University of Maryland – College Park

Location: College Park, Maryland
Website: http://www.umd.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

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.

  • University of Maryland: State Senators Pressure University to Cancel Controversial Film Screening

    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. […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • University of Maryland Sexual Misconduct Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    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.

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  • President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues: Racial, Religious, Ethnicity/National Origin, Sexual Orientation, or Disability Report (RRESD) Brochure 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    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

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  • Department of Residence Life: Our Multicultural Philosophy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    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.

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  • Community Living Handbook: Rights and Responsibilities 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    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.

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Green Light Policies
  • Shank bill is intended to protect students’ rights of free speech

    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 […]

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  • Maryland Regents Pass on Porn Policy

    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. […]

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  • Student-hosted porn screening threatens college funding

    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 […]

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  • Porno teaches Maryland a valuable lesson

    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 […]

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  • Fire on American Campuses

    May 7, 2003

    By Richard L. Cravatts at The Washington Dispatch

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  • FIRE’s Will Creeley to Speak at University of Maryland Tomorrow

    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 […]

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  • University System of Maryland Regents Choose First Amendment, Reject Policy on Pornography

    November 13, 2009

    In a vote earlier this week, the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents declined to impose a policy on pornography on the eleven schools under its jurisdiction. By rejecting calls to create a policy regarding the screening on campus of films “purely for entertainment purposes,” the Board of Regents struck a blow for the First Amendment rights of Maryland’s public university students. The vote hopefully brings a happy conclusion to a tumultuous process which began in April when students at the University of Maryland-College Park planned to screen the pornographic film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge accompanied by a talk from Planned Parenthood representatives. As Torch readers […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • Rights in the News: At Maryland, Virginia Tech, UMass and Elsewhere, FIRE Cases Grabbing Headlines

    April 10, 2009

    Another week, another crush of FIRE cases from around the country battling for headlines. I’ll start with Greg’s Huffington Post blog on the controversy swirling around the University of Maryland campus in the wake of a legislator’s threat to pull funding from the university if it allowed students to screen an adult film on campus—which, after a hiccup or two, they went ahead and did anyway. Elsewhere, Robert addressed a brewing controversy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst via a column in The Boston Globe, while Adam took to the editorial pages of Virginia Tech’s student newspaper The Collegiate […]

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  • Greg in ‘Huffington Post’: A ‘Valuable Lesson’ for Maryland

    April 9, 2009

    Adding to the frenzy of local, national, and international press generated by recent events at the University of Maryland, Greg has taken to The Huffington Post with a simple message for Maryland State Senator Andrew P. Harris: “If you don’t want to help someone spread their message, don’t attempt to censor them.” Greg’s message to Harris and the Maryland legislature comes, of course, in response to Harris’ threats to threaten the university’s state funding if it allowed students to screen the adult film Pirates II: Scagnetti’s Revenge. Despite the legislative threats, students at Maryland—after initially canceling their planned viewing—went ahead […]

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  • Greg in ‘Huffington Post’ on ‘Hell Week for Campus Free Speech’

    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 […]

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  • Maryland Senators and University of Maryland Violate First Amendment over X-Rated Film Showings

    April 3, 2009

    Under intense pressure from the Maryland Senate, the University of Maryland has 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. Maryland Senator Andrew P. Harris introduced this amendment to the budget bill that happened to be before the Senate yesterday: Further provided that no general funds will be provided to any public higher education institution that, on or after April 2, 2009, sponsors, sanctions, promotes, endorses, or allows a public screening of any film that is marketed as a XXX-rated […]

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  • Uni scraps porn after funds strip threat

    April 3, 2009

    An attempt to distract university students in Maryland from late-night drinking with a feature-length porn movie was blocked Thursday after state senators threatened to cut funds for the college. The two-and-a-half-hour Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge – the most expensive pornographic film ever made, at a cost of $13 million – would have been shown at a University of Maryland student union theater on Saturday. Organizers at the College Park campus, 16km north of Washington, had championed educational aspects of the screening, with health group Planned Parenthood planning to hold a presentation on safe sex practices beforehand. The event was also […]

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  • Screening of porn film at University of Maryland canceled

    April 2, 2009

    The University of Maryland, College Park, has canceled this weekend’s screening of a hard-core pornographic film after state lawmakers objected and threatened to cut funding to the flagship state university. UM President C.D. Mote Jr. decided to cancel the screening of Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge, which was to be shown at the student union and had been approved by a student programming committee. A behind-the-scenes negotiation between state Senate officials and the university ensued after a debate broke out this morning on the chamber’s floor over the screening. “That’s really not what Maryland residents send their young students to college […]

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  • Hell week for campus free speech

    April 2, 2009

    The week is not quite over, and it’s already been a lousy one for free speech on America’s campuses. Yesterday, angry students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst were caught on video stealing a conservative student newspaper, while a police officer stood by and not only watched, but excused the students’ behavior. A graduate student protested the attempt to steal hundreds of copies of the newspaper, explaining that the newspaper said right on its front page that only the first copy was free and every following copy was three dollars (a tactic necessitated over the years by hundreds of previous […]

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  • Incident Demonstrates Lack of First Amendment Ethos at the University of Maryland

    August 17, 2007

    An article in The Examiner in Philadelphia notes a recent incident at the University of Maryland at College Park. A female student wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “I Stand for Israel” approached the register of the Maryland Food Collective, a store that rents space in the university student union, to purchase some culinary items. The clerk refused her business stating, “Your shirt offends me, I won’t ring you up.” Eventually another clerk took the student’s business. The student subsequently “apologized to the offended clerk and offered a chocolate cake as proof of the sincerity of her apology for […]

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  • ACLU Sues U. Maryland Over So-Called ‘Free-Speech’ Zones

    December 19, 2002

    By Sarah Lesher at University Wire

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