Location: North Adams, Massachusetts
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts 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.
Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
The Director of RPS reserves the right to refuse permission to advertise events or services that promote the use of alcohol or are insensitive to members of the campus community.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Discriminatory harassment: A form of unlawful discrimination including verbal and/or physical conduct based on legally protected characteristics and/or membership in a protected class that: has the purpose or effect of creating an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment; has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or learning performance; or otherwise unreasonably adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.
This Policy prohibits all conditions and all actions or omissions, including all acts of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation, which deny or have the effect of denying to any person their rights to equity and security on the basis of their membership in or association with a member(s) of any protected class.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: … such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating a sexually intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, educational or living environment.
Student Handbook: Special Behavioral Standards for Students at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts- Harassment 13-14
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Conduct less than a physical attack or contact, which is so severe or pervasive that it interferes with a person’s employment, academic performance or participation in College programs or activities, and creates a working, learning, program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
All students have a right to demonstrate on College premises provided no such demonstration shall materially disrupt class, work or other College business or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.
There shall be no interference with a demonstration on the grounds of content of speech, except for any speech or demonstration that incites immediate violent actions, represents a clear and present danger to the campus community, is motivated by hate or bias and may constitute a violation of state law.
May 25, 2007
As Torch readers know, each month, FIRE features a college or university with a particularly egregious speech code as its Speech Code of the Month. We use Speech Code of the Month to educate the public about the ever-present problem of speech codes on campus, but the feature also helps put public pressure on these schools to encourage revisions of these repressive policies. An article in our new issue of The FIRE Quarterly discusses the changes in policies FIRE has witnessed in four institutions that have been named Speech Code of the Month in the past. Since June 2005, Albertson […]» Read More
April 13, 2007
FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month program has been an important vehicle for change. Since June 2005, five universities—Albertson College of Idaho, the University of Nevada at Reno, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Jacksonville State University, and the University of Mississippi—have changed their policies after being named Speech Code of the Month. In addition, the president of Western Michigan University has stated that his institution will revise a policy that was named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for March 2007. Thanks to a new feature, visitors to FIRE’s website can now see our Speech Codes of the Month together […]» Read More
January 16, 2007
Students at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts are much freer today than they were a year ago, thanks to a significant revision in university policy. Since being named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month in January 2006, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has dramatically changed its policies. This victory for free expression follows a similar turn of events just over a year ago at Albertson College of Idaho. In January 2006, FIRE featured MCLA’s Picketing Policy as our Speech Code of the Month. The policy in effect at that time provided that: There shall be no interference with […]» Read More
January 3, 2006
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for January 2006: Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. The Student Handbook at Massachusetts College for Liberal Arts (MCLA), a public institution bound by the First Amendment, contains a Picketing Policy that provides as follows: “There shall be no interference with a demonstration on the grounds of content of speech, except for any speech or demonstration, which…victimizes others because the speech contains offensive language and/or is motivated by hate or bias.” That’s right: MCLA will not interfere with a student demonstration unless it offends somebody. This policy is both absurd and unconstitutional. The […]» Read More