Boston College

Location: Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Boston College has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more

Due Process Rating

Sexual Misconduct

Read more
F

Non-Sexual Misconduct

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D

  • Policies and Procedures Manual: Use of University Technological and Information Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    Users are to exercise caution and good judgment if there is a reasonable expectation that accessed material may be considered objectionable by some. Such material is to be accessed in a private environment and in a manner that will not negatively affect those who may deem it objectionable or offensive. Public workst... Read More
  • Office of Student Involvement: Posting Policy

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    Postings must be consistent with the principles and values espoused by Boston College. In addition, the content of the postings must avoid demeaning or discriminatory portrayals of individuals or groups, cannot be libelous, violate copyright law, or contain any material that is inconsistent with the community standa... Read More
  • Student Guide: Code of Student Conduct – Student Demonstrations

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    To ensure that public demonstrations do not violate directly or indirectly the rights of others by preventing or disrupting the ordinary operation of the University, all activities in the nature of a public speech, rally, demonstration, march, protest or other coordinated event (“demonstrations”) must be registered... Read More
  • Student Guide: Code of Student Conduct- Community Disturbance

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    Each student is expected to demonstrate responsible citizenship and to not participate in or create conditions that disrupt the University or the larger community (e.g., excessive or unreasonable noise, excessively large parties, or rude and abusive language or behavior). This policy applies to all students while on... Read More
  • Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    The University does not limit its ability to respond to inappropriate sexual behavior and forms of sexual misconduct that may not be specifically described in this policy or that does not constitute criminal behavior. None of the definitions below may be read to inhibit the University’s ability to address any incide... Read More
  • Hate Crimes and Bias Motivated Offensive Conduct Protocol: Definitions

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    This protocol uses the term “bias-motivated offensive conduct” to refer to behavior that, whether or not criminal, constitutes a violation of behavioral standards and policies listed in the Student Guide and Professional Standards of Boston College, and that is motivated in whole or in part by the offend... Read More
  • Policies and Procedures Manual: Discriminatory Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    For the purposes of this policy, the following are considered discriminatory harassment. 1. Conduct that, by reference to the sex, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, handicap, age, sexual orientation, or status as a Vietnam-era veteran of a member or members of the University community, intentional... Read More
  • Student Guide: Code of Student Conduct- Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    As members of a learning community, all student members of the Boston College community have certain responsibilities to the institution and to its members. These include: … The obligation to refrain from interfering with the freedom of expression of others. This includes such activities as newspaper thefts, a... Read More
  • The Bylaws of the Trustees of Boston College and the University Statutes: The University Objective

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 12, 2018

    It is the purpose of Boston College to cultivate the attitudes and to provide the means essential to achieve: … 2. freedom of inquiry as indispensable for attaining truth. Read More

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.

Grades

Sexual Misconduct

F
3/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous

Non-Sexual Misconduct

D
5/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous
  • Boston College: Controversial Speaker Disinvited

    April 2, 2009

    Boston College not only banned former Weather Underground member William Ayers from campus but also refused to permit him to speak on campus via satellite to an audience limited to members of the BC community, citing “security issues.” Administrators have not replied to any of FIRE’s letters, asking them to reaffirm their commitment to free… Read more

  • Boston College: Red Light Rating

    April 2, 2009

    Boston College (BC) promises that all of its students have the right “to learn, which includes the right of access to ideas, the right of access to facts and opinions, the right to express ideas, and the right to discuss those ideas with others.” At the same time, BC undercuts those promises with other restrictive… Read more

  • University of Massachusetts Amherst: Student Group Charged Unconstitutional Security Fee for Controversial Speaker

    March 24, 2009

    The Republican Club at UMass Amherst was pressured to accept $444.52 in extra security fees by the university’s police department after it became known that students were planning to protest and disrupt its lecture event featuring conservative columnist Don Feder. Though the Republican Club reluctantly accepted the fees, the speech was nonetheless disrupted by protesters,… Read more

  • FIRE alerts students to due process threats using campus newspapers

    February 23, 2018

    FIRE’s recent groundbreaking Spotlight on Due Process report found that the overwhelming majority of our nation’s top universities fail to provide students even the most basic elements of due process. Now, to make sure students know what they’re up against if they’re accused of serious misconduct, FIRE is running eye-catching ads in campus newspapers at… Read more

  • Boston College Students Experience the Benefits of True Civil Debate

    October 7, 2013

    “Civility” is one of the words that sets off alarm bells at FIRE. (No, it’s not because we’re unusually rude.) Many universities have enacted “civility codes,” ostensibly to maintain a respectful and inclusive atmosphere on campus. But, as my colleague Samantha Harris has pointed out, this is often censorship by another name. If you curtail… Read more

  • Under Pressure from FIRE, UMass Amherst Revises 2010’s Speech Code of the Year

    February 14, 2011

    Under pressure from FIRE, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has revised its policy governing rallies on campus—and not a moment too soon. FIRE supporters will remember that the policy had earned UMass Amherst intensely negative attention, both here on The Torch and in the national media. In January, FIRE named the policy the 2010… Read more

  • Dorm Room Search Thrown Out of Court

    November 18, 2010

    The Boston Globe reports that Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court has thrown out evidence in a drug case garnered from an apparently nonconsensual dorm room search by Boston College police. Hat tip to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

  • Boston College Fails to Live Up to Its Free Speech Promises, Earns Dishonorable ‘Red Light’ Rating

    August 7, 2009

    Boston College (BC) promises that all of its students have the right "to learn, which includes the right of access to ideas, the right of access to facts and opinions, the right to express ideas, and the right to discuss those ideas with others." At the same time, BC undercuts those promises with other restrictive policies,… Read more

  • Massachusetts High Court Strikes Down Boston College Dorm Search Originating in Legal E-Mails

    June 5, 2009

    Massachusetts’ highest court invalidated a search warrant on May 21 that, two months earlier, had allowed Boston College (BC) and State Police to confiscate a BC student’s electronic equipment from his dorm room—mainly because the student had allegedly sent e-mails that were legal but deemed “harassing” by the authorities. One day in late January, campus… Read more

  • Victory for First Amendment Rights at UMass Amherst: Administration Rejects Censorship of Newspaper

    April 23, 2009

    Under pressure from FIRE, University of Massachusetts Amherst has rejected the student government’s official censorship of The Minuteman, a conservative campus newspaper that mocked a student government official. In addition, FIRE has learned that UMass Amherst has held accountable at least one of the people who stole copies of The Minuteman out of the hands… Read more

  • Victory for First Amendment Rights at UMass Amherst: Administration Rejects Censorship of Newspaper

    April 23, 2009

    AMHERST, Mass., April 23, 2009—Under pressure from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), University of Massachusetts Amherst has rejected the student government’s official censorship of The Minuteman, a conservative campus newspaper that mocked a student government official. In addition, FIRE has learned that UMass Amherst has held accountable at least one of the… Read more

  • FIRE Vice President Pens Op-Ed for ‘The Boston Globe’: ‘Why no one should be silenced on campus’

    April 9, 2009

    Today’s Boston Globe features an op-ed from FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley on the disruption of Don Feder’s speech at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Robert points out that this incident is indicative of a larger problem on college campuses, where students resort to disruption and violence to preempt speech with which they disagree:… Read more

  • Greg in ‘Huffington Post’ on ‘Hell Week for Campus Free Speech’

    April 3, 2009

    Defending free speech is often an exhilarating and rewarding experience, fighting the good fight in an uphill battle for constitutional rights against an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars. But sometimes, and this was one of those weeks, that hill looks pretty steep. Greg writes in his latest column on The Huffington Post on… Read more

  • Four FIRE Cases on Security Fees Top Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle

    March 31, 2009

    Page A-1 of Sunday’s San Francisco Chronicle features four of FIRE’s cases on unacceptably high security fees for controversial speakers. In each case, the potential reaction of the audience was used to assess security fees and charge them to the host. But as the Supreme Court wrote in Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992), “Speech… Read more

  • At Boston College, April Fool’s Flyer Prompts Censorship, Punishment

    April 4, 2008

    Echoing the circumstances of FIRE’s ongoing case at Colorado College, Boston College student newspaper The Heights reported yesterday that six students responsible for posting satirical flyers around campus are facing discipline for the flyers’ “inflammatory” content. While the group posted several different flyers, one in particular provoked the College’s strong response. Posing as an advertisement… Read more

  • Silverglate: Universities Take Over Alumni Magazines

    November 17, 2006

    Harvey Silverglate, FIRE’s co-founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors, writes in The Boston Phoenix this week about the alarming trend among major universities towards university-controlled alumni publications. Silverglate points out that just like politicians and major corporations, universities are increasingly concerned about “controlling the message”—a stance that means traditional independent alumni publications become… Read more

  • SPLC Reports on Boston College Newspaper Controversy

    September 25, 2006

    Check out what the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reported Friday about the confiscation of 3,000 copies of an issue of the Boston College (BC) student newspaper calling freshman orientation “miserable.” University administrators at BC are calling the incident “a misunderstanding.” Tom Wiedeman, editor of BC’s student publication The Heights, told SPLC, “[Calling orientation ‘miserable’]… Read more

  • Boston College Administrator Destroys Thousands of Copies of Student Paper over Article

    September 18, 2006

    Jan Niklas Wolfe, a researcher and paralegal for Harvey Silverglate, FIRE co-founder and chairman of the board of trustees, reports on a shocking instance of censorship at Boston College. Wolfe is a 2006 graduate of Boston College and a former Heights associate news editor. As reported here, summer employees at Boston College (BC) threw away… Read more

  • More Bad News for Student Press Freedom

    September 27, 2005

    Evidence has begun to roll in showing that the freedom of the student press is under assault as never before. It’s certainly bad enough that our own federal court system is attacking the free campus press through the Seventh Circuit’s en banc decision in Hosty v. Carter (now being appealed to the Supreme Court)—but hold… Read more