Eastern Michigan University

Location: Ypsilanti, Michigan
Website: http://www.emich.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit

Tell Eastern Michigan University to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Eastern Michigan University 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 here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Board Policy Manual: 8.1. Code of Community Responsibility- Harassment/Bullying

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 16, 2018

    The University’s Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy governs conduct of a sexual or gender based nature. This section of the Code of Community Responsibility applies only to conduct that is not covered by the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

    a. Intimidating conduct which would cause a reasonable person to feel as though there was an imminent threat to the health and safety, or personal property, of themselves or another individual.

    b. Pervasive conduct directed toward another person or group that results in the intimidating, humiliating, degrading, or otherwise harming of another person or group.

    » Read More

  • Eastern Michigan University Campus Life: Student Organization Poster/Flier/Table Tent Policy

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: January 16, 2018

    It is expected that all poster/fliers conform with generally accepted standards of good taste.

    » Read More

  • Campus Life: On-Campus Events and Demonstrations

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: January 16, 2018

    In furtherance of this principle and to ensure that all viewpoints are heard to the maximum extent possible, all outside campus events, demonstrations, and protests must be sponsored by a recognized EMU faculty, staff, or student organization and must be scheduled in advance with the Department of Public Safety.

    Board policy 8.4.3 requires rallies and parades to be scheduled with the Department of Public Safety. If planning an outside parade, rally, or protest, call the administrative office of the Department of Public Safety at (734)-487-0892.

    » Read More

  • Student Conduct Code: Computer Misuse

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 16, 2018

    Use of computing facilities or equipment to send obscene, harassing, threatening or abusive messages.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Board Policy Manual: 3.7.7. Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 16, 2018

    Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical, or otherwise, when the conditions outlined in (1) and/or (2), below, are present.

    2. such conduct creates a hostile environment. A “hostile environment” exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefitting from the University’s education or employment programs and/or activities. Conduct must be deemed severe, persistent, or pervasive from both a subjective and an objective perspective.

    Examples of possible Sexual Harassment include:

    • Unwelcome sexual advances, repeated propositions or requests for a sexual relationship to an individual who has previously indicated that such conduct is unwelcome, or sexual gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, questions, or comments about a person’s sexuality or sexual experience. Such conduct between peers must be sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an educational or working environment that is hostile or abusive.

    » Read More

  • Foundation for Individual Rights in Education Finds U-M/EMU Speech Codes “Prohibit Protected Speech”

    December 19, 2014

    By Rob Smith at The Ann Arbor Independent IN A REPORT released on Dec. 10, the Foundation for Individual Right in Education concluded that the University of Michigan and EMU are  “red light” institutions when it comes to free speech on the campus. In fact, of the 12 Michigan colleges rates, eight were found to have policies in places that  substantially restrict free speech for students and faculty. According to the report, “A red light institution is one that has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech, or that bars public access to its […]

    » Read More
  • This Time, We’re Failing to Talk About ‘American Sniper’

    April 20, 2015

    Every so often, a cultural touchstone descends on college campuses, with the effect of putting campus discourse under the microscope for all to see. The results, frequently, are discouraging. Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster film American Sniper, adapted from deceased Navy sniper Chris Kyle’s memoir, is the latest exhibit. That American Sniper is a controversial movie is not a controversial observation. It was one of the most remarked-upon movies of last year, and the fevered debate over its portrayals of the war in Iraq, of the Iraqi people (and, by extension, Arabs and the Arab world), and of Kyle himself was difficult […]

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  • After Lawsuit, Eastern Michigan U. Agrees to Revise Unconstitutional Policy

    November 22, 2013

    In March, student organization Students for Life at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) enlisted Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF’s) help in suing the school after it denied the group funding based on its “political or ideological” views. ADF announced yesterday that EMU settled the case late last month, agreeing to fund all groups—including Students for Life—without consideration of the groups’ viewpoints. ADF describes the lawsuit’s origins on its website: In February, Students for Life at Eastern Michigan University applied for student fee funding to host a pro-life display on campus called the Genocide Awareness Project, a traveling photo-mural exhibit… . EMU denied the request because they deemed the […]

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  • After Sixth Circuit Loss, Eastern Michigan U Settles with Expelled Counseling Student

    December 12, 2012

    The Detroit Free Press reported on Monday that Eastern Michigan University (EMU) will pay former graduate student Julea Ward $75,000 to settle Ward’s lawsuit against the university. Ward filed suit in 2009 after being dismissed from EMU’s graduate counseling program for inquiring about the possibility of referring a gay client who sought counseling regarding a same-sex relationship, citing her religious beliefs. In January, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit allowed Ward’s suit against EMU to continue after she appealed a federal district court’s dismissal. This week’s settlement ends Ward’s suit. In a statement, a university spokesman […]

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  • Eastern Michigan Stands By Speech Code, Defying Legal Clarity

    July 12, 2012

    Despite months of appeals from FIRE, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) does not appear inclined to take its legal obligations under the First Amendment, as a public university, seriously. The university is simply not willing to revise a sexual harassment so clearly unconstitutional that FIRE named it our Speech Code of the Month in July 2011—let alone to revise its other speech codes restricting campus discourse. This is a shame for students at EMU wishing to exercise their right to free speech without fear of administrative reprisal. EMU’s Student Conduct Code policy on “Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harassment” states, in relevant part: Conduct […]

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  • ‘Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act’ before Michigan Legislature

    May 17, 2012

    Torch readers may recall the case of Julea Ward, an Eastern Michigan University (EMU) student in counseling who was expelled for seeking to refer a gay client to another counselor when counseling would have required violating her Christian beliefs. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit issued a victory for Ward in January (her lawsuit against EMU is currently back in district court), and we wrote about the case at that time.  The State News, Michigan State University’s student newspaper, reports that a bill is hitting the floor in the Michigan House of Representatives that seeks to […]

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  • Sixth Circuit Relies on High School Cases to Assess Graduate Student’s Rights

    February 10, 2012

    Last week here on The Torch, I discussed the interesting ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Ward v. Polite (.PDF). Before discussing the facts of the case and the Sixth Circuit’s holding, I noted that while the court reached the right result by allowing the First Amendment lawsuit brought by expelled graduate student Julea Ward to continue, it did so in a way that may harm college student rights in the future. Here’s why: In analyzing Ward’s claim that her First Amendment right to freedom of expression had been violated by Eastern Michigan […]

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  • In ‘Ward v. Polite,’ Sixth Circuit Reaches Right Result, but with Wrong Reasoning

    January 30, 2012

    On Friday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that expelled Eastern Michigan University (EMU) counseling student Julea Ward’s First Amendment suit may continue, finding that a federal district court had improperly granted the EMU defendants summary judgment. Ward was expelled from EMU’s graduate counseling program after she inquired about referring a gay client who sought counseling regarding a same-sex relationship. The Sixth Circuit found that Ward had presented sufficient evidence that, when viewed in the light most favorable to Ward (a necessary inference when deciding motions for summary judgment), could prompt a jury to conclude […]

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  • Sixth Circuit: Expelled Counseling Student Will Have Day in Court

    January 27, 2012

    In an opinion (.PDF) issued today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the civil rights suit filed by former Eastern Michigan University counseling student Julea Ward may proceed. Ward was expelled from her graduate program after she inquired about referring a gay client during her student practicum due to her religious beliefs. Following her expulsion, Ward brought suit, alleging that the defendants—members of the review committee that expelled Ward, professors in Ward’s graduate program, and the President and Board of Regents of the university—had violated her rights to freedom of expression and freedom of […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Eastern Michigan University

    July 5, 2011

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for July 2011: Eastern Michigan University (EMU). EMU’s Student Conduct Code defines “sexual harassment” as Conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive campus, educational or working environment for another person. This includes unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, inappropriate sexual or gender-based activities, comments or gestures, or other forms of verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment. [Emphasis added.] This policy’s prohibition on “inappropriate sexual or gender-based … comments” means that virtually any speech relating in any way to gender is subject to […]

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  • Michigan Attorney General Supports Former Student’s Suit Against EMU

    March 14, 2011

    The Detroit News reports that Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has put his support behind Julea Ward, a former graduate student at Eastern Michigan University who is suing the school following her dismissal from its counseling program. The Detroit News writes that “Ward claims she was dismissed in March of 2009 after asking how to refer student clients to other advisers in the school’s counseling practicum because the client’s activities were in conflict with her Christian belief against homosexuality.” Schuette has filed an amicus brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, where Ward’s case is on appeal. […]

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  • Another Political Cartoon Controversy; This Time, at Eastern Michigan

    October 7, 2010

    Controversies over political cartoons in college newspapers are nothing new, but it’s always disappointing to see them spring back up. This time it’s Eastern Michigan University’s turn, where a cartoon depicting members of the Ku Klux Klan has drawn the ire of some students and, almost inevitably, the university itself. The Eastern Echo published the below cartoon on September 28: So what is this cartoon trying to say? Clearly it is meant to depict an absurd situation, but what is the social commentary meant to be? The Eastern Echo explained it in its official statement about the cartoon controversy: We […]

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