Shippensburg University’s Speech Codes (2003)

By on February 24, 2004

Students at Shippensburg are granted their “right to express a personal belief system,” but only if such expression does not “provoke” or “demean.” Shippensburg’s “Community Relations” policies stipulate that students have the right to be free from “emotional abuse.”
View this denial of students’ ability and right to learn and live together without coercion (also attached below).

Shippensburg claims the right to regulate conscience and thought in addition to language and expression: “Shippensburg University’s commitment to racial tolerance, cultural diversity and social justice will require every member of this community to ensure that the principles of these ideals be mirrored in their attitudes and behaviors.”

Shippensburg defines harassment as “conduct which annoys, threatens, or alarms a person or group.”
View Shippensburg’s loose definitions, overbreadth, and further revisions of the U.S. Constitution (also attached below).

Among examples of outlawed sexual harassment, Shippensburg University lists not only actionable behavior, but also “verbal” and other expressions such as “sexual innuendo, suggestive comments, insults, sexual propositions, humor/jokes about sex or gender-specific traits.” As some “non-verbal” examples of sexual harassment, the university lists “suggestive or insulting sounds, leering, whistling, [and] obscene gestures.”
View this ban on stand-up comics and other social critics (also attached below).

Finally, Shippensburg insists that “no person shall participate in acts of intolerance that demonstrate malicious or demeaning intentions towards others.” Shippensburg says it will defend the right of free speech unless the expression is “inflammatory, demeaning, or harmful toward others.”
View Shippensburg’s modification of the First Amendment (also attached below).

Download file "Racism and Cultural Diversity"

Schools: Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania Cases: Shippensburg University: Speech Code Litigation