Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit
North Carolina State University – Raleigh 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.
January 10, 2006
FIRE teamed up with the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy to release the Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System. The Report notes that UNC System’s many speech codes and illiberal restrictions on religious groups would likely not survive a legal challenge. It also reveals that “13 out of the 16 schools in the UNC System have at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”» Read More
Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
Last updated: November 16, 2017
BIRT defines a Bias Incident as any activity that intimidates, demeans, mocks, degrades, marginalizes, or threatens individuals or groups based on that individual’s or group’s actual or perceived protected class. These incidents can occur whether the act is intentional or unintentional. In identifying a bias incident, the focus is on the impact of an action on an individual or group, not the intention or motivation of the actor.
A bias incident is an occurrence that does not give rise to a policy violation. Policy violations are handled and redressed through the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity, consistent with POL 04.25.05 and related Regulations. Student Conduct Code violations are handled and redressed through the Office of Student Conduct.
Our team emphasizes four areas of focus: awareness, support, education and restoration. We aim to equip the NC State community with the skills needed to appropriately confront offensive speech or actions — and to encourage offenders to understand the significance of their speech or actions and take responsibility for them. It is not BIRT’s goal to censor or limit protected speech.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
Last updated: November 16, 2017
University employees using University IT resources may not convey personal statements that could be construed as representing the positions or beliefs of the University. For example, religious views, political campaign positions, proselytizing remarks and quotations are not allowed in e-mail signature blocks.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
Last updated: May 30, 2017
The University of North Carolina is dedicated to the transmission and advancement of knowledge and understanding. Academic freedom is essential to the achievement of these purposes. The University, therefore, supports and encourages freedom of inquiry for faculty members and students to the end that they may responsibly pursue these goals through teaching, learning, research, discussion, and publication, free from internal or external restraints that would unreasonably restrict their academic endeavors.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
Last updated: November 16, 2017
5. PROCEDURE FOR UNIVERSITY SPACE USE
5.1 Advance Notice
5.1.1 Groups and individuals must reserve the use of space for their activity before the proposed time and date of the event (the “notice requirement”).
- For outdoor uses of University space, the notice requirement is at least two (2) university business days. Requests to reserve space are to be submitted electronically. Information on submitting request can be obtained from the Student Involvement website.
- For use of other University space (including indoor space), the notice requirement shall be set by the Dean or Vice Chancellor with administrative responsibility for the University space, or their designees. The notice requirement for such use is typically thirty (30) calendar days.
5.1.2 The Responsible Administrator will confer and coordinate with University Police and other relevant University departments or units when appropriate, and the reservation may be issued for a later time and date if extra time is needed to plan the activity, arrange for adequate security or because the proposed time conflicts with use by another group. The university may waive the notice requirement for good cause shown.
5.7 Unscheduled Outdoor Uses
5.7.1 Occasionally, events occur which demand immediate public outcry (“unscheduled use”). It is not the intent of the university to limit students’ and University employees’ right to assemble or protest when such events occur. Unscheduled uses may occur by University Groups, Student Groups, students, and University employees provided that the activity does not interfere with university activities as described in this Regulation or any events or functions for which that the occupied space has been reserved in advance.
5.7.2 Although not required, to further the effectiveness of the unscheduled use, University Groups, Student Groups, students, and University employees are encouraged to contact Student Involvement and provide notification about the activity. Advance notification enables the University to help ensure that the activity does not conflict with a reserved or scheduled use, takes place in a constructive manner, the event is effective, to safeguard the participants’ safety, and to assist organizers in seeing that the activity does not disrupt the University’s educational activities and essential processes.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
Last updated: November 16, 2017
2.4 “Non-Commercial Solicitation” means any distribution of leaflets, brochures or other written material, or oral speech to a passersby, conducted without intent to obtain commercial or private pecuniary gain. This definition does not include the dissemination of information for purposes of the administrative, academic, research, or extension activities of the University.
5.1.1 University Groups, Student Groups, Students, and their sponsored Non-University Groups and individuals may conduct non-commercial solicitation without reserving space in any outdoor area of campus and the common areas of the Talley Student Union and the Witherspoon Student Center, the use of which is not otherwise restricted, reserved, or scheduled. However, a member of the University or Student Group or the student sponsoring the Non-University groups or individuals must be present at all times with these participants while conducting such activity.
5.1.2 Although not required, to further the effectiveness of the use, these groups and individuals are encouraged to reserve space for the solicitation. Advance reservation enables the university to help ensure that the solicitation does not conflict with a reserved or scheduled use, takes place in a constructive and effective manner, and to assist the groups and individuals in seeing that the activity does not disrupt the university’s educational activities and essential processes.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Last updated: November 16, 2017
2.2.2 Hostile Environment Harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct based upon an individual’s age (40 or older), color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation or veteran status is sufficiently severe or pervasive to:
· deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from NC State’s programs or activities; or
· create an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment.
· create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment.
A Hostile Environment is determined by looking at whether the conduct is objectively offensive (i.e., a reasonable person would find it to be) and subjectively offensive (i.e., the person who is the object of the unwelcome conduct finds it to be).
All relevant circumstances are examined as part of this determination, including but not limited to, the type of Harassment (e.g. whether verbal, physical, electronic); the frequency of the conduct, the severity of the conduct, the protected group status and relationship of the individuals involved, whether the conduct was physically threatening or humiliating, whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with work performance (for employees) or academic performance (for students). When sufficiently severe, a single instance of unwelcome conduct (e.g., sexual assault) may constitute Hostile Environment Harassment.
November 11, 2016
By Raven Clabough at The New American Activists have taken to the streets to protest the elected Republican candidate, Donald Trump, in exhibits that can only be described as temper tantrums, many of which have become violent. But rather than repudiate the behavior of these protesters and dispute any contention that the election was anything but fair (let’s pretend for a moment that the mainstream media was unbiased in its campaign coverage), North Carolina State University has fed into the notion that its students were somehow wronged by the election outcome and are providing them with “comfort” foods and safe spaces… […]» Read More
July 18, 2016
By Stephanie Keaveney at The John William Pope Center Imagine a college student who has just formed a student group. In order to generate interest in this group, the student goes to the student union and passes out flyers for the inaugural meeting… Read more here.» Read More
June 14, 2016
By Peter Jesserer Smith at National Catholic Register CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Christian campus ministry has won its first round with North Carolina State University, after a federal judge ordered a halt to the public university’s requirement that student groups obtain permits to engage in non-commercial student speech… Read more here.» Read More
October 30, 2015
By Robby Soave at Reason Online Are you a college student who can’t decide whether your Halloween costume is potentially offensive? Here’s a helpful infographic that might make things clearer. Just kidding. That infographic, posted by administrators in the student affairs department of North Carolina State University and noticed by Campus Reform, is probably the least helpful Halloween costume guide ever made. The only reasonable takeaway is that any costume edgier than a plain white sheetshould be avoided. Administrators at universities all over the country are eager to tell students what not to wear in order to mitigate any chances of […]» Read More
September 27, 2012
This week I take my show on the road to the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill, one of those “liberal” colleges. There the word “Freshman” is banned as sexist (“First Year”, freshman are now called). It’s a violation of the school’s speech code to “explicitly or implicitly ask for sex” (So how does a student get there…). Hadley Heath, a UNC graduate, says that debate on campus is stifled and if you’re not a liberal… better keep to yourself. Derek Spicer thought that his school— North Carolina State University— engaged in censorship in the name of “civility.” He reached […]» Read More
August 19, 2009
By Sam Wardle at IndyWeek.com Haley Koch is a senior at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, a Morehead-Cain scholar and a graduate of Sidwell Friends, a northeastern high school that counts Chelsea Clinton and Gore Vidal among its alumni. Koch has received numerous UNC-CH awards for her work as an LGBT activist and community organizer. In mid-April, she accepted the Engaged Scholarship Award on behalf of UNC-NOW, a grassroots student group Koch works with. A few days later, on April 23, she garnered another distinction: She was arrested by campus police outside of a classroom. Koch is charged with disorderly conduct […]» Read More
April 10, 2009
College sports fans, be careful of the company you keep on Facebook. You might get yourself _ and the program you support _ in trouble. That was the lesson this week for Taylor Moseley, a North Carolina State freshman who expressed a common-enough opinion on campus when he started the Facebook group called “John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!!!” More than 700 people signed up for the group encouraging Wall _ a local standout and the nation’s No. 1 basketball recruit _ to pick the Wolfpack by national signing day next week. But the NCAA says such sites, and […]» Read More
October 22, 2004
By John T. Plecnik at Front Page Magazine The John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy hosted its annual policy conference at North Carolina State University last Saturday on October 16, 2004. The topic: “Freedom and the American Campus.” All-star panels articulated the reality of liberal bias on college campuses, and debated possible solutions. Notables included David Horowitz of FrontPageMag.com, former U.S. House Historian Dr. Christina Jeffrey, and David French of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). During the conference, it was reported that a memo was circulating among the faculty and administration of N.C. State warning […]» Read More
December 22, 2016
It’s a time-honored tradition for college students to use independent newspapers to respond to pressing issues on campus and avoid top-down censorship from administrators. As The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported in their piece, “In Tense Times, Black Students Find Ways to Tell Their Own Stories,” there has been a surge in publications run by black students in order to address racial issues and incidents on campuses nationwide. This growing number of publications includes DOWN Magazine at Yale University and The Black Hurricane at Purdue University. By creating new on-campus publications in addition to utilizing already established ones, students […]» Read More
North Carolina State University Will No Longer Require Written Permission to Speak on Campus, Paying a Hefty Settlement
July 21, 2016
Last month, a federal court ordered North Carolina State University (NC State) to stop enforcing a policy that required student groups to get written permission from administrators before distributing literature or merely speaking to students on campus. While NC State repeatedly defended the policy—a policy squarely at odds with the First Amendment—the university has now agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a student organization. As part of that settlement, NC State revised the policy and agreed to pay for the student group’s legal fees. NC State’s original “Non-Commercial Solicitation” policy prohibited “any distribution of leaflets, brochures or other written […]» Read More
June 8, 2016
On Saturday, a federal district court ruled that a student organization, Grace Christian Life, was likely to be successful in its First Amendment lawsuit against North Carolina State University, ordering the university to immediately cease enforcing a policy requiring permission to distribute literature on campus. While the court could later vacate the preliminary injunction following trial, it’s likely that the case will either settle before trial or a trial will vindicate the student organization’s claims, making this order a welcome addition to the growing heap of speech codes struck down by courts on First Amendment grounds. The policy at issue […]» Read More
April 6, 2015
According to a report by Campus Reform’s Kaitlyn Schallhorn posted last week, a North Carolina State University administrator emailed students to encourage them to cover up offensive speech painted in the university’s Free Expression Tunnel. Students are (supposedly) welcomed by the university to use the Tunnel to express themselves openly on a range of topics, from current events to birthday messages and event details. In past years, students and administrators have disapproved of, and attempted to monitor or even censor, expression deemed to be “hate speech.” As FIRE has explained before, administrators at NC State, a public university bound by […]» Read More
January 3, 2014
As part of a blog series about some of the best “green light” university policies, we took a look last week at Mississippi State University’s policy on “Harassment” and examined why it is a useful model for other colleges and universities to follow in properly addressing harassment on campus. Today, we take a look at North Carolina State University’s “Civility Statement,” another exemplary green light policy. FIRE is no stranger to witnessing universities misapply the rationale of “civility” to censor and punish expression protected by the First Amendment. While civility and civil discourse are laudable objectives, schools veer into the territory of restricting First Amendment activity […]» Read More
October 2, 2012
It’s been a big television week for FIRE. Last Thursday, I appeared alongside Campus Freedom Network members David Deerson and Derek Spicer on an episode of the Fox Business Network show Stossel, filmed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). We had a great discussion of speech codes at UNC and civility codes at North Carolina State University. If you missed it on Thursday, you can watch the segment online now. And last night, the late—night Fox News show Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld featured a segment about FIRE’s latest video, featuring student Morgan Freeman of Sam […]» Read More
September 10, 2012
FIRE’s latest victory in the battle against “civility” speech codes on campus has hit the news. Both The Chronicle of Higher Education and Minding The Campus report on the welcome revision of North Carolina State University’s civility policy. Check them out!» Read More
November 5, 2010
Early yesterday morning, a group of students gathered at North Carolina State University’s free expression tunnel to protest against hate speech. The tunnel, which is free for students to paint with messages of their choice, had reportedly been painted with a caricature of President Obama and homophobic and racial slurs. In response, a group of students blocked all access and painted the tunnel black in protest. They’ve asked for penalties for anyone who writes “hate speech” in the tunnel, and greater surveillance of the tunnel in order to identify perpetrators. By the time FIRE got there, the protesters had left. […]» Read More
April 24, 2009
The First Amendment scored a victory this week at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill when UNC removed and arrested six hecklers who disrupted a campus speech by former Virginia congressman and illegal immigration opponent Virgil Goode. Goode was invited to speak on campus by a group called Youth for Western Civilization. Problems with disruptive hecklers had been expected in the wake of a speech last week by former Congressman Tom Tancredo, another outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, which abruptly ended when violence erupted. During Tancredo’s speech, a window was shattered and police used pepper spray to disperse unruly protestors […]» Read More
April 17, 2009
I blogged on Wednesday on the press generated by FIRE’s successful effort to get Virginia Tech President Charles Steger to shelve a requirement that would have more deeply ensconced a “diversity” requirement for tenure and promotion for the university’s arts and sciences faculty. FIRE’s efforts and success at Virginia Tech were reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) and the Richmond Times-Dispatch as well as several blogs. You also may have noticed that there was a bit of a ruckus kicked up by University of Pennsylvania professor John L. Jackson, Jr., in a post on Brainstorm, a blog […]» Read More
April 15, 2009
The Associated Press reports that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is putting pressure on member schools to crack down on student-operated Facebook groups which urge talented high school athletes to attend their college or university. The AP’s story, which has been picked up by over 200 news outlets in the past week, details what happened after Taylor Moseley, a freshman at North Carolina State University, created a Facebook group titled “John Wall PLEASE come to NC STATE!!!!”. (John Wall is a heavily recruited high school basketball player; the AP notes he is “the nation’s No. 1 basketball recruit.”) Moseley’s […]» Read More
February 13, 2009
The Technician, the student newspaper at North Carolina State University (NCSU), reports that the Campus Culture Task Force Committee for North Carolina State University is still soliciting input from concerned students and community members, and will continue to do so until Monday, February 16. The committee, formed after the discovery of racist comments painted on the school’s Free Expression Tunnel, is seeking public input prior to submitting a report to University Chancellor James Oblinger regarding the campus climate, the Free Expression Tunnel, and the student code of conduct. So far, feedback to the committee has been limited and mostly focused […]» Read More
January 21, 2009
Jon Sanders, a policy analyst and research editor at the Raleigh, North Carolina-based John Locke Foundation, has written an astute column on North Carolina State University’s venerable “Free Expression Tunnel,” which has been a flashpoint for controversy in the wake of the election of President Barack Obama. Torch readers will remember that shortly following Obama’s election, a series of racist messages seeming to threaten harm to the President-elect appeared in the tunnel. Local law enforcement and the United States Secret Service investigated the incident, but neither agency found the graffiti to be criminal, deciding that the statements did not constitute […]» Read More
January 12, 2009
The second season of FIRE’s podcasting series, FIREside Chats, kicks off with Samantha Harris’ December 26 interview on NewsTalk 680 WPTF in Raleigh, North Carolina. Samantha is FIRE’s Director of Speech Code Research. During the interview, Samantha discusses speech codes in the University of North Carolina System, FIRE’s Spotlight on Speech Codes Report, and the incident that recently occurred in the Free Expression Tunnel at North Carolina State, where racist remarks about President-elect Obama were spray painted. The interviewers, Rick and Donna Martinez, have also written a blog post today on their interview with Samantha, where they discuss the repercussions […]» Read More
December 2, 2008
Adam and Robert wrote last week about racist messages written in North Carolina State University’s “Free Expression Tunnel.” Now, two North Carolina newspapers have weighed in on the controversy. On Saturday, an editorial in the News-Record of Greensboro, N.C., comments on President Erskine Bowles’ instituting a commission to consider a system-wide policy to ban this sort of speech as a “hate crime.” The News-Record warns, however, When freedom of speech is curtailed for any reason, the danger exists of suppressing it too widely and for the wrong motives. Exactly how do authorities create a policy that clearly distinguishes between expression […]» Read More
December 2, 2008
Katherine Lewis Parker, Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF), wrote to UNC system President Erskine Bowles last week regarding the much-publicized case of racist speech in the “Free Expression Tunnel” at North Carolina State University (NCSU). The North Carolina ACLU got engaged in this issue once Bowles directed the UNC schools to consider a ban on “hate speech” in response to the legal but derogatory graffiti painted in the tunnel. The ACLU-NCLF, according to Parker, “disagree(s) with the need for—or the constitutionality of—a proposed speech code in response to the incident [and] […]» Read More
November 25, 2008
“Anger and controversy,” Robert wrote yesterday, “have been swirling at North Carolina State University about messages painted in N.C. State’s ‘Free Expression Tunnel’ on November 5 in the wake of Barack Obama’s presidential election victory.” The messages were clearly racist and have disturbed people both on and off campus. Why has N.C. State censored these messages but in fact has celebrated the display of other violent messages against the leader of another country? Someone once painted a poem in the Tunnel which many people on campus probably would interpret as “hate speech” against Muslims. The poet called an Islamic nation’s […]» Read More
November 24, 2008
For the last two weeks, anger and controversy have been swirling at North Carolina State University about messages painted in N.C. State’s “Free Expression Tunnel” on November 5 in the wake of Barack Obama’s presidential election victory. One message reportedly read, “Hang Obama by a noose.” Here is a picture of another one, which read, “Let’s shoot that nigger in the head!” These messages have been widely and severely criticized across campus and beyond. I have been unable to determine if any other such messages were painted. Since the incident, four students (whose names have not been revealed) have admitted […]» Read More
October 8, 2007
North Carolina State University persuades students to enroll by advertising their “Free Expression Tunnel,” which “gives students a venue for expressing their thoughts and feelings about anything.” Well, not anything. According to a recent report, NC State officials regularly monitor the tunnel for things like “hate speech” and then paint over whatever they do not want others to see. Zachary Moser-Katz reports (see page image) that NC State official David Hatch sees such postings as “hate crime issues.” Jon Barnwell, captain of the campus police, told Moser-Katz: There is a blanket rule for facilities to remove any speech that is […]» Read More
April 19, 2005
Those of you who, like me, are concerned about issues of piracy in the modern age have good reason to worry, as pirates have evidently taken over the student government of North Carolina State University. Fox News is reporting that a gentleman named The Pirate Captain was just elected president of NCSU’s student body. He wears a beard, a Seinfeld-esque “puffy shirt,” an eyepatch, and sometimes a parrot. The Pirate Captain, who as a landlubber once carried the name of Will Piavis, seems, unlike most pirates, to be a fan of representative democracy, and he and his “scurvy crew” (his […]» Read More