Georgia Institute of Technology

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Georgia Institute of Technology 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 does not maintain information on this school's policies.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 21, 2015

    Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other written, verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: …

    c) Such conduct has the purpose or effect:

    i. of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work or education performance;
    ii. of creating an objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive working and/or learning/living environment; or
    iii. of unreasonably interfering with or limiting one’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity.

    Examples of unwanted behavior that may constitute sexual harassment (a, b or c above) include, but are not limited to:

    • Massaging a person’s neck or shoulders
    • Touching a person’s clothing, hair, or body
    • Hugging, kissing, patting, or stroking a person’s body
    • Making sexual gestures with hands or body movements, touching or rubbing oneself in a sexual manner around, or in the view of another person
    • Brushing up against another person
    • Tearing, pulling, or yanking a person’s clothing
    • Sexual flirtation, advances or propositions for sexual activity, or repeatedly asking for a date from a person who has indicated he or she is not interested
    • Discussing or about sexual fantasies, preferences, or history
    • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature
    • Suggestive comments and sexually explicit jokes, or turning discussions at work or in academic or living settings to sexual topics when not legitimately related to an academic matter
    • Stating, indicating, or implying in any manner that benefits will be gained or lost based on response to sexual advances
    • Staring repeatedly at someone; repeatedly watching someone from afar
    • Blocking another person’s path or otherwise restricting their movements, particularly when in conjunction with other acts or comments
    • Invading a person’s personal body space, such as standing closer than appropriate
    • Looking a person up and down in a suggestive or intimidating manner
    • Making sounds such as smacking or licking lips, making kissing sounds, or whistling
    • Letters, gifts, or materials of a sexual nature, including but not limited to typed or handwritten notes, email, instant messages, text messages, online postings, etc.

    Sexual harassment does not need to be related to sexual or amorous behavior. Behavior based on gender stereotypes or derogatory comments based on sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation may also constitute sexual harassment.

    » Read More

  • What is Title IX?

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 21, 2015

    Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that makes others uncomfortable. Such conduct is explicitly illegal when:

    • Submission to the conduct is made – either explicitly or implicitly – a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in any Georgia Tech activity.
    • Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for evaluation in academic or personnel decisions.
    • The conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

    In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record as a whole and the totality of circumstances, including the nature and frequency of the conduct and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Computer & Network Usage and Security Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: October 21, 2015

    Prohibited materials include fraudulent, harassing, obscene, threatening, or other messages or material that are in violation of applicable law or Institute policy.

    » Read More

  • Student Code of Conduct: Prohibited Non-Academic Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 21, 2015

    19. Harassing another person including, but not limited to: Placing another person in reasonable fear of his/her personal safety through words or actions directed at that person, or substantially interfering with the working, learning, or living environment of the person.

    23. Discriminatory conduct including

    a. objectively offensive conduct directed at a particular person or persons based upon that person or persons’ race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any class protected by law that creates a hostile environment or that results in excluding participation in, or denies the benefits of any educational program or working opportunity for that person or persons.
    b. verbal or written threats, coercion or any other conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or any class protected by law, that by design, intent or recklessness incites reasonable fear of physical harm or otherwise unreasonably interferes with another’s ability or opportunity to participate in work, education, research, living, or other activities.

    » Read More

  • Policy on Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: October 21, 2015

    Georgia Tech holds the first amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the right to assemble peaceably as an essential cornerstone to the advancement of knowledge and the right of a free people.

    Students, faculty, staff, and Institute affiliates are supported in their right to assemble. They can publicly assemble on campus in any place where, at the time of the assembly, the persons assembling are permitted to be.

    » Read More

  • Due Process and Sex Assaults

    May 17, 2016

    By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed Citing an erosion of free speech and due process on college campuses, a group of 21 law professors on Monday released an open letter alleging that the U.S. Department of Education has unlawfully expanded how colleges must define and respond to allegations of sexual assault and harassment… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Georgia Lawmaker Sues Education Department

    April 22, 2016

    By Staff at Inside Higher Ed A Georgia legislator is suing the U.S. Department of Education, arguing that the department “exceeded [its] authority” when it released the 2011 Dear Colleague letter instructing colleges on how to prevent and punish campus sexual assault… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • ‘Even Third Graders’ Understand Due Process, says State Lawmaker Threatening Georgia Tech

    February 5, 2016

    By Matt Lamb at The College Fix Georgia State Rep. Earl Ehrhart is leading the charge to keep the state’s colleges and universities from depriving students of their due-process rights. … Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Lawmaker to Spotlight Tech’s Treatment of Accused Students

    January 24, 2016

    By Janel Davis and Shannon McCaffrey at The Atlantic Constitutional-Journal Georgia Tech will face questions today from a state lawmaker looking at whether the school is doing enough to protect the rights of students accused of sexual assault and other wrongdoing. Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Higher Education is a House Divided

    December 17, 2015

    By George F. Will at The News Journal Online Although he is just 22, Andrew Zeller is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at Purdue University. He is one reason the school is a rare exception to the rule of unreason on American campuses, where freedom of speech is under siege. He and Purdue are evidence that freedom of speech, by which truth is winnowed from error, is most reliably defended by those in whose intellectual pursuits the truth is most rigorously tested by reality. While in high school in Bowling Green, Ohio, Zeller completed three years of college undergraduate courses. […]

    » Read More
  • Student Sues Ga. Tech After Expulsion for Sexual Misconduct

    November 25, 2015

    By Kathleen Foody at Associated Press ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia Tech student expelled in April after a sexual misconduct investigation has filed a lawsuit alleging that the review was unfair and violated his rights. The lawsuit said the university’s Office of Student Integrity found the student, identified as “John Doe” in the suit, responsible for non-consensual sexual and intercourse and coercion against a female student at an October 2013 event where they had been drinking. Doe received little information about witnesses’ statements and couldn’t defend himself, the lawsuit said. The male student wants a judge to allow him to […]

    » Read More
  • ‘CBS Atlanta’ Investigation of Georgia Regents Reveals Years of Mishandled Appeals

    November 13, 2013

    by Peter Bonilla CBS Atlanta’s Jeff Chirico reports a disturbing story from Georgia: the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG), which has the authority to review appeals of employee terminations and student expulsions, may have been systematically shirking this duty for a decade or more. This is eyebrow-raising for several reasons, starting with USG’s sheer size. The system consists of 31 public institutions, including major institutions like the University of Georgia (UGA) and Georgia Tech, enrolling more than 300,000 students. The system also includes tens of thousands of academic and non-academic staff; UGA alone employs 9,874. For students, faculty, and […]

    » Read More
  • University presidents battle for honors in spinelessness

    May 1, 2006

    It’s time for this column to announce its Sheldon Award, given annually to the university president who does the most to look the other way when free speech is under assault on campus. As all Sheldon fans know, the prize is a statuette that looks something like the Oscar, except that the Oscar shows a man with no face looking straight ahead, whereas the Sheldon shows a man with no spine looking the other way. The award is named for Sheldon Hackney, former president of the University of Pennsylvania and a modern legend in looking the other way. College presidents, […]

    » Read More
  • Georgia Tech Ordered to Pay $203,734.14 for Violating Students’ Rights

    December 30, 2008

    Over at Phi Beta Cons, former FIRE President David French, recently back from a tour of duty in Iraq, reports that Georgia Tech has been ordered to pay $203,734.14 in attorneys’ fees and expenses for violating its students’ freedom of religion. Here’s how David describes the case in his blog entry: In March 2006 two brave Georgia Tech students, Orit Sklar and Ruth Malhotra, launched a challenge to several unconstitutional policies at the school. These policies included a speech code, a restrictive speech zone, discriminatory student-fee regulations, and a program of state religious indoctrination called “Safe Space” that explicitly compared […]

    » Read More
  • Georgia Tech Drops Speech Code

    August 16, 2006

    Faced with a federal lawsuit, Georgia Tech recently decided to drop its unconstitutional speech code. The policy, which banned “hate-based conduct” and “denigrating written/verbal communications,” has been rescinded and Georgia Tech will need the permission of the court if it desires to change its speech policy in the next five years. This is very similar to what happened at Penn State, which also recently avoided federal court by dropping its speech code in an out-of-court settlement.   Why did these universities buckle so quickly? Maybe university lawyers are no longer willing to attempt to defend the indefensible and recognize that […]

    » Read More
  • ‘Misplaced Political Correctness’

    April 17, 2006

    As Robert noted previously, Georgia Tech is facing an Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) lawsuit over its unconstitutional speech code. On Saturday, the Los Angeles Times editorialized on the suit and placed it in precisely the appropriate historical context, mentioning the well-chronicled rise of campus speech codes in the 1980s and 1990s—and the way courts struck such codes down. As FIRE’s Spotlight database shows, the age of speech codes is not over—universities have just decided to trample the First Amendment a little more sneakily, by way of sticking illiberal provisions in things like harassment and tolerance policies. Regarding ADF’s more recent […]

    » Read More
  • Georgia Tech Sued Over Speech Code

    April 7, 2006

    One of the latest institutions to be sued over an unconstitutional speech code is Georgia Tech, which was sued in March by former FIRE president and current Legal Network member David French and the Alliance Defense Fund. Georgia Tech’s speech code, which earned a “red light” rating on FIRE’s Spotlight, has some serious constitutional problems. For instance, “acts of intolerance” such as “[d]enigrating written/verbal communications (including the use of telephones, emails and computers) directed toward an individual because of their characteristics or beliefs” can result in disciplinary action. Such a rule is far too vague to be consistently enforced and […]

    » Read More