Boston University

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Website: http://www.bu.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

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 here.

This school does not have any cases at this time.

Red Light Policies

  • Boston University Lifebook: Tolerance & Religion 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: April 21, 2015

    Respecting the rights of other students presupposes that in the close and diverse society of residence life, student expression of opinion will be respectful of others and will be exercised in good taste and decency.

    Bigotry, hatred, and intolerance have no place in the residential community.

    In displaying or distributing expressions of opinion, students are expected to show respect for the aesthetic, social, moral, and religious feelings of others upon whom their views may be imposed. Students living in the residences are entitled to expect that those with whom they live will demonstrate tolerance for diversity and respect for privacy.

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  • Boston University Lifebook: University Conditions of Use and Policy on Computing Ethics 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: April 21, 2015

    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….

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Boston University Lifebook: Residential Policies: Door Decorations 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: April 21, 2015

    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.

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  • Boston University Lifebook: Sexual Misconduct- Definitions 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 21, 2015

    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 “unwelcome” if the person did not request or invite it and considered the conduct to be undesirable or offensive.

    Sexual harassment includes any conduct or incident that is sufficiently serious that it is likely to limit or deny a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or a faculty or staff member’s ability to work, which may include a single incident of sexual assault or other serious sexual misconduct.

    The following non-exhaustive list includes examples of behavior that could be considered sexual harassment:

    • Unwelcome sexual innuendo, propositions, sexual attention, or suggestive comments and gestures.
    • Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, such as touching, hugging, kissing, patting, or pinching, that is uninvited and unwanted or unwelcome by the other person.
    • Humor and jokes about sex or gender-specific traits; sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality or gender.
    • Insults and threats based on sex or gender; and other oral, written, or electronic communications of a sexual nature that a person communicates are unwelcome.
    • Written graffiti or the display or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; sexually charged name-calling; sexual rumors or ratings of sexual activity/performance; the circulation, display, or creation of e-mails or Web sites of a sexual nature. (For more information, on misconduct using the University’s computing facilities, please see the Conditions of Use and Policy on Computing Ethics.)
    • Non-academic display or circulation of written materials or pictures degrading to a person(s) or gender group.
    • Unwelcome attention, such as repeated inappropriate flirting, inappropriate or repetitive compliments about clothing or physical attributes, staring, or making sexually oriented gestures.
    • Change of academic or employment responsibilities (increase in difficulty or decrease of responsibility) based on sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation.
    • Use of a position of power or authority to: (i) threaten or punish, either directly or by implication, for refusing to tolerate harassment, for refusing to submit to sexual activity, or for reporting harassment; or (ii) promise rewards in return for sexual favors.
    • Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping.

     

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  • Dean of Students: Student Responsibilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: April 21, 2015

    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.

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Green Light Policies
  • Dean of Students: Student Responsibilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 21, 2015

    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.

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  • Faculty Handbook: Academic Freedom 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 21, 2015

    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 the interest of a particular university.

    Academic freedom is the freedom to engage in research, scholarship, or other creative work in order to expand knowledge, to publish research findings, to teach and to learn in an atmosphere of unfettered free inquiry and exposition.

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  • Boston University Wins FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month

    August 14, 2015

    By Aleister at College Insurrection Speech policy at BU looks good on the surface but there’s a catch. Samantha Harris reports at the FIRE blog. Speech Code of the Month: Boston University 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 states that “[w]hen they enter the University, students retain their rights under the […]

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  • Prof. Blasted Whites on Social Media, in Dissertation

    June 4, 2015

    By Peter Hasson at Campus Reform Prof. Saida Grundy made inflammatory remarks about white men on Twitter earlier this year. She made similar comments in her dissertation. Boston University has already been under pressure to fire incoming sociology professor Saida Grundy for inflammatory racial comments on social media. Grundy first came under fire earlier this year for a series of tweets in which she disparaged white males. “These Scholar-Feminists also packed my survival kit with just the thing I needed to see my way through Michigan—the intense and convicted knowledge that there was never going to be a room in […]

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  • Boston U Prof Now Sorry for ‘Indelicate’ Tweets Blasting White Men

    May 13, 2015

    By Maxim Lott at Fox News A newly hired Boston University professor is sorry for her “indelicate” tweets bashing white males and vows to be fair to all of her students, after the school’s president and several alumni complained that her comments were bigoted. Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at the school, had tweeted in recent weeks that “white masculinity is THE problem for america’s (sic) colleges,” that white men are a “problem population,” and that “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i […]

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  • Twitterstorm

    May 12, 2015

    By Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed Incoming professor makes controversial remarks about a group of people on Twitter. The university initially backs the professor’s right to free speech but quickly distances itself somewhat from said remarks. The case probably sounds familiar to anyone following free speech issues in higher education, but it’s not that of Steven Salaita at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Rather, this recent Twitter controversy involves a new faculty hire at Boston University, and free speech scholars are waiting to see what, if anything, the university does next. First, some background. On Friday, Fox News […]

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  • Boston University Prof Flunks ‘White Masculinity’ In Controversial Tweets

    May 9, 2015

    By Maxim Lott at Fox News Critics say a newly-hired Boston University professor has crossed the line with recent tweets bashing whites, but the school says it’s simply free speech. “White masculinity isn’t a problem for america’s colleges, white masculinity is THE problem for america’s colleges,” Saida Grundy, an incoming assistant professor of sociology and African-American studies at Boston University, tweeted in March. In another tweet from January, she wrote: “Every MLK week I commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible.” In another, she called white males a “problem […]

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  • It’s Time to End ‘Rape Culture’ Hysteria

    March 21, 2014

    by Caroline Kitchens at Time The nation’s largest and most influential anti-sexual-violence organization is rejecting the idea that culture — as opposed to the actions of individuals — is responsible for rape. “Rape is as American as apple pie,” says blogger Jessica Valenti. She and her sisters-in-arms describe our society as a “rape culture” where violence against women is so normal, it’s almost invisible.Films, magazines, fashion, books, music, humor, even Barbie — according to the activists — cooperate in conveying the message that women are there to be used, abused, and exploited. Recently, rape culture theory has migrated from the lonely corners […]

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  • 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 states that “[w]hen they enter the University, students retain their rights under the laws of society.” Moreover, the university’s Academic Freedom policy refers to BU as “an atmosphere of unfettered free inquiry and exposition.” Given these commitments, students at BU should reasonably be able to […]

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  • 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 to appreciate how open discourse should function on campus. Hough posted his comment in response to a Times editorial titled “How Racism Doomed Baltimore.” He wrote, in part: In 1965 the Asians were discriminated against as least as badly as blacks. That was reflected in […]

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  • 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, reportedly under pressure from alumni. Meanwhile, BU’s policies both promise freedom of speech and restrict protected expression, leaving students and professors at risk of being punished for expression similar to Grundy’s at the whim of campus administrators. The University of Massachusetts Amherst student who reposted […]

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  • ‘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 groups also organized expressive events. Many decided to build Free Speech Walls at schools including American University, Boston University, Harvard University, Kansas State University, Winthrop University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Texas San Antonio. FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network (CFN) also worked with […]

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  • 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 attention to Will’s points about free speech at BU: Creeley said that while BU outlaws verbal abuse, he wonders what BU means by “verbal abuse.” Students know extremes of verbal abuse, he said, but may be unaware that some more nuanced examples, such as diatribes […]

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  • 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 little more than unwanted interference. The result? Alumni are subjected to an avalanche of puff pieces, self-congratulatory blather, and thinly-veiled donation requests. Surveying the alumni publications of Harvard, Boston College, and Boston University, Silverglate discovers that all three gloss over controversies on campus for rosier, […]

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  • 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 for The Imperialist and MICA to be defunded and/or derecognized by the student government. Today, I spoke with Graydon Gordian, the editor of The Imperialist, and Matt Ambrose, the president of MICA. I am pleased to report that Vassar’s student government has apparently declined to […]

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