Boston University

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Boston University 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

Non-Sexual Misconduct

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D

Sexual Misconduct

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D

  • Boston University Lifebook: University Conditions of Use and Policy on Computing Ethics

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: April 18, 2019

    You must not use any computing facility irresponsibly or in a way that might needlessly interfere with the work of others. This includes transmitting or making accessible offensive, annoying, or harassing material … Read More
  • Boston University Lifebook: Sexual Misconduct- Definitions

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 18, 2019

    Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of creating a hostile or stressful living, learning, or working environment, or whenever toleration of such conduct or rejection of it is the basis for an academic or employment decision affecting an individual. Conduct is considered “unwe... Read More
  • Boston University Lifebook: Residential Policies- Door Decorations

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: April 18, 2019

    The posting of materials on the exterior of room and apartment doors is permitted. However, it is expected that student expression will be respectful of others, will be exercised in good taste, and will not be in violation of the right of other persons to be free from invasion of their personal privacy. Read More
  • Dean of Students: Student Responsibilities

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: April 18, 2019

    Specific violations of student responsibilities include but are not limited to: … Physical or verbal abuse, or assault or the threat of assault to other persons. Read More
  • Dean of Students: Student Responsibilities

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 18, 2019

    The general laws of society confer rights and impose obligations on all citizens. When they enter the University, students retain their rights under the laws of society, but student status confers no immunity or sanctuary from federal, state, or municipal laws. Read More
  • Faculty Handbook: Academic Freedom

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 18, 2019

    Academic freedom is essential in institutions of higher education if they are to make their proper contribution to the common good. The common good depends upon the free search for truth and its free exposition. It is that which justifies academic freedom, not the interest of the individual faculty member or even th... 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

Non-Sexual Misconduct

D
6/20
  • 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

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
At present, FIRE has not been publicly involved in any cases at this school.
  • Speech Code of the Month: Boston University

    August 12, 2015

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for August 2015: Boston University (BU). While BU is private, and thus not legally bound by the First Amendment’s guarantees of free speech and expression, the university has committed itself to upholding the expressive rights of students and faculty. Among other things, BU’s Student Responsibilities policy explicitly… Read more

  • Duke Recognizes Prof’s Freedom of Speech on Racial Issues

    May 18, 2015

    Duke University professor Jerry Hough has faced criticism in recent days following his comment on a New York Times editorial published on May 10 that some readers characterized as racist. FIRE is glad to see that—despite another race-related controversy just last month—Duke has apparently not taken action against Hough. But the university still seems not… Read more

  • Controversy over Prof’s Racially Charged Tweets Reveals Inconsistency at Boston University

    May 12, 2015

    Incoming Boston University (BU) professor Saida Grundy came under fire this weekend for several tweets she posted on her personal Twitter account in which she named white males as the central problem of American colleges. Boston University spokesman Colin Riley initially spoke out in defense of Grundy’s freedom of speech, but subsequently condemned her views,… Read more

  • ‘Free Speech Week’ Celebrated on Campuses Nationwide

    April 13, 2012

    FIRE celebrated Free Speech Week last week by teaming up with Students For Liberty to send FIRE speakers and materials to student groups across the country. We’re pleased to announce it was a great success!   To mark the occasion, 72 student groups distributed FIRE materials and pocket-sized Constitutions on campus. More than 20 student… Read more

  • Boston University’s ‘Daily Free Press’ on BU’s Speech Codes and Will’s Campus Visit

    October 6, 2011

    As part of our Speakers Bureau program, FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley gave two speeches yesterday at Boston University (BU), one about social media to the Federalist Society and one about BU’s speech codes and FIRE’s work to Liberty at Boston University. Following Will’s talks, BU student newspaper The Daily Free Press has written an article drawing… 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

  • Politics vs. Porn

    September 30, 2005

    Earlier this week, my FIRE colleague Robert Shibley called Torch readers’ attention to a free speech controversy at Vassar College. Students there were outraged by the latest issue of The Imperialist, the publication of Vassar’s Moderate, Independent, and Conservative Alliance (MICA), because it criticized self-segregation on the part of minority students. There were many calls… Read more