Keene State College

Location: Keene, New Hampshire
Website: http://www.keene.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Keene State College 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.

Red Light Policies

  • Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 28, 2017

    Discriminatory Harassment is verbal or physical conduct that demeans or shows hostility, or aversion, toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, age, disability, or because of retaliation for engaging in protected activity and that:

    • Has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning or working environment; or
    • Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s learning or work performance; or
    • Otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment opportunities or ability to be successful academically. Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • Epithets, slurs, jokes, negative stereotyping or threatening, intimidating or hostile acts that relate to a person’s race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability.
    • Written or graphic material which demeans or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group because of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age or disability and is posted on walls, bulletin boards, e-mail or elsewhere on the campus.
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting an individual’s employment or grades.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Campus Policies- Threatening or Endangering Others Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 28, 2017

    Verbal threats, intimidation, harassment/bullying, coercion and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person is prohibited, be it through face-to-face interactions or the use of social media and/or electronic devices.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 28, 2017

    Sexual Harassment – sexual harassment may take the form of unwelcome sexual advances, graffiti, jokes, pranks, slurs, insults, threats, vandalism, assignment of unpleasant duties, or even physical assault which serves to interfere with a person’s work or academic life.

    Federal and state laws define harassing behavior as occurring when:

    • Such contact has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating a hostile or offensive working or academic environment;
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting that individual; or
    • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic work.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Computer and Network Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 28, 2017

    All users may not … Harass, defame, intimidate or threaten anyone through the use of computing or network resources.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Use of Facilities- Political, Social, and Commercial Activities

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 13, 2017

    To facilitate robust debate and the free exchange of ideas, students and non-students shall be permitted to engage in free speech activities and distribute literature on Oya Hill on a space available basis. This use may be without permission from the College so long as the area has not been previously reserved or scheduled for a particular function, no sound amplification is used, activities do not interrupt or interfere with educational or instructional activities or the normal conduct of College business, and the participants do not violate other College policies.

    Although it is not necessary for a person using Oya Hill to obtain prior permission from the College, the College encourages such persons to contact the Office of Student Involvement and/or Scheduling Office to minimize possible scheduling conflicts.

    Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as limiting the right of student expression elsewhere on the campus so long as the expressive activities or related student conduct, including the distribution of literature, does not violate any other applicable College policies.

    » Read More


At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • FIRE Testifies in Support of Free Expression Bill at New Hampshire State Legislature

    February 4, 2016

    On Tuesday, January 26, I had the privilege of testifying before the New Hampshire House Education Committee on HB 1561, a bill to protect freedom of expression at New Hampshire’s public colleges and universities by prohibiting the use of unconstitutional “free speech zones.” This bill is important for New Hampshire because at least two of its public institutions, Keene State College (KSC) and the University of New Hampshire (UNH), have policies that demonstrate a lack of commitment to students’ expressive rights on campus. For example, at KSC, students are permitted to engage in free speech activities only on the Student […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Keene State College

    November 2, 2009

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for November 2009: Keene State College in New Hampshire. Keene State’s “Statement on Sexist Language,” found in the college’s Student Handbook, states that “Keene State College will not tolerate language that is sexist and promotes negative stereotypes and demeans members of our community.” Keene State is a public university, legally bound to uphold the guarantees of the First Amendment, yet this policy blatantly prohibits constitutionally protected speech. Not only does it prohibit protected speech, but it also leaves a great deal of what we would call core protected expression—that is, the kind […]

    » Read More