Location: Richmond, Virginia
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit
Virginia Commonwealth University 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.
Sexual Harassment – unwelcome verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct, including sexual violence, when:
1. Submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment, education, or participation in a University activity, or
2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is a factor in a decision affecting employment, education, or participation in a University activity.
Another form of sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct based on sex or gender that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with a student’s academic (or work) performance or living conditions, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. This form of harassment may include acts of intimidation, aggression or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome acts of a sexual nature including sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and/or other verbal or physical conduct, including written communications, of an intimidating, hostile or offensive nature, or action taken in retaliation for the reporting of such behavior, when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment or substantially interferes with an employee’s work performance or a student’s academic performance.
Verbal sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to:
- Sexual innuendo, comments and sexual remarks about clothing, body or sexual activities
- Humor and jokes about sex that denigrate women or men in general
- Sexual propositions, invitations or other pressures for sex
- Implied or overt threats of a sexual nature
- Making gestures of a sexual nature
Other types of sexual harassment may include displaying sexually suggestive photographs or literature in the workplace or academic environment and making degrading insults about men or women in general.
Residential Life & Housing prohibits any person, either singly or in concert with others, from willfully causing injury to another, willfully threatening the well-being of another, verbally abusing others and/or intimidating others (including university officials and
student staff acting in accordance with their duties) regardless of who initiates these actions. This includes all threats in person, nuisance and/or prank calls, via white boards, via third party, via telephone, letters, emails, instant messages, text, Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, Instagram or any other means.
Although all student organizations, ad hoc student groups, or non-student groups are urged to contact the Assigned University Official (see footnote) to discuss a date, time, and location in advance of the demonstration, it is recognized that there will be rare occasions when this does not occur.
Violations include, but are not limited to, unauthorized entry, unauthorized transfer of a file, use of another individual’s identification and/or password, use of computing facilities and resources to interfere with the work of another University member, use of computing facilities and resources to send obscene or abusive messages ….
Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the objectives of an institution of higher education.
[N]o person, either singly or in concert with others, shall willfully: … Harass or intimidate any person.
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
May 5, 2011
The University of Virginia plans to revise its sexual misconduct policy to broaden the scope of offenses and to lower the standard of evidence necessary to find a student guilty. Under the policy, sexual misconduct would become the umbrella term to include any unwelcome sexual behavior. The revision more precisely defines what constitutes assault, harassment and exploitation, including offenses such as cyberstalking, the recording of sexual images and the knowing transmission of a sexually transmitted infection. The policy also would eliminate the geographic limit on UVa’s jurisdiction, which under current policy covers university property or a student or employee residence […]» Read More
April 24, 2012
In defense of their free speech rights, students at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) recently took to protesting a proposed new policy aimed in part at student demonstrations at VCU. The policy in question prohibited the following: Participating in an on-campus or off-campus demonstration, riot or activity that disrupts the normal operations of the University and/or infringes on the rights of others; leading or inciting others to disrupt scheduled and/or normal activities within any campus building or area. The protesting students argued that the policy was too broadly worded and could be used against peaceful demonstrations and rallies, a core First […]» Read More