Clark University

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

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Speech Code Rating

Clark 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.

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

Red Light Policies

  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Bias Incident

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: November 17, 2017

    Bias incidents, like hate incidents, involve treating someone negatively because of their actual or perceived: age; creed; (dis)ability; ethnic or national origin; gender; gender identity; or gender expression; marital status; political or social affiliation; race; religion; or sexual orientation. Examples of bias incidents, include but are not limited to: telling jokes based on a stereotype, name-calling, stereotyping, posting or commenting on social media related to someone’s identity in a bias matter, and altering or removing any faith-based symbol.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 17, 2017

    Sexual harassment consists of any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This includes: submission to, or rejection of, such conduct that is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or participation in an education program; submission to, or rejection of, such conduct that is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting a student; such conduct that has the purpose or effect of interfering with a student’s work or academic performance; or such conduct that creates a hostile or intimidating work or academic environment.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Campus Safety and Security: Bias Incident Reporting

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: November 17, 2017

    Upon receipt of any report alleging a bias incident, the Bias Incident Response Team will convene to review and respond to reported incidents. The Team will meet as soon as practical but no later than one week following the receipt of the report. The Team will assess the report, investigate, and determine the appropriate measures to be taken. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, the following: making a record of the incident, communicating the incident to the Clark community, pursuing disciplinary action through the student conduct or employment process, referring the matter to the relevant office for appropriate action, offering conflict resolution options, reporting to appropriate internal departments and outside agencies, and/or providing education and programming.

    In the event the nature of the incident warranted communication with the Clark community, the Bias Incident Response Team will also provide follow-up communication to inform the community regarding the outcome of the investigation and the University’s response to the incident.

    The Bias Incident Response Team’s processes do not create a new category of prohibited behavior or a new process for members of the University community to be disciplined or sanctioned. The Bias Incident Response Team has no authority to discipline any student or employee. Bias incidents that violate the University’s Student Code of Conduct will be referred to and addressed through the University’s student judicial process. Reports of bias incidents involving staff or faculty will be referred to Human Resources or Office of the Provost office as appropriate. The University may refer to the criminal courts any bias incident that violates Massachusetts law. Bias incidents that violate neither the law nor University policies will be addressed by an educational response that may include conflict resolution, led by the Bias Incident Response Team.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 17, 2017

    Harassment includes conduct that has the intent or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s life in the Clark community. Examples of harassment may include, but are not limited to the following: intimidation, threats, stalking, slurs, derogatory graffiti, internet posting or any conduct which endangers the health, safety or well-being of an individual or group.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Disruption

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: November 17, 2017

    It is also a violation to deprive anyone who is exhibiting freedom of expression the opportunity to speak or be heard, to physically obstruct their movement, or to otherwise interfere with academic freedom.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Student Rights, Responsibilities and University Judicial Procedures

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: November 17, 2017

    Clark University students have the rights to express their ideas, thoughts and opinions, both individually and in manners of forum or protest, without fear of censure or retribution from members of the Clark University community.

    » Read More

  • Appropriate Use of Clark’s Information Technology System

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: November 17, 2017

    The University cherishes the diversity of values and perspectives that are part an academic institution and so is respectful of freedom of thought, inquiry and expression. Users are free from censorship in expressing their views through electronic communications facilities (including, but not limited to, e-mail and “chat” programs) as long as their views are not represented as the views of Clark University.

    It is important that users recognize that such open access carries some risk of access to information that might be considered offensive or unorthodox.

    » Read More


  • Colleges’ Policies Against Sexual Coercion Prohibit Honest Discussion of Feelings and Intentions

    December 13, 2016

    Anyone who follows FIRE’s work has seen the way colleges and universities frequently use overbroad and vague policies against “harassment,” “threats,” and “obscenity” to punish speech that comes nowhere close to the legal definition of these terms. Sometimes the policies that prohibit constitutionally protected expression are easy to find, but sometimes they’re tucked away—for example, in a sexual misconduct policy under the heading “coercion.” Intended to cover obtaining sex by less obvious forms of threats or non-physical force, coercion policies sometimes prohibit expression just because a would-be partner likely wouldn’t want to hear it. Earlier this month, University of California, […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Clark University

    January 15, 2016

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for January 2016: Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. 2016’s inaugural Speech Code of the Month is a doozy. Clark’s Code of Student Conduct prohibits “bias incidents,” defined as follows: Bias incidents, like hate incidents, involve treating someone negatively because of their actual or perceived: age; creed; (dis)ability; ethnic or national origin; gender; gender identity; or gender expression; marital status; political or social affiliation; race; religion; or sexual orientation. Examples of bias incidents, include but are not limited to: telling jokes based on a stereotype, name-calling, stereotyping, posting or commenting on social media […]

    » Read More
  • Free Speech Prevails at Clark University: Student Group Overcomes President’s Heavy Hand, Allowed to Bring Controversial Speaker to Campus

    April 22, 2009

    The past few weeks have been dismal for free speech rights at Massachusetts colleges, most recently at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with the brandishing of the “heckler’s veto” to disrupt a speech by Don Feder and the prevention of distribution of the conservative student paper The Minuteman. These incidents have been compounded by the serious failures of the UMass administration, police, and student government to respect and uphold First Amendment rights. Fortunately, Clark University seems to have avoided a similar fate, though not without a few bumps of its own. In February, Clark University Students for Palestinian Rights (CUSPR) […]

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