Georgetown University

Location: Washington, District Of Columbia
Type: Private

Speech Code Rating

Georgetown 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

This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech. This school has adopted the chicago statement for free speech.

Due Process Rating

Sexual Misconduct

Read more
F

Non-Sexual Misconduct

Read more
D

  • Code of Student Conduct: Incivility

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: February 19, 2019

    18. Incivility (typically resolved via Administrative Action) Engaging in behavior, either through language or actions, which disrespects another individual, including but not limited to: a fellow Georgetown student; ‘a University Official or law enforcement officer. Read More
  • Policy Statement on Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 19, 2019

    Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion to an individual because of [age, color, disability, family responsibilities, gender identity and expression, genetic information, marital status, national origin and accent, personal appearance, political affiliation, pregnancy,... Read More
  • Division of Student Affairs: Speech and Expression Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 19, 2019

    A university is many things but central to its being is discourse, discussion, debate: the untrammeled expression of ideas and information. … “Free speech” is central to the life of the university. … The long and short of the matter is that “time, place and manner” are the only no... Read More
  • Bias Reporting: What is a Bias Related Incident

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: February 19, 2019

    The Code of Student Conduct defines a bias-related incident: The term ‘bias related’ refers to language and/or behaviors which demonstrate bias against persons because of, but not limited to, others’ actual or perceived: color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity and expression, national origin, rac... Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct: Bias-Related Incidents

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: February 19, 2019

    An act of harassment or bullying based upon an individual’s or group’s actual or perceived status will be considered bias-related and will result in more significant sanctions. Read More
  • Policy Statement on Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 19, 2019

    Sexual Harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or academic perfor... Read More
  • Division of Student Affairs: Speech and Expression Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: February 19, 2019

    [C]ertain areas of campus shall be considered “public squares” and shall be available, without prior arrangement, for individuals and groups during daylight hours for the purpose of exchanging ideas.  These areas include:  Red Square (the plaza adjacent to ICC), the east area of Regents Lawn between Regents Hall and... Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct: Harassment and Bullying

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 19, 2019

    Any severe, pervasive, or persistent act or conduct, whether physical, cyber/electronic, or verbal, that can reasonably be expected to inflict fear, to intimidate, to incite violence, to force someone to do something against their will or self-interest, and/or substantially interfere with an individual’s ability to ... Read More

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.

Grades

Sexual Misconduct

F
3/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous

Non-Sexual Misconduct

D
6/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous
  • Another heckler’s veto at Georgetown: Clown and crew disrupt climate policy event 

    October 9, 2019

    FIRE reported Monday that hecklers successfully shut down a speech by Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan at Georgetown Law. But this wasn’t the first attempt by Georgetown students to shut down a controversial speaker in recent weeks.  Protesters similarly interfered with a Sept. 19 address by Marc Morano, who is the outspoken author… Read more

  • With Homeland Security chief’s aborted speech, Georgetown Law submits to heckler’s veto

    October 7, 2019

    This morning, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan was scheduled to address an audience at Georgetown Law’s 16th Annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference. He planned to give remarks and then take questions from the audience. But he wasn’t the only one with a plan for his speech: Hecklers bent on preventing him from… Read more

  • Georgetown University doubles down on censorship of religious debate at Qatar campus

    February 20, 2019

    Last week, FIRE announced the institutions that earned the unenviable distinction of making the 2019 list of the 10 worst colleges for free speech. Often, universities will argue that they don’t deserve to be on the list or that their reasons for censorship have been misunderstood. Georgetown University-Qatar chose a different path. To recap: The… Read more

  • 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2019

    February 12, 2019

    Every January, FIRE staffers convene to compile our list of the previous year’s worst colleges for free speech. Reviewing the lowlights of the year reminds each of us that campus censors can be pretty creative. Just when you think you’ve seen everything — and over FIRE’s 20-year history, we’ve seen a lot — some enterprising… Read more

  • Debate suggesting “major religions should portray God as a woman” canceled at Georgetown University in Qatar

    October 17, 2018

    Georgetown University in Qatar endorses “[a] commitment to open discourse and the free exchange of ideas” in its Code of Conduct’s Ethos Statement. That promise has proven difficult to keep. Last week, the university announced the cancellation of its debating union’s scheduled Oct. 9 discussion, “This house believes that major religions should portray God as… Read more

  • Rep. Holmes Norton latest policymaker to highlight importance of campus free speech

    May 23, 2018

    In her recent and stirring commencement address to the latest graduates from Georgetown University Law Center, Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton dedicated the final 10 minutes to discuss the critical importance of campus free speech. She set the stage with the following observation: The law has been fundamental to change in our country, especially the First… Read more

  • Georgetown fails to live up to free speech promises by not recognizing pro-choice student group

    March 29, 2018

    Georgetown University’s claims concerning its deeply held religious convictions regarding abortion are in conflict with the university’s numerous free speech promises to students and faculty. Again. H*yas for Choice, a pro-choice student group, has been the subject of institutional ire at Georgetown for years, and at the center of an ongoing saga involving refusal of… Read more

  • Georgetown University adopts ‘Chicago Statement’

    June 15, 2017

    The fight to defend free speech just got a boost at Georgetown University. FIRE is pleased to announce that last week Georgetown joined a growing list of colleges and universities that have adopted policy statements committing themselves to protecting free speech that closely mirror the University of Chicago’s “Report of the Committee on Freedom of… Read more

  • Leadership roundup: How college leaders are answering questions about free speech

    April 25, 2017

    Controversy around free speech on college campuses seems to only be escalating: Charles Murray’s disastrous visit to Middlebury College, the violent response to Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to the University of California, Berkeley, the shutting down of Heather Mac Donald’s Claremont McKenna College event, and just last week, Berkeley’s attempt to shut down Ann Coulter’s visit… Read more

  • FIRE Announces America’s 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2017

    February 22, 2017

    PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 22, 2017—More than 92 percent of American colleges maintain speech codes that either clearly restrict—or could too easily be used to restrict—free speech. Each year, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) takes a closer look at campus censorship to identify America’s 10 worst colleges for free speech. The 2017 list of… Read more

  • Georgetown Law’s New Political Activity Policy Still Creating Problems for Campus Speech

    November 10, 2016

    On Monday, Georgetown Law Students for Democratic Reform (GLSDR) were told by campus administrators that they could not hold a phone bank supporting New York Democratic congressional candidate Zephyr Teachout on campus because doing so would violate Georgetown University Law Center’s newly-revised “Student Organizations Policy on Partisan and Political Activities.” What’s more, this ban came… Read more

  • FIRE a Topic of Conversation at Georgetown Law Center’s Conference on Sexual Assault and Academic Freedom on College Campuses

    October 24, 2016

    On October 14, Georgetown Law Center hosted a conference on Sexual Assault and Academic Freedom on College Campuses, bringing together campus presidents, professors, lawyers, Title IX investigators, and researchers to discuss topics ranging from free speech on campus and its impact on minorities to the problems accused students and survivors face in sexual assault investigations…. Read more

  • Censored Again: H*yas for Choice’s Condom Envelopes Targeted by Georgetown Police

    October 11, 2016

    Georgetown University just can’t seem to remember its commitment to free speech when the school’s pro-choice student group, H*yas for Choice, is involved. H*yas for Choice, which has frequently been the target of censorship, is asking the Georgetown University Police Department (GUPD) to apologize and to commit to receiving additional training on the university’s Speech… Read more

  • Speech Code Countdown: Most of America’s ‘Best Colleges’ Restrict Speech

    October 5, 2016

    U.S. News & World Report recently released its annual rankings of the “Best Colleges” for 2017. The rankings are based on a multitude of “indicators of academic excellence” that prospective students use to narrow down their college application lists, including graduation and retention rate, financial resources, the institution’s reputation, and student selectivity. But U.S. News’… Read more

  • After Congressional Hearing, Colleges Still Haven’t Gotten the Point

    April 6, 2016

    On March 24, Georgetown University Law Center (Georgetown Law) introduced a new policy on partisan political speech on campus, replacing an earlier policy that effectively banned any campaign-related speech or expressive activity. As FIRE legal intern Alex Atkins wrote last week, the revision came on the heels of a March 2 congressional hearing on freedom… Read more

  • Georgetown Law’s New Political Activity Policy: A Good Start, But Far From Finished

    April 1, 2016

    At the start of the school year, when classmates and I decided to promote Bernie Sanders for President at Georgetown University Law Center, we assumed that our biggest challenge would be convincing our peers of the merits of Sanders’s campaign. Instead, our primary obstacle has been convincing Georgetown that we should be permitted to engage… Read more

  • As the 2016 Election Cycle Rages On, FIRE Reminds Colleges that Political Speech Is Free Speech

    March 16, 2016

    PHILADELPHIA, March 16, 2016—At too many colleges and universities nationwide, election season results in the censorship of political activity and speech on campus. To ensure that students and faculty are free to speak their minds in support of their preferred candidates, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is proud to release an updated… Read more

  • Email Congress About Campus Censorship Today

    March 3, 2016

    Yes, this blog post talks about tax policy. But entertainingly, I promise. But even if you don’t want to read further, please do this: Send your stories of campus censorship to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives through the committee’s website. Or email: campus.speech@mail.house.gov. The committee is collecting stories of… Read more

  • Georgetown Law Students Forbidden from Campaigning on Campus for Bernie Sanders as Election Season Kicks Off in Iowa

    February 1, 2016

    WASHINGTON, February 1, 2016—As the presidential nomination season officially kicks off today in Iowa, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is asking one school in the nation’s capital to act quickly to revisit policies that restrict students from engaging in political speech on behalf of their chosen candidates. Today, FIRE wrote to Georgetown University… Read more

  • FIRE Announces 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2014

    March 2, 2015

    PHILADELPHIA, March 2, 2015—More than half of America’s top colleges maintain speech codes that blatantly violate First Amendment standards. But every year the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) takes a closer look at the previous year’s incidents of college censorship to determine the nation’s 10 worst abusers of student and faculty free speech… Read more

  • Georgetown Returns to Its Normal, Confused State on Free Speech

    September 26, 2014

    Maybe FIRE was too quick to celebrate when Georgetown University provided a clarifying statement about student speech rights back in May, following repeated urging from students and free speech advocates who called the university out on its inconsistent treatment of students and student groups. On Monday, university police removed the student group H*yas for Choice… Read more

  • Georgetown’s Revised Speech and Expression Policy Shows Significant Improvement

    May 20, 2014

    After a years-long wait for a clarifying statement about student speech rights, Georgetown University has finally provided one. While Georgetown’s new “Speech and Expression Policy” still has room for improvement, Vice President of Student Affairs Todd Olson, former Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) President Nate Tisa, and the university’s Speech and Expression Committee have taken a significant step forward with their revisions to the policy.

  • Powerful Words from Georgetown Students to Administrators on Free Speech

    April 30, 2014

    FIRE is no stranger to the free speech problems at Georgetown University—and neither is Georgetown’s student newspaper, The Hoya. In its final editorial submission for the school year, titled “The Final Word,” The Hoya’s editorial staff reviewed many of the changes on Georgetown’s campus—not all of them positive. One of them, of course, is the university’s treatment of free speech.

  • Students Focus on Free Speech in Georgetown Elections

    February 28, 2014

    As Georgetown University students await clarification of the school’s policies governing campus expression, candidates for president and vice president of the Georgetown University Student Association (GUSA) are putting freedom of speech and association at the forefront of their campaigns, demonstrating that these rights are a priority for the student body. While the four two-person teams propose different strategies for protecting speech on campus, all of them have made efforts to address this critically important issue.

  • Georgetown Sets Unambitious Timeline for Protecting Student Speech

    February 14, 2014

    On January 20, members of the Georgetown University student group H*yas for Choice were forced to move from the outdoor campus location where they were tabling while a pro-life event took place inside Healy Hall. But despite clear statements from Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and Georgetown University Student Association President Nate Tisa… Read more

  • Ge*rgetown University Reminds Us Again Why Censorship Is Ridiculous

    January 30, 2014

    Georgetown University’s strained relationship with free speech has long been home to one of American academia’s most absurd products of censorship, the pro-choice student group H*yas for Choice. Now Georgetown is back in the news again with the latest chapter in the Chronicles of Making Things Ridiculous Through Censorship. Back in 2010, FIRE wrote Georgetown… Read more

  • Georgetown ‘Hoya’ Editorial Board Criticizes University Speech Codes

    January 23, 2014

    Last Friday, the editorial board of Georgetown University’s student newspaper, The Hoya, sounded the alarm over Georgetown’s restrictive speech codes. According to The Hoya, “[t]he Georgetown University Speech and Expression policy contains outdated and harmful sections regarding acceptable expression that deserve public notice, if not immediate revision.” The Hoya’s editorial hit all the right notes. It not only… Read more

  • D.C. Area FIRE Supporters: Greg Lukianoff Giving Free Talk at Georgetown Tonight!

    December 3, 2013

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff will be speaking at Georgetown University tonight at 7 p.m. The talk is free and open to the public. Greg will discuss the current state of free expression on campus and the premise of his book, Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. Georgetown is a “red light” school in FIRE’s Spotlight… Read more

  • Private Universities and the Conflict Between Mission and Speech

    July 15, 2013

    Madeline Gootman is a FIRE summer intern. When private universities send out their shiny pamphlets to high school seniors, they highlight their commitment to all things politically correct and otherwise acceptable in academia. However, these commitments to civility, respect, and social comfort are often at odds with the broad promises of free speech that universities… Read more

  • ‘Free Speech Off the Table’ at Georgetown University

    January 15, 2013

    Georgetown University’s student newspaper, The Hoya, ran a staff editorial today criticizing the university’s use of “free speech zones.” According to the paper, Georgetown held a student activities fair over the weekend at which officially recognized student groups were given space to set up tables and recruit new members. Unrecognized groups, on the other hand,… Read more

  • Kissel to Georgetown: Honor Commitment to Free Speech

    May 17, 2012

    FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel comments on a commencement controversy at Georgetown University in The Huffington Post today, arguing that the university should honor its commitment to free speech. Adam contrasts Georgetown’s laudable decision to stick by its promises of free expression in allowing Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human… Read more

  • A Chance for Georgetown to Own Up to Its True Values

    May 4, 2010

    Is Georgetown University going to live up to its free speech promises or not? A group of pro-choice students at Georgetown, H*yas for Choice, wants equal treatment with other groups on campus, but has been told that it does not deserve equal treatment because its mission conflicts with Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit identity. That would… Read more

  • Adam Kissel Defends Rights of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Students in American University Student Paper

    April 26, 2010

    In today’s edition of The Eagle, American University’s student paper, Adam Kissel offers his opinion on how individual rights transcend partisan divides. As anyone who has followed FIRE’s work knows, FIRE is proudly nonpartisan. Our staff hails from across the political and religious spectrum, and our cases demonstrate that campus censorship can strike persons of… Read more

  • Hitting the Nail on the Head

    February 8, 2010

    The Georgetown Heckler humor magazine says a lot about campus culture with very few words in its satirical "Other Headlines" section this month: University Moves Free Speech Zone to Undisclosed Location That about sums it up!

  • Disruption of Petraeus Speech Draws Rebukes from Georgetown Students

    January 22, 2010

    Yesterday at Georgetown University, approximately fifteen anti-war protesters attempted to disrupt a speech and accompanying question-and-answer session with David Petraeus, current Commander of the U.S. Central Command. The Hoya reports: While his speech was originally slated to be an update address sponsored by the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, after making brief remarks, Petraeus… Read more

  • At Georgetown, Even Satire of Satire May Not Be Acceptable

    December 17, 2009

    If you feel like banging your head against a wall but lack the motivating force to do so, try reading this blog entry posted yesterday at Vox Populi, the staff blog of Georgetown University news magazine The Georgetown Voice. The article covers a forum prompted by the controversy over a recent issue of the satire… Read more

  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Georgetown University

    January 26, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). In the first two installments of the countdown, we described the restrictive policies at the University of California—Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Virginia, both… Read more

  • Georgetown Exorcised

    April 7, 2000

  • Georgetown Student Newspaper Under Fire for Censoring Conservative Columnist

    April 7, 2000

    The editor-in-chief of the Georgetown University’s student newspaper, The Hoya, has had a rough week. David Jung Wong, a sophomore from Hollywood, Florida, fired Robert Swope, a conservative columnist, for having angered campus feminists with his weekly op-eds. Wong was unhappy with Swope’s unrepentant politically incorrect views and took it upon himself to rid the… Read more

  • Time to Exorcise G-town

    March 31, 2000