Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
University of Louisville 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
I acknowledge responsibility for the use of all the computer accounts assigned to me on the University of Louisville’s centralized computing systems. I will accept any and all consequences due to the misuse or abuse of the computing facilities. I agree to: … not use the electronic communication facilities for the purpose of offending, annoying or harassing other users.
Examples of conduct that may constitute or support a finding of sexual harassment in violation of the University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following: … Obscene or offensive gestures; Scoping, staring, leering, or looking at a person’s body from head to toe (elevator eyes); … Display of calendars or web sites with sexually suggestive material; … Sexual comments or innuendoes; Offensive or derogatory comments or jokes of a sexual or gender specific nature; … Sexually explicit or sexually suggestive mail, email and voice mail.
Posters, messages, flags, message boards, and other media to be distributed within, on or around the on-campus residence halls must be approved by one of the Campus Housing Offices located in West Hall and Kurz Hall prior to distribution or posting.
No flyer will advertise or imply improper use of alcohol or drugs or other inappropriate or illegal activities.
Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following prohibited conduct is subject to the conduct sanctions outlined in section 12: … The use of actions or speech that threatens or endangers the health, well-being, property, or safety of any person(s).
The following are examples of behavior that should be reported for review under this policy:
* Frequent taunting on the basis of an individual’s association with people of a particular national origin or race;
* The oral use of offensive epithets, slurs, or comments aimed at a particular person or group, or the use of offensive gestures, pictures, body parts, drawings, and other items based on age, color, disability, gender (whether or not sexual in nature), national or ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status;
* Teasing or mocking a person with a disability whether mental or physical;
* Ridiculing a person’s religious beliefs;
* Persisting in requests for dates after being told they are unwelcome;
* Evaluating an employee or student more critically than performance warrants because the employee or student objected to a sexual advance (refer to consensual relations policy);
* Sending unwelcome mail, voice mail or e-mail containing derogatory jokes or comments;
* Displaying or sending mail, email, web sites or voice mail that are pornographic in nature;
* Touching that goes beyond acceptable workplace or classroom interaction, meaning that a reasonable person would find it objectionable;
* Repeated references to sex in the classroom or class assignments when there is no relationship between the reference and the content of the course.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when … such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.
The term “harassment” means conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and detracts from the student(s) educational experience, that the student(s) are effectively denied equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities
April 14, 2004
In far too many instances, what passes as college life and education today is no less than shameful. Under the name of diversity and political correctness, billions of taxpayer dollars and donor contributions are used to promote what might be charitably called enlightened racism, uniformity of thought and political proselytizing. Let’s look at some of it.The student code of Shippensburg University, in Pennsylvania, said that students had a “right to express a personal belief system” but only if such expression did not “demean,” “annoy” or “alarm” others. Thus, if a student expressed a distaste for race or sex preferences in […]» Read More
June 10, 2013
In an anticlimactic finish to a case in which a nursing student was expelled for posting an unflattering description of a birth on her Myspace page, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held in an unpublished opinion that the University of Louisville’s Nursing School did not violate student Nina Yoder’s First Amendment rights. The events in this case date back to 2009, when Ms. Yoder posted a long description of the birth of a baby that did not exactly follow the traditional "miracle of birth" storyline. Instead, Ms. Yoder gave a graphic description of the mother’s labor […]» Read More
August 22, 2012
There’s a movement afoot in state legislatures to ban employers and universities from demanding control of or monitoring the social media accounts of their students or employees. One such bill specifically aimed at students unanimously passed the California Senate yesterday. Advocates of these laws justifiably worry that, when students are required to provide their usernames to their schools—and sometimes even to turn over the passwords to their accounts—universities are infringing on students’ expressive rights and invading student privacy. This kind of monitoring has caught on quickest in the case of student athletes. The University of Kentucky (UK) and University of […]» Read More
April 5, 2012
Torch readers may recall the case of Nina Yoder, a nursing student at the University of Louisville who was expelled in 2009. As a nursing student, Yoder had witnessed a live birth and posted a detailed description of the event on social networking website MySpace.com. Yoder was quickly expelled for violating the school’s Honor Code and a Confidentiality Agreement, and she commenced a suit in federal district court alleging violations of her First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Yoder sought reinstatement as a nursing student, as well as damages. Initially, the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky […]» Read More
Sixth Circuit Orders Federal District Court to Rule on Student Blogger’s Free Speech and Due Process Claims
April 14, 2011
On Monday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a 2009 federal district court decision (full opinion here) in which a student claimed that the University of Louisville wrongfully dismissed her based on the contents of her personal blog. The district court had refused to rule on the student’s free speech and due process claims, and instead created a contractual claim on which to resolve the case. Now, thanks to the Sixth Circuit, that court will have to rule on important constitutional issues regarding the regulation of student speech. The case originated when Nina Yoder, a […]» Read More
January 25, 2010
Back in June, as Will wrote, the University of Louisville was inviting comment about proposed changes to the school’s Code of Conduct, including a new Values Statement. FIRE was invited to review the drafts of the new policies by a faculty member concerned about possible violations of individual rights. We communicated a few comments and concerns to the university, and we learned today that essentially all of our concerns have been addressed in the new campus-wide Code of Conduct. Most of all, we recommended that the university follow Penn State’s lead in separating aspirational values from specific standards of conduct: […]» Read More
June 12, 2009
The University of Louisville is inviting comment from the university community about proposed changes to the school’s code of conduct, including a new Values Statement and a new faculty, staff, and administrator Code of Conduct. FIRE was invited to review the drafts of the new policies by a faculty member concerned about possible violations of individual rights. We have a few comments about certain requirements we think might pose problems, were these policies to be enacted. First, the proposed Values Statement reads, in relevant part: Members of the University of Louisville community share these core values: [...] – Respect for […]» Read More
March 13, 2009
As Will wrote earlier in the week, FIRE has seen far too many instances of students’ First Amendment rights being thrown out the window when used to support Second Amendment rights. FIRE has been all over the news concerning the most recent instance of this, in which a student at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) was reported to the police by his professor and subjected to an interrogation on the basis of a class presentation he had given in favor of concealed carry rights on campus. Building on a FoxNews.com front-page story (tipped this week in an editorial on the […]» Read More