Baylor University

Location: Waco, Texas
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Baylor University has been given the speech code rating Warning. FIRE provides a "Warning" rating to prospective students and faculty members when a private university clearly and consistently states that it holds a certain set of values above a commitment to freedom of speech. Read more here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Life: Bias Response Team (BRT)

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

    If you believe you have been subject to a bias-motivated act, one avenue to pursue is the Bias Response Team, or BRT. BRT operates with the support of the President’s Office and consists of staff and faculty who have expertise in diversity issues and conflict resolution. BRT meets regularly to discuss new and ongoing cases.

    What Should be Reported:

    BRT deals with bias-motivated incidents that involve race, nationality, religion, gender, age, etc.

    Examples of such incidents:

    • You are subjected to verbal abuse because you are an international student.
    • A wall near the door of a Jewish student is defaced with anti-Semitic phrases.
    • Every time you go to your work-study job, your supervisor insists on telling jokes that are demeaning to women.
    • Your professor repeatedly makes racially disparaging comments.

    » Read More

Not Rated Policies
  • BU-PP 028: Civil Rights Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 12, 2016

    Behavior that violates the student disciplinary policy or the personnel policy may be a basis for discipline, whether or not the behavior violates someone’s civil rights. For example, one statement regarding another’s sexual activity may not be sexual harassment as defined in civil rights laws, but such a statement may nonetheless be inappropriate and form the basis of discipline.

    Hostile environment sexual harassment contemplates unwelcome sexual conduct that is sufficiently severe or pervasive enough to alter the employment or educational environment. For example:

    a. It may be sexual harassment if a professor engages in a pattern of sexual comments (not legitimately related to the subject matter of the course if one is involved) intended to discomfort or humiliate a student.

    b. It may be sexual harassment for a supervisor to engage in a pattern of sexual comments, such as inquiries into sexual activity, or sexual behavior, such as touching of oneself or of the employee in a sexual manner, that would interfere with the working environment of a reasonable employee.

    Whether or not such sexual conduct is sexual harassment depends on such factors as the nature of the conduct, the frequency of such conduct and whether or not the conduct was welcomed.

    » Read More

  • Student Policies and Procedures: Campus Speakers

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: October 12, 2016

    Speakers whose purposes and methods are basically contrary to the purposes and methods of a Christian university such as Baylor should not be invited. The use of profanity shall not be tolerated.

    » Read More

  • BU-PP 025: Technology Systems Usage Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: October 12, 2016

    Fraudulent, harassing, offensive, or obscene messages or materials are not to be sent, printed, requested, displayed, or stored on Baylor-owned or operated technology systems. Information that invades an individual’s privacy or is disparaging of an individual or business must not be published without the express consent of the person or business entity.

    Baylor University contracts with a professional Web-filtering service to block sites that this vendor designates as adult content (e.g., obscenity, pornography).

    » Read More

  • Guide to Community Living: Residential Policies & Procedures- Obscene Material

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: October 12, 2016

    Obscene material, including but not limited to, pornographic literature, X-rated movies, posters depicting full or partial nudity, displays of profanity (verbal or written), and language or images that are offensive to others are prohibited from all on-campus residential communities. This standard also applies to obscene material on computers.

    » Read More

  • Student Policies and Procedures: Statement on Human Sexuality

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: October 12, 2016

    It is thus expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching.

    » Read More

  • Student Policies and Procedures: Student Conduct Code- Misconduct Defined

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: October 12, 2016

    The following examples of misconduct are not inclusive but are intended to give a student an idea of the types of behavior that may result in disciplinary action.

    Expression that is inappropriate in the setting of Baylor University and in opposition to the Christian ideals which it strives to uphold.

    Contemptuous or disrespectful behavior.

    » Read More

  • Student Organization Policies: Expectations for Events Involving Expressive Activity

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: October 12, 2016

    Student organization expressive activity must be registered with the Department of Student Activities and follow all guidelines as requested by Student Activities in the event approval notice. … Signage, leaflets, or other distributable or displayable materials will be reviewed prior to expressive activity for approval. … The University reserves the right to control time, place, message, and manner of the expressive activity.

    » Read More

  • Student Policies and Procedures: Campus Facilities Use and Campus Solicitation Policy

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: October 12, 2016

    Baylor University is a private university controlled by an all-Baptist board of regents operated within the Christian-oriented aims and ideals of Baptists, and affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, a cooperative association of autonomous Texas Baptist churches. Accordingly, the campus is private property; and no party may enter or remain upon it without the consent of the University. Furthermore, no party may conduct or participate in an activity, including any facilities use or campus solicitation, that would embarrass or bring discredit to the Convention or to Baylor in the view of their constituencies.

    » Read More

  • Baylor University Allowed ‘at Least 52 Acts of Rape’ in Four Years, Suit Alleges

    January 31, 2017

    By Kimberly Lawson at Broadly. According to a new lawsuit, the Texas university basically granted full impunity to members of its football team—resulting in “the most widespread culture of sexual violence and abuse of women ever reported in a collegiate education program.”… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Did Baylor University Sweep Sexual Assault Claims Under the Rug?

    October 20, 2016

    By Staff at The Christian Science Monitor Baylor University is under federal investigation after its former coordinator responsible for preventing gender discrimination filed a complaint over sexual violence on the university’s Waco campus, a federal agency spokeswoman said Wednesday… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • 2 High-Profile Cases Offer Glimpse of Future Trends in Campus Sex Assaults

    June 19, 2016

    By Katherine Mangan at The Chronicle of Higher Education One had just finished his first semester of college; the other was beginning his last. Both were accomplished athletes at prestigious universities who ended up making national headlines for the wrong reasons, when they were expelled for sexual assault… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Could SEC Recruiting Rules Have Prevented Sexual Assault at Baylor? (+video)

    June 1, 2016

    By Max Lewontin at The Christian Science Monitor As Baylor University in Waco,Texas, grapples with allegations that university officials mishandled sexual assault cases against members of its football team, another powerful athletic conference in the South is strengthening its recruiting rules on students disciplined for sexual assault… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • The Schools Where Free Speech Goes to Die

    January 21, 2016

    By Katha Pollitt at The Nation Trigger warnings, safe spaces, micro-aggressions—in 2015, pundits, politicians, and other serious people had a lot of fun bemoaning academia as a liberal la-la land where hands are held and minds are coddled. I’m rather old-school when it comes to free expression. I didn’t go for author and Northwestern professor Laura Kipnis’s notorious essay cheering professor-student affairs, but surely it was overkill for grad students to bring charges against her under Title IX for having a “chilling effect” on student victims’ willingness to come forward. Wouldn’t writing a letter to the editor have sufficed? As for […]

    » Read More
  • Baylor’s Failure Exposes Flaws in Campus Sexual Assault Adjudication

    June 3, 2016

    A recent report detailing Baylor University’s mishandling of campus sexual assault allegations against its football players has rocked the institution to its core. The report, issued last week, led the institution’s Board of Regents to fire head football coach Art Briles and to demote President Ken Starr, who subsequently resigned as the university’s chancellor yesterday. Surprisingly, some observers have cited the events at Baylor as evidence that colleges and universities should be handling campus sexual assault allegations. But as Reason’s Robby Soave effectively points out, the Baylor case is actually a powerful demonstration of precisely why it’s a mistake to […]

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  • DOJ’s Misguided Expectations of Campus Administrators

    May 5, 2016

    Since the release of the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) April 22 findings letter to the University of New Mexico (UNM), my colleagues have been analyzing many of its problematic aspects. From the overbroad definition of sexual harassment that threatens First Amendment rights on campus to the micromanaging of Title IX compliance, one thing is clear: The federal government is simply asking too much of campus administrators. Although we’ve been focusing largely on the First Amendment implications, the UNM findings letter presents other serious problems as well. One such problem is that colleges and universities are increasingly under pressure to […]

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  • Baylor Follow-Up: Remaking the Case for Mandatory Reporting

    September 16, 2015

    On Monday, we ran an article here on The Torch about how Baylor University seems to have dropped the ball on the campus sexual assault investigation into football player Sam Ukwuachu. FIRE argued that this case demonstrates how poorly equipped schools are to adjudicate serious crimes like rape, underscoring our position that not only should law enforcement and courts be involved in these cases, but schools should also be required to report sexual assault allegations to the local authorities. This assertion garnered pushback. The two key criticisms of FIRE’s position are that (1) mandatory reporting forces victims to involve police, […]

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  • Baylor Rape Controversy More Evidence Colleges Unequipped to Decide Sexual Assault Cases

    September 14, 2015

    Baylor University’s decision not to punish football player Sam Ukwuachu, who was later convicted of rape in a criminal proceeding using the customary “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of proof, gives us a chance to reiterate FIRE’s position that police and actual courts of law—not campus administrators—should be investigating and adjudicating these serious crimes. Despite the fact that it would use only a low, “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine his guilt, Baylor said it still didn’t have enough evidence to pursue charges against Ukwuachu, who was accused of rape by a fellow student athlete. Reports on what Baylor […]

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  • F.A.C.T. Rally at Delta Kappa Epsilon

    April 15, 2005

    On Tuesday morning on the front lawn of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) house, approximately 300 students and several members of the media gathered to participate in the Freedom of Association: the Coalition for Truth (F.A.C.T.) Rally. The rally focused on protesting Colgate’s Residential Plan, which, according to the official Colgate website, will require all Greek-letter organizations to be based in University housing. The University plan requires the sale of all Greek letter houses to the University. At the current time, all Greek-letter alumni associations are voting on whether or not to sell their houses to Colgate. Thus far, DKE […]

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