Keene State College

Location: Keene, New Hampshire
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Keene State College has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Campus Policies- Threatening or Endangering Others Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 6, 2018

    Verbal threats, intimidation, harassment, 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 14, 2018

    Sexual Harassment is a form of unlawful gender (sex) discrimination. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that violates College policy when: …

    • Such behavior is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that a reasonable person would find that it:
      • Alters the terms or conditions or a person’s employment or educational experience; or
      • Unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or performance in a course, program, or activity, thus creating a hostile or abusive working or educational environment

    A person’s subjective belief alone that behavior is offensive does not necessarily mean that the conduct rises to the level of a policy violation. The behavior must be objectively offensive to meet the definition of sexual harassment.

    » Read More

  • Computer and Network Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 29, 2018

    All users may not …

    • Use computing or network resources for profit, commercial use or for the purpose of lobbying that connotes College involvement or endorsement of any political candidate or ballot initiative

    » Read More

  • Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 14, 2018

    Discriminatory harassment is any severe, pervasive or objectively offensive conduct directed to an individual or group of individuals because of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran’s status, disability or other legally protected characteristic such that:

    • The conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working and/or academic environment; …
    • Such conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity.

    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 College’s education or employment programs and/or activities. Conduct must be deemed severe, persistent, or pervasive from both a subjective and an objective perspective.

    Harassing conduct includes, but is not limited to the following, when it rises to the standards set forth above:

    • 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.
    • Scaring or intimidating an African-American student by hanging a noose on their residence hall room door
    • 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.
    • Offending female students , faculty, or staff by posting sexually suggestive pictures in a visible location that they must pass by or through
    • 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

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

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: May 2, 2018

    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

  • Green light in Keene: Progress on campus speech codes

    August 30, 2018

    by Editorial Staff at Union Leader Keene State College this week earned praise for working to protect free speech on campus. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) awarded Keene State a green light rating for revising a handful of written policies that could have been used to limit free expression on campus… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Keene State College becomes third institution in New Hampshire to earn FIRE’s coveted ‘green light’ rating

    August 29, 2018

    KEENE, N.H., Aug. 29, 2018 — A third New Hampshire college has honored the state’s motto of “Live Free or Die” by revising all of its speech policies that conflicted with the First Amendment. Today, Keene State College earns the highest rating for free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Keene State is the 42nd institution nationwide to earn FIRE’s coveted “green light” rating, signifying that the institution does not maintain any written policies that imperil free expression. The University of New Hampshire earned the distinction in May, joining Plymouth State University on this elite list. “At […]

    » Read More
  • 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 […]

    » Read More
  • 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