Location: College Park, Maryland
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit
University of Maryland – College Park 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.
October 1, 2009
Under intense pressure from the Maryland Senate, the University of Maryland cancelled a student-run campus event that would have included an educational event by Planned Parenthood and then a screening of the self-described “XXX”-rated film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge. Cancelling the event was a clear violation of the First Amendment and the students’ right to freedom of expression and, furthermore, a public school administrator is not allowed to engage in prior review. However, the school caved after Maryland Senator Andrew P. Harris introduced an amendment to the school budget bill banning providing general funds for screenings of XXX-rated adult films. […]» Read More
For the purpose of this Campus policy, sexual harassment is defined as: (1) unwelcome sexual advances; or (2) unwelcome requests for sexual favors; or (3) other behavior of a sexual or gender-based nature where: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment.
The behavior does not need to be directed at or to a specific person, but may be generalized unwelcomed comments based on sex or gender stereotypes.
Sexual harassment can include any or all of the following behavior, if pervasive and continuous, as well as others which are not listed: * Harassment through public or private insult, sexually suggestive comments concerning a person’s body or behavior, and sexual demands. … Undue and unwanted remarks about another person’s clothing, body, sexual activities, sexual preferences, or sexual orientation; unwelcome flirting, teasing, jokes, or gestures that are sexual in nature.
President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues: Racial, Religious, Ethnicity/National Origin, Sexual Orientation, or Disability Report (RRESD) Brochure 13-14
What are acts of Racial, Religious, Ethnicity/National Origin, Sexual Orientation or Disability (RRESD) harassment and intimidation?
Harassment and intimidation are acts of prejudice, hate, violence or intimidation directed against individuals, groups, or institutions because of race, religious, ethnicity/national origin, sexual orientation or disabilities. These incidents are intended to cause harm and may result in psychological or physical injury or property damage.
Why are RRESD harassment and intimidation wrong? Incidents that are motivated by prejudice and hatred pose a unique danger to society. Such acts affect the fundamental rights of our community, not just the immediate victim. These incidents cause tension and may erupt into violence. Examples: * RRESD Slurs * Computer/Phone Harassment * Physical Attack * Hate Symbols * Hate Literature * Verbal Abuse * Destruction of Property
It is our belief that any willful attempt to repress, undermine, or otherwise damage any person or group constitutes a legitimate threat to the health and welfare of our community. Such acts are inherently anti-intellectual and contradict the institutional goals of education and enlightenment. As such, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, abuse, assault, verbal or written threats (direct or implied) will be addressed immediately, and dealt with seriously.
Uncivil behavior tears down the social structure of the community, damages the dignity of the person who displays it, and threatens others’ sense of their rightful place in their homes on campus. Violations of rules that bring about abuse, harassment, or intended insult to others are taken seriously. Any student who commits such violations will be challenged through sanctioning to reconsider his or her behavior and engage constructively with others who were affected by it, and may be removed from the community.
Causing physical harm or a reasonable expectation of physical harm to any person.
Harassing or threatening any person so as to interfere with that person’s ability to sleep, study, or be present in one’s own room or residence hall.
Freedom of expression and an open environment to pursue scholarly inquiry and for sharing of information are encouraged, supported, and protected at the University of Maryland. These values lie at the core of our academic community. Censorship is not compatible with the tradition and goals of the university.
February 23, 2010
Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, on Tuesday went before the House Appropriations Committee to defend a bill he is sponsoring that is intended to protect students’ rights of free speech. The bill is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the College Republicans and the College Democrats. It would prohibit private colleges and universities from making or enforcing rules that subject students at the institution to disciplinary sanctions on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication. Institutions that qualify for Sellinger funding, which is state aid to assist students […]» Read More
November 11, 2009
The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents declined Wednesday to impose a pornography policy at the 11 schools under its jurisdiction. The regents followed the chancellor’s recommendation to not create a policy regarding films screened “purely for entertainment purposes” on its campuses Wednesday, putting an end to months of debate on students’ First Amendment rights. The University of Maryland, College Park had planned to screen the pornographic film “Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge” at its student union in April until state Sen. Andrew Harris, R-Baltimore County, threatened to cut off the university’s state funding if it aired. University President C. […]» Read More
April 8, 2009
Pirates of the Caribbean, meet Deep Throat. A porn flick making its way across college campuses is drawing stiff resistance from critics who say universities shouldn’t pay for smut. But the film’s supporters say it doesn’t rise to the legal definition of obscenity, and the schools have a First Amendment right to show it. The film in question — “Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge” — is produced by Digital Playground, which calls itself “the world leader in adult filmmaking and interactive formats boasting the largest HD library available.” The film that has been airing on campuses is unrated, although Digital Playground […]» Read More
April 8, 2009
There are a whole host of little lessons one learns when working in First Amendment law: What is vulgar to one person might be poetic to another, occasional offense is a small price to pay for a pluralistic democracy, without a free press there can be no meaningful democratic process, etc. But one of the more entertaining lessons one learns is: If you don’t want to help someone spread their message, don’t attempt to censor them. Case in point: Maryland State Senator Andrew P. Harris’ recent attempts to ban University of Maryland students from showing Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge, a […]» Read More
April 15, 2013
Tomorrow, FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley travels to the University of Maryland (UMD) at College Park to speak about student rights on campus. The speech will begin at 3:30 p.m. in LeFrak Hall, room 2205. The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the UMD Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the UMD chapters of Students For Liberty, the College Democrats, the College Republicans, and Young Americans for Liberty. Creeley will examine the state of the law on freedom of speech on today’s college campuses, discussing the decades of legal […]» Read More
In Letter to ‘Washington Post,’ FIRE’s Creeley Criticizes Mandatory ‘Pornography’ Policy in Maryland Colleges
October 19, 2009
Last week The Washington Post published an editorial criticizing the Maryland State Senate’s imposition of a requirement that all schools in the state’s university system craft a comprehensive policy “on the use of public higher education facilities for the displaying or screening of obscene films and materials.” This measure, spearheaded by Senator Andrew P. Harris, comes in direct response to a controversy over the showing of an adult film at the University of Maryland – College Park earlier this year. The Post editorial condemns the requirement and the First Amendment threats it introduces. FIRE could not agree more, and to […]» Read More
April 3, 2009
Defending free speech is often an exhilarating and rewarding experience, fighting the good fight in an uphill battle for constitutional rights against an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars. But sometimes, and this was one of those weeks, that hill looks pretty steep. Greg writes in his latest column on The Huffington Post on the “hell week for campus free speech.” FIRE broke the story of newspaper theft at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where students stole copies of a conservative student paper right in front of a campus police officer (all caught on tape). The University of […]» Read More