Location: University of Richmond, Virginia
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit
University of Richmond 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
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
Disruption: … Disorderly conduct, obscene conduct, inappropriate behavior or expression ….
Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
Bias Incident: defined as acts that do not appear to constitute a crime or actionable discrimination, but which may intimidate, mock, degrade, or threaten, individuals or groups and which one could reasonably conclude targets a member or group within the University community because of that individual or group’s actual or perceived age, ancestry or ethnicity, color, creed, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, immigration or citizenship status, marital status, national origin, race, religion, religious practice, or sexual orientation.
Students, faculty, and staff who are the subject of or who witness a Bias Incident may report such incident to the Director of Common Ground who shall assist the individual making the report in identifying appropriate University resources for support and guidance and shall notify the members of the Bias Response Team of such report.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
The University prohibits discrimination and harassment against applicants, students, faculty or staff on the basis of race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, status as a veteran or any classification protected by local, state or federal law.
Harassment is the creation of a hostile or intimidating environment, in which verbal or physical conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere significantly with an individual’s work or education, or affect adversely an individual’s living conditions on campus.
Illegal and improper harassment based on any of the classifications in paragraph 1, may include: … Making unwelcome or offensive comments about a person’s clothing, body or personal life; Offensive jokes or unwelcome innuendoes; Other conduct that creates a work or educational environment that may be considered offensive or hostile, even though some staff or students might not find them objectionable; Use of unwelcome or offensive nicknames or terms of endearment.
Sexual harassment, in particular, may consist of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or more of the following occur: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work or educational environment.
January 2, 2013
One New Year’s resolution we’d like to see in 2013 is a renewed effort to uphold the First Amendment on college campuses. According to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, 62 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities “maintain severely restrictive speech codes … that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech.” FIRE noted that the overwhelming majority of speech is protected. But narrow exceptions (such as “fighting words,” obscenity and defamation) “are often misused and abused by universities to punish constitutionally protected speech.” Restrictions intended to protect students from harassment or bullying have been […]» Read More
February 6, 2014
Yesterday, the University of Richmond earned the unfortunate distinction of playing host to FIRE’s February Speech Code of the Month with its Standards of Student Conduct policy, which bans “inappropriate behavior or expression.” A private institution, the University of Richmond promises to promote academic freedom and expression—but its speech code shows the university does not live up to its commitment. Thankfully, unlike her school’s administration, Richmond student Gigi DeJoy does understand the value of free expression. In an op-ed published today in her campus paper, The Collegian, DeJoy says that it is student expression that makes a school unique, not the beauty of […]» Read More
February 5, 2014
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2014: the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond’s Standards of Student Conduct prohibit any “inappropriate behavior or expression,” giving the administration complete discretion to punish virtually any expression it finds inconvenient or unwelcome.» Read More