College of Charleston

Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Website: www.cofc.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

College of Charleston 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.

  • South Carolina Legislature Punishes State Universities for Assigning LGBT-themed Books

    August 27, 2015

    On June 12, 2014, in a deeply disappointing development, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley approved a provision in the state’s budget that punished two state universities—the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate—for including LGBT-themed books as required reading for freshmen. The troublesome provision required the two institutions to spend the same amount of funds allocated in 2013 on the LGBT-themed books to instead teach the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Federalist Papers, “including the study of and devotion to American institutions and ideals.” FIRE wrote to Governor Haley on March 12, 2014, to urge her […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Verbal abuse

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: October 2, 2017

    The Student Code of Conduct of the College of Charleston specifically forbids:

    Verbal abuse, defined as use of derogatory terms, foul or demeaning language, which may be accompanied by a hostile tone or intense volume of delivery.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 2, 2017

    The Student Code of Conduct of the College of Charleston specifically forbids:

    Harassment, defined as intent to intimidate, annoy or alarm another person repeatedly. Person subjects such other person to physical contact, or attempts or threatens to do the same; or follows a person in or about a public place or places; or engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which alarm or seriously annoy such other person and which serve no legitimate purpose

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  • Student Handbook: Administrative Regulations- Demonstrations

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: October 2, 2017

    Demonstrations should be scheduled two weeks in advance with the Executive Vice President for Student Affairs. The information required is a specific location, the beginning time, the ending time, and the name of the sponsoring organization.

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  • Student Handbook: Administrative Regulations- Signage: Banners, Signs and Posted Material

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: October 2, 2017

    All Postings must contain the name of the sponsoring individual or organization (“Sponsor”).

    Except as noted below, the Division of Marketing and Communications oversees the request and approval process for Postings on College property. Requests for Postings must include the proposed design, dimensions, posting location(s), posting date and length of duration for display.

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  • Student Handbook: Bullying and Incivility

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: October 2, 2017

    Bullying is prohibited under the Code of Conduct and as such can be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion. As defined in the Code, bullying is repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt or diminish another person physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment).

    The Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education lists three types of bullying.

    1. Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things.
    Verbal bullying includes: Teasing, Name-calling, Inappropriate sexual comments, Taunting …

    An individual who believes a student has engaged in bullying behavior should report the behavior to the Office of the Dean of Students …

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  • Student Sexual Misconduct Policy: Sexual/gender harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 2, 2017

    Sexual/gender harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when … such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or other educational benefit or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, learning or living environment.

    Sexual misconduct can take various forms. They include, but are not limited to the following items:

    A. Verbal.

    Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors based upon gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression; Verbal harassment, such as sexual innuendoes, suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions or threats; epithets; slurs; negative stereotyping (including “jokes”); Repeated, unwelcome requests for social engagements; Questions or comments about sexual behavior or preference.

    B. Non-verbal.

    Display or sexually suggestive objects or pictures, leering, whistling, obscene gestures; written or graphic material (including communications via computers, cell phones, etc.) that defames or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

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At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • Banned Books Week: Depressingly Relevant, Even to College Students

    September 24, 2014

    Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) invites free speech advocates and book-lovers across the country to celebrate Banned Books Week. The ALA explains on its website: Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. But wait, […]

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  • South Carolina Budget Punishes Colleges for LGBT Books, Violates Academic Freedom

    June 13, 2014

    In a deeply disappointing development yesterday, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley approved a provision in the state’s budget that punishes two state universities—the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate—for including LGBT-themed books as required reading for freshmen.

    » Read More
  • In Letter, FIRE Urges South Carolina’s Governor to Uphold Academic Freedom

    March 13, 2014

    By now, Torch readers know about the budget controversy in South Carolina, where some state legislators are trying to reduce the annual budgets of the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate by the amount of money each school spent on required reading programs that included books on LGBT topics ($52,000 and approximately $17,000, respectively). To date, legislative amendments aimed at restoring the funding have failed. So yesterday, FIRE wrote to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (PDF) to urge her to ensure that state lawmakers do not punish state institutions for their choice of curriculum.

    » Read More
  • South Carolina House Votes to Punish Schools for Book Assignments

    March 11, 2014

    Last month, South Carolina’s House Ways and Means Committee voted in favor of budget cuts to the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate by amounts matching the money each school spent on required reading programs that included books on LGBT topics ($52,000 and approximately $17,000, respectively). State Representative Garry Smith made clear that the proposal was meant as a punishment for the schools’ choices in reading materials: an illustrated memoir about a lesbian woman and her gay father, and a nonfiction account of South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio show.

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