College of the Holy Cross: Student Investigated for Joking in Group Chat


College of the Holy Cross

Search all Cases

Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On February 15, 2023, a student at the College of the Holy Cross joked in a group chat that, in connection with criticizing a perceived double standard in how sexual assault claims are adjudicated based on the political views of the accuser and accused, she would accuse the college’s president of sexual assault to “see what happens.” The comment never gave rise to any actual accusation. When administrators learned of the comment months later and required the student to attend an “investigative meeting.” FIRE wrote Holy Cross to object that the college’s commitment to students’ expressive freedoms prevents it from investigating or punishing them for offensive comments. FIRE also explained that the comment did not approach the legal standards to constitute either a true threat or harassment. Within days of writing, FIRE confirmed that the college terminated the investigation and that no further action would ensue.