Colby College

Location: Waterville, Maine
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Colby College has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct, Accountability and Responsibility- Gender-Based Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 19, 2021

    Gender-Based Harassment includes harassment based on a person’s actual or perceived gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or gender stereotypes which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, even if the acts d... Read More
  • Colby College Harassment and Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 19, 2021

    Harassment based on any protected category, including race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, religion, national or ethnic origin, disability, military status, or genetic information is an affront to the target of such harassment and degrades the classroom, social, or workplace environ... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct Expectations: Code of Student Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: August 19, 2021

    In accepting membership in the Colby community, students agree to conduct themselves in a manner that is consistent with the values of an academic community, including but not limited to honesty, integrity, civility, personal responsibility, respect for the rights of others, and openness in the pursuit of knowledge ... Read More
  • Policy on Acceptable Use of Digital Resources

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 19, 2021

    IT resources may not be used in any manner prohibited by state and federal law or disallowed by licenses, contracts, or College policy. This section, while not all-inclusive, lists examples of misuse that may constitute a violation of College policy. … Sending threatening messages or other material constitutin... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Chalking Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: August 19, 2021

    On occasion, student organizations or individual(s) may seek to promote public awareness on issues and concerns by “chalking” various areas of the campus grounds. Chalking may be done on walkways or roads (not steps or buildings) provided the following guidelines are followed. … Messages that constitute harass... Read More
  • Student Handbook: General College Policies and Procedures- Free Expression

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: August 19, 2021

    The right of free expression—which does not include a right to harass, intimidate, injure, or silence others—is essential in an academic community and will be vigorously upheld. Infringing upon the expression of views, either by interfering with a speaker, or by defacing or removing properly posted or distributed no... Read More
  • Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 19, 2021

    The Title IX regulations define Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature (as determined by a reasonable person) that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a student or employee equal access to the College’s education programs and activities. Read More

FIRE surveyed roughly 37,000 students at 154 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. In 2021, FIRE released rankings of those schools, based on a number of factors, including openness, tolerance, self-expression, administrative support for free speech, and campus policies, scoring overall speech climate on a scale from 0-100. See the full report on FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Rankings / out of 154 colleges surveyed

Overall Ranking 146
Ideological Diversity 94

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 53.54
Openness 10.25
Tolerance (Liberals) 11.29
Tolerance (Conservatives) 7.23
Administrative Support 5.86
Comfort 15.39
Disruptive Conduct 9.52
Speech Code YELLOW
At present, FIRE has not been publicly involved in any cases at this school.
  • Colby College president: ‘My responsibility is to foster an environment on campus that supports free inquiry’

    June 12, 2017

    In an email to the college community this past Friday, Colby College President David Greene responded publicly to students who asked Greene why he did not sign a letter criticizing President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. In his message, Greene took a strong stand in favor of free speech at… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: Colby College

    July 20, 2016

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for July 2016: Colby College in Maine. Colby’s Bias Incident Prevention and Response protocol encourages students to report on one another to the administration for a wide range of speech and expression. Not only that, but the college recently placed its previously-public “bias incident log” under password… Read more

  • The Retreat of the Public Intellectual

    September 22, 2006

    In the recent edition of the alumni magazine from my alma mater, Colby College, there’s an interesting article by government professor Paul Reisert about the cultural marginalization of academia. He writes, There was a time, not that long ago, when leading figures in higher education served as public intellectuals, addressing the vital issues of their… Read more