Furman University

Location: Greenville, South Carolina
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Furman 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
  • Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    The University may address conduct that, although it does not rise to the level of constituting Sexual Misconduct as defined by this Policy, is nevertheless offensive and/or unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. Addressing such conduct may not result in the imposition of discipline, but will be addressed through respectful confrontation, remedial actions, requiring the completion of educational programs (including but not limited to sexual misconduct prevention programs), and/or conflict resolution efforts.

    “Unwelcome Sexual Conduct” means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (i) such conduct does not constitute Sexual Harassment and (ii) either (1) or (2) below applies: … (2) The behavior is both (i) severe, persistent, or pervasive and (ii) objectively offensive, such that it unreasonably  limits or interferes with the individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s education, on-campus living, or employment programs or activities by creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or demeaning environment.

    Examples of this type of Unwelcome Sexual Conduct include:

    • persistent unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;
    • unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; o unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities;
    • inappropriately touching an individual’s body;
    • unwelcome sexually oriented teasing, joking, flirting, or lewd comments, innuendos, or gestures; and
    • verbal abuse of a sexual nature.
    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct Code- Bullying and/or Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies, Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    Bullying and/or harassment is defined as an electronic, physical, verbal, or graphic conduct(s) that is so severe, pervasive, or persistent that it either causes actual harm to a person’s physical/mental well-being, property, or educational experience or causes a person to reasonably fear that imminent harm to her/his physical/mental well-being, property, or educational experience will occur.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Non-Academic Administrative Policies- Use of University Space, Solicitation

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    Whether internal or external, solicitation is not allowed on campus without prior written approval.  Solicitation includes, but is not limited to, approaching someone with a request or plea, as well as setting up a table or other temporary structure for the same purpose.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Student Organization Conduct Expectations- Demeaning Behavior

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    In addition to Student Conduct Code violations, the organizations may be charged with the following:

    i. Demeaning Behavior. Any actions, activities, events or themes, whether on or off campus, which are demeaning and/or discriminatory based on a person’s race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, or sexual orientation including but not limited to verbal harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct by individuals or members acting together.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Non-Academic Administrative Policies- Posting of Signs and Banners

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    All items to be posted must have the name of the individual student or registered student organization and/or department clearly identified as the sponsor or the words “sponsored by (name of organization)” on each item.

    The University retains the right to deny posting of any materials on campus.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Non-Academic Administrative Policies- Use of University Space

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    [T]he University reserves the absolute right as a private landowner to refuse any request for the use of its space that–in the University’s sole discretion–is either inconsistent with the mission, character, and values of the University, or that may present potential or actual adverse logistic or administrative conditions including, but not limited to, any safety or security concerns. The right of refusal for the use of University Space includes the cancellation of an Event.

    An Event is broadly defined and interpreted by the University as any planned gathering of individuals or groups, including, but not limited to, performances, forums, rallies, dances, speakers, conferences, concerts, lectures, social functions, celebrations, protests, and other presentations.

    Because the University may require additional consideration before granting a reservation, Internal and External Registrants should make a space request no later than 14 days prior to an Event. Failure to submit a request within 14 days may result in the request being denied without consideration.

    Vigils, forums, celebrations, or other unique Events that, by their nature, primarily benefit the University community and under no reasonable set of circumstances could meet the 14-day requirement may be granted the use of University Space provided that such Events receive expedited review by the Vice President for Student Life (for an Event that primarily benefits the University’s students) or by the Provost (for all other Events). The expedited review process is only available to Internal Registrants.

    The University strongly encourages its Internal Registrants to pursue an expedited review in order to insure a safe and successful Event. However, the University supports and acknowledges that sometimes spontaneous or impromptu Events by individuals employed by or enrolled at the institution are pivotal to achieve the principles of a liberal arts education. Prior to terminating a spontaneous or impromptu Event by individuals employed by or enrolled at the institution, the University will review whether relocation to another space on campus is appropriate.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct Code – Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    c. Discriminatory Harassment includes electronic, verbal, physical, or graphic conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward a targeted student on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law that is so severe, persistent, or pervasive:

    i. Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational experience; or

    ii. Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a student’s academic performance.

    d. Examples of discriminatory harassment include, but are not limited to, verbal acts (epithets, slurs, negative stereotyping, comments on physical appearance), physical acts (offensive touching, physical assault, interference with movement, intimidation, damaging property), or graphic acts (posters, cartoons, drawings, graffiti, defacing property, reading materials, computer graphics, or electronic media) that meet the above criteria and serve no scholarly purpose appropriate to the academic context.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Non-Academic Administrative Policies- Bias Incident Response & Support

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    Acts that are an affront to this core value of the institution will not be tolerated. Accordingly, Furman has implemented a Bias Incident Response & Support (BIRS) plan.

    BIRS is not a disciplinary procedure and does not investigate, arbitrate, or replace other Furman procedures or services nor does it override the responsibility or authority of any University office designated to address complaints of alleged discrimination, harassment or hate crimes. Its purpose is to supplement and work with campus units to connect those who have experienced an act of bias (or those who have witnessed such an act) with appropriate support and resources. Furthermore, the BIRS plan works with campus units and offices to coordinate the response to incidents that are likely to affect the campus climate.

    III. Definition of a Bias Incident

    A bias incident is any conduct that serves no scholarly purpose appropriate to the academic environment and demonstrates bias against an individual or group based on any facet of the individual’s or group’s identities. Bias incidents may take the form of, but are not limited to:

    • Vandalism or defacement of personal or university property (e.g. drawing swastikas, hanging nooses, erecting burning crosses, etc.);
    • Display or use of epithets or slurs;
    • Culturally offensive gestures;
    • Theme parties that encourage people to wear costumes or act in ways that reinforce stereotypes or are otherwise demeaning; or
    • Electronic, physical, verbal, or graphic threats or intimidation

    The expression of an idea or point of view some may find offensive or charged is not necessarily a bias incident. As a community of liberal learning, Furman University maintains its commitment to freedom of inquiry and excellence in the quest for truth.

    For the purposes of the BIRS plan, a bias incident may include any of the following:

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct Code- Act of Intolerance

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    a. An act of intolerance is defined as any conduct that serves no scholarly purpose appropriate to the educational experience and demonstrates bias against others because of, but not limited to, their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, religion, veteran status or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law.

    b. An act of intolerance can be targeted toward a specific person or group. The conduct must actually cause or reasonably be intended to cause intimidation, alienation, or other harm to individuals in the Furman community based on actual or perceived characteristics.  In determining if conduct rises to an Act of Intolerance, the University will consider the following factors as relevant in its analysis:

    • Vandalism or defacement of personal or university property (e.g. drawing swastikas, hanging nooses, erecting burning crosses, etc.);
    • Display or use of epithets or slurs;
    • Culturally offensive gestures;
    • Theme parties that encourage people to wear costumes or act in ways that reinforce stereotypes or are otherwise demeaning; or
    • Electronic, physical, verbal, or graphic threats or intimidation.

    c. When an Act of Intolerance is targeted toward a specific person, it may rise to the level of discriminatory harassment as defined above. It may also constitute a hate crime for the purposes of local, state, or federal law.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    “Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment” means unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s Education Program or Activity.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
  • Student Handbook: Non-Academic Administrative Policies- Bias Incident Response & Support

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: August 26, 2020

    As a community of liberal learning, Furman University maintains its commitment to freedom of inquiry and excellence in the quest for truth.

    Go to Policy | Get the Full Text PDF
At present, FIRE has not been publicly involved in any cases at this school.
  • Investigating Halloween costumes is ‘an issue of free speech’ — even if universities say otherwise (UPDATED)

    October 30, 2019

    Colleges and universities across the country are once again investigating students for their choice of Halloween costumes or are implementing problematic policies that threaten consequences for choosing an “offensive” costume.  FIRE has tracked the trend of policing Halloween costumes since the mid-2000s. “Halloween hysteria” appears to have died down since its spike in 2015 with… Read more

  • October 2019 Speech Code of the Month: Furman University

    October 10, 2019

     Halloween is just a few weeks away — do you have your costume picked out yet? For most college students, the possibilities are endless, but if you’re a student at Furman University, you might want to exercise caution. Furman’s student handbook states that “[t]heme parties that encourage people to wear costumes or act in… Read more

  • Problems with University Bias Policies and Attempts to Improve Campus Climate

    November 19, 2012

    This fall, FIRE is writing a blog series about how schools can reform their problematic speech codes and earn a “green light” rating from us—a distinction currently awarded to just 15 of the more than 400 schools in our Spotlight database, but one we hope to be able to award to many more in the… Read more

  • Posting Policies Frequently Restrict Student Expression

    October 30, 2012

    This fall, FIRE is writing a blog series about how schools can reform their problematic speech codes and earn a "green light" rating from FIRE—a distinction currently awarded to just 16 of the more than 400 schools in our Spotlight database, but one we hope to be able to award to many more in the… Read more