, Conn., May 7, 2013—In a surprise announcement via email yesterday, Trinity College President James Jones announced his intention to step down from his post in June 2014, one year before the end of his contract. Jones reported in the same email that Board of Trustees Chair Paul E. Raether will also leave the Trustees’ top position. Trinity’s two top leaders signaled their departures as student and alumni dissatisfaction is increasing over a new social code that violates Trinity’s promises of freedom of association and effectively bans fraternities and sororities through gender quotas and other measures.  FIRE […]

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  • Fraternities, Sororities Object as Trinity Tramples Freedom of Association; President, Board Chairman Step Down

    May 7, 2013

    HARTFORD, Conn., May 7, 2013—In a surprise announcement via email yesterday, Trinity College President James Jones announced his intention to step down from his post in June 2014, one year before the end of his contract. Jones reported in the same email that Board of Trustees Chair Paul E. Raether will also leave the Trustees’ top position. Trinity’s two top leaders signaled their departures as student and alumni dissatisfaction is increasing over a new social code that violates Trinity’s promises of freedom of association and effectively bans fraternities and sororities through gender quotas and other measures. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff was […]

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  • Trinity College President, Trustee Chair Announce Plans to Step Aside as Debate Rages Over New Social Code

    May 6, 2013

    This morning, Trinity College President James Jones sent an email to the Trinity campus community announcing his intention to step down from his post on June 30, 2014, one year earlier than his contract was scheduled to end. Jones will resign from his tenured faculty position at that time as well. In his email, Jones also announced that—at the same time of his planned resignation—Board of Trustees Chair Paul E. Raether will step down from the Trustees’ top position. The announcement that these two top Trinity officials will be stepping down simultaneously is particularly notable given the controversy over Trinity’s […]

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  • FIRE President Greg Lukianoff Speaking at Trinity College

    May 2, 2013

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be on the campus of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., on Monday, May 6, to discuss his book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate, and the ongoing threat to freedom of association, particularly to Greek organizations, posed by recent policy changes at the college.  Trinity’s new Social Code seeks to take a sledgehammer to fraternities and sororities on campus by requiring them to adhere to a strict set of requirements that include minority-gender membership quotas, prohibitions against selective membership, and threats of expulsion for those students who seek to escape these […]

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  • Trinity College Jettisons Freedom of Association for Greek Organizations

    May 1, 2013

    The tension that often exists between universities and their fraternity and sorority systems is far from new. At Trinity College in Connecticut, however, that tension has taken on whole new proportions this year, as the college—with the blessing of its Board of Trustees—is taking a metaphorical sledgehammer to such organizations, severely threatening freedom of association at the college. On March 13, FIRE officially registered its concerns in a letter sent to the university.   The controversy at Trinity erupted in October 2012, when Trinity’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the recommendations of a report prepared by the college’s specially created […]

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