Groups says OSU restricts freedom of speech

March 5, 2014

by Collin Binkley at The Columbus Dispatch

A poster warning against sexual harassment at Ohio State University led a national group to conclude that the school “substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

In an annual ratings publication by the group Fire, which works to protect freedom of speech on campuses, Ohio State was one of 10 schools in the state that earned a “red light” for having at least one policy that limits freedom of speech. Only one Ohio school, Cleveland State University, earned a “green light.”

The group dinged Ohio State for a poster by the human-resources office at the school. In big, bold typeface, it warns that “ sexual harassment is illegal” and lists eight examples of taboo behavior. The examples include “ sexual jokes, innuendos, gestures” and “leering.” In its report, the group doesn’t explain whether any particular examples led to the “red light” label for the school.

Other Ohio schools that earned the red light are: Case Western Reserve University, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, Ohio University, Shawnee State University, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Toledo, Wright State University and Youngstown State University.

OSU has earned a “red light” in past years, too.

The Fire organization, an acronym for Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, was founded in 1999 by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a civil-liberties attorney.

Schools: The Ohio State University