Location: Notre Dame, Indiana
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit
University of Notre Dame 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
Never use University resources to post, view, print, store, or send obscene,
pornographic, sexually explicit, or offensive material, except for officially approved,
legitimate academic or University purposes.
All demonstrations must be registered in writing with the Associate Vice President for Campus Safety ….
The following actions and behaviors are clearly inconsistent with the University’s expectations for membership in this community. * Abusive or harassing behavior, including unwelcome communication. * Actions which seemingly affect only the individual(s) involved but which may have a negative or disruptive impact on the University community and/or concern a student’s personal and academic growth. … * Willful damage to the reputation or psychological well-being of another.
The determination of what constitutes sexual harassment will vary with the particular circumstances, but may be described generally as: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive University environment.
Students who believe they are victims of sexual harassment by another student may have the option of proceeding informally or formally. The student may find informal resolution particularly appropriate if the conduct is isolated and of the following nature: sexual innuendo; display or distribution of drawings, pictures or other materials with a sexual content; sexual or “dirty” jokes; or comments with sexual content. Please note that the formal report process is available for harassment of any nature, and that these examples are not intended to discourage use of the formal report process.
All signs and posters placed on any University bulletin boards … must reflect good taste.
Harassment is any physical conduct that intentionally inflicts injury on the person or property of another, or any intentional threat of such conduct; any hostile, intentional, and persistent badgering, addressed directly at another, or group of others, that is intended to intimidate its victim(s) from any University activity; or any verbal attack, intended to provoke the victim to immediate physical retaliation.
Conduct as described in A., above, constitutes discriminatory
harassment, if, in addition, it is accompanied by intentionally
demeaning expressions concerning the race, gender, religion,
age, sexual orientation, national origin or disability of the
As a Catholic university one of its distinctive goals is to provide a forum where through free inquiry and open discussion the various lines of Catholic thought may intersect with all the forms of knowledge found in the arts, sciences, professions, and every other area of human scholarship and creativity.
[T]he University insists upon academic freedom which makes open discussion and inquiry possible.
Notre Dame students and student organizations are free to examine
and to discuss all questions of interest to them and to express
opinions publicly and privately.
January 7, 2013
Notre Dame’s high-profile re-emergence among college football’s elite has brought new attention and fresh scrutiny to a two-year-old case involving a Notre Dame player and allegations of sexual assault. In August 2010, 19-year-old freshman Lizzy Seeberg accused the athlete of sexually assaulting her in his dorm. She filed a report with campus police, which sat on it for two weeks before even interviewing him. By then, Seeberg had committed suicide. Administrators would later convene a closed-door campus disciplinary hearing — three months after Seeberg’s death became national news — in which the player was found “not responsible.” In the university’s […]» Read More
January 7, 2013
by Kristen Lombardi NBC News Notre Dame’s high-profile re-emergence among college football’s elite has brought new attention and fresh scrutiny to a two-year-old case involving a Notre Dame player and allegations of sexual assault. In August 2010, 19-year-old freshman Lizzy Seeberg accused the athlete of sexually assaulting her in his dorm. She filed a report with campus police, which sat on it for two weeks before even interviewing him. By then, Seeberg had committed suicide. Administrators would later convene a closed-door campus disciplinary hearing — three months after Seeberg’s death became national news — in which the player was […]» Read More
November 30, 2012
In 2007, Keith John Sampson, a middle-aged student working his way through Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as a janitor, was declared guilty of racial harassment. Without granting Sampson a hearing, the university administration — acting as prosecutor, judge and jury — convicted him of “openly reading [a] book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject.” “Openly.” “Related to.” Good grief. The book, “Notre Dame vs. the Klan,” celebrated the 1924 defeat of the Ku Klux Klan in a fight with Notre Dame students. But some of Sampson’s co-workers disliked the book’s cover, which featured a black-and-white photograph of a Klan […]» Read More
September 5, 2013
As FIRE wraps up our annual review of university speech codes for our upcoming speech code report, we are running a blog series about colleges and universities that are just one policy away from dropping their poor, “red light,” speech code ratings. If these universities revise their red light policies before our data collection period ends on September 30, they will earn an improved speech code rating in this year’s report. Today’s featured school is the University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame’s policy on Responsible Use of Information Technologies (PDF) provides (emphasis added): Never use University resources to post, view, […]» Read More
July 6, 2011
The University of Notre Dame has settled an investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights into its sexual assault policies and procedures, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports. Predictably, the settlement involved Notre Dame agreeing to use the preponderance of the evidence standard in sexually related cases (FIRE explains its objections to this low standard of evidence here.) According to the OCR press release, the settlement “furthers the goals of OCR and the university to have in place procedures and practices that are designed to prevent a sexually hostile environment from occurring on campus.” FIRE has been worried that OCR’s failure to mention free […]» Read More