Bard College

Location: Annandale on Hudson, New York
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 2nd Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Bard College 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 29, 2017

    Sexual Harassment: Any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, written, graphic, online, and/or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may be disciplined or sanctioned when:

    1. It creates a hostile environment; or

    2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or participation in any College program or activity, or is used as the basis for College decisions affecting the individual (often referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment).

    Gender-Based Harassment: Any unwelcome conduct based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, gender-stereotyping, sexual orientation, or sex, which includes acts of aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility, whether verbal, nonverbal, written, graphic, online, and/or physical. Gender-based harassment may occur when individuals are harassed for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic of their gender, or for failing to conform with stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. Gender-based harassment may be disciplined when it creates a hostile environment.

    Hostile Environment: A hostile environment exists when conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive, such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational or employment programs, activities, or opportunities. The determination of whether a hostile 6 environment exists is made with consideration of both subjective and objective perspectives. A single or isolated incident of sexual or gender-based harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Harassment/Discrimination Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 22, 2016


    Harassment is unwelcome, hostile, or inappropriate conduct directed toward an individual because of his or her protected status. Such conduct violates College policy if it (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, living, or learning environment for the affected individual, or (2) substantially interferes with that individual’s working, living, or learning environment. This can include persistent comments or jokes about an individual’s religion, race, age, or gender; verbal behavior, including insults, remarks, epithets, or derogatory statements directed at an individual or group; nonverbal behavior, including graffiti, inappropriate physical advances short of physical violence; and assault, including physical violence or the threat of physical violence.


    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Campus Computing

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 29, 2017

    Inappropriate use includes: … Sending messages that are severely abusive or threaten an individual’s safety or for sexual, ethnic, religious, minority, or other harassment.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Sign Posting Policy

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: August 29, 2017

    Bard College fosters and supports the exchange of information and expression of ideas. To that end, students are not allowed to remove flyers they find offensive. An example of such a flyer should be brought to the attention of the Office of Student Activities. Postings that violate the free speech policy may be removed and sponsors may be subject to disciplinary action.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Bias Incidents

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: August 29, 2017

    While Bard College is committed to the free and open exchange of ideas and to the view that the expression of controversial ideas and differing views is a vital part of campus discourse, it does not condone harassment or expressions of bias or hate aimed at individuals or groups. Speech or expression that is not prohibited, but is rude, lacking in respect, disruptive, or hateful is discouraged. The College may voice its disapproval of such expression through private communications, public condemnation, the organization of public forum and calls for more speech and open debate.


    A bias incident is an event, behavior, or action which is personally directed against or targets an individual or group based on perceived or actual characteristics such as race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity/expression, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, or military veteran status.  The kinds of incidents that may constitute a bias incident include, but are not limited to, hostile and/or abusive verbal, written or electronic communication, graffiti, stalking, and vandalism.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Events Registration

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: August 29, 2017

    Bard College strongly affirms the right of free speech for each member of the Bard community.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Free Speech Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 29, 2017

    Threats, harassment, coercion, and acts threatening or causing physical harm are prohibited at Bard, as they are in the public community.

    » Read More

At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • Bard College Steps Up for Free Speech

    October 4, 2011

    It always feels great to be able to share good news about free speech on campus. So I am very happy to report that Bard College in New York has taken the commendable step of clarifying its student conduct policies to affirm that the college is committed to students’ right to free speech and expression. Until this year, Bard was listed as “not rated” in FIRE’s Spotlight database, a designation reserved for private institutions that make clear that they place other values above the right to free speech. Bard’s “Community Standards of Behavior” formerly provided that Everyone who lives, works, […]

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  • Sectarian Institutions and Free Speech

    April 17, 2007

    As mentioned in previous blog entries, George Mason University Professor Jon B. Gould’s call for the dissolution of FIRE (subscribers only, unfortunately) in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Review section is riddled with mischaracterizations and inaccuracies. Having disproved his example of FIRE’s “exaggeration” of speech codes and pointed out his questionable understanding of how sexual harassment regulations are constructed on campus, we would like to turn now to his contention that FIRE does not much care about censorship on sectarian religious campuses: One need only look at FIRE’s Web site. During the first week of February this year, half of […]

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