Northeastern University

Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Northeastern University 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

Due Process Rating

Non-Sexual Misconduct

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D

Sexual Misconduct

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D

  • Student Organization Resource Guide: Demonstrations

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    This policy applies to demonstrations on University property or in connection with University events. This policy applies to all University faculty, staff, students, vendors, volunteers and visitors. No person or organization shall hold, cause or permit to be held a demonstration on University property or in connect... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Appropriate Use of Computer and Network Resources Policies

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    In addition to all of the requirements of this Policy, it is specifically prohibited to use Northeastern University information systems to: Harass, threaten, defame, slander, or intimidate any individual or group; Generate and/or spread intolerant or hateful material, which in the sole judgment of the University is... Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct: Bias-Related Incidents

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    Conduct, prohibited by this Code, may include, but is not limited to harassment, bullying, abuse of others, disorderly conduct, and vandalism that is motivated in whole or part by prejudice toward an individual’s or group’s real or perceived race, color, religion, religious creed, genetics, sex, gender identity, sex... Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct: Misuse of Electronic Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    Misuse of electronic systems or methods (for example, email, “hacking,” etc.) to steal, misrepresent, threaten, harass, or bully (including online aggression or cyberbullying), or violations of the Appropriate Use of Computer and Network Resources Policy (pages 41–50) and/or any other computer or system use Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct: Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    Repeated and/or continuing unwanted behavior, coercion, or intimidation of an individual or group, either directly or indirectly . Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct: Bullying

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    A verbal, electronic, or physical act or gesture, or the repeated use of written, verbal, or electronic expression or communication, or any combination thereof that (i) causes or is intended to cause physical, psychological, and/or emotional harm to another person or damage to property; (ii) places a University comm... Read More
  • Office for University Equity and Compliance: Policy on Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is sexual harassment when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offen... Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct: General Expectations

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    As citizens and as members of an academic community, students enjoy the same basic privileges and are bound by the same responsibilities as all citizens. Read More
  • Student Handbook: Demonstrations

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: December 5, 2018

    The University supports as fundamental to the democratic process the rights of all University students to express their views and to protest actions or opinions with which there is disagreement. Read More

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.

Grades

Non-Sexual Misconduct

D
7/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous

Sexual Misconduct

D
6/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous
At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
  • Speech Code of the Month: Northeastern University

    November 1, 2018

    The way Americans consume news has shifted dramatically over the past few years. According to Pew Research Center Fact Tank analysis from 2017, 94 percent of 18-29 year-olds get news on mobile devices, while in 2013 that number was just 75 percent. Another Pew Research Center report found that more than half of smartphone users… Read more

  • FIRE Chairman Calls Out Northeast Colleges in Annual ‘Muzzle Awards’

    July 6, 2015

    Each summer for the past eighteen years, FIRE Co-founder and Chairman Harvey Silverglate has announced the winners of his annual “Campus Muzzle Awards”: colleges and universities in the Northeast stifling campus discourse in particularly outrageous ways. Along with myself and fellow research assistant Timothy Moore, this year, Harvey has written about incidents at Brown University,… Read more

  • Boston’s WGBH Announces Muzzle Award ‘Winners’

    July 9, 2014

    Boston’s WGBH News has just announced the “winners” of its 2014 Muzzle Awards, given to those who have particularly impeded freedom of speech over the past year. Formerly published in the Boston Phoenix, WGBH has adopted the awards and is continuing the tradition of “singl[ing] out the dramatic and the petty, the epic and the absurd.”

  • ‘Globe’ Columnist: Northeastern Censorship Squelches Speech, Learning

    March 31, 2014

    Joan Vennochi has a brilliant column in ‘The Boston Globe’ about Northeastern University’s suspension of its campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Not only does Vennochi quickly dismantle all of the university’s excuses for the suspension, she also gets to the heart of why so many universities are so quick to squelch campus protests.

  • Free Speech Concerns Swirl Around Northeastern University’s Suspension of Pro-Palestinian Group

    March 14, 2014

    In recent days, FIRE has been following the story—reported today by The Boston Globe—that Northeastern University has suspended the group Northeastern Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) for reasons that seem largely related to the group’s expression.

  • Students Protest Northeastern U.’s Demonstration Policy

    August 12, 2013

    Earlier this summer on The Torch, we reported on a controversy at Northeastern University surrounding the school’s requirement that student organizations obtain a permit at least seven days in advance of campus protests. After the student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) was sanctioned for a walkout-style demonstration at a talk by Israeli soldiers,… Read more

  • Creeley in ‘Boston Globe’: Northeastern U’s Requirements Stifle Free Expression

    June 13, 2013

    Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham wrote today to criticize Northeastern University’s inconsistent handling of student protests by pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian students. The controversy centers on Northeastern’s requirement that student groups obtain a permit at least seven days in advance of protests. But Abraham questions whether the requirement was the real reason for sanctioning the school’s… Read more

  • Northeastern Student Speaks Out; FIRE Responds

    June 13, 2007

    In response to my blog entry about Northeastern’s speech code, Northeastern undergraduate Daniel Kamyck sent us the following comment: While I enjoy keeping aware of FIRE’s work across the country, and though I support the defense of individual rights in an academic setting, I’m disappointed that FIRE has chosen to ridicule the Acceptable Use Policy… Read more

  • Northeastern University: Students Question, Administration Defends Speech Code

    June 8, 2007

    Northeastern University’s student newspaper, The Northeastern News, recently did a feature story on Northeastern’s Appropriate Use Policy, which makes punishable any e-mail “which in the sole judgment of the University is offensive.” FIRE was so appalled by this policy that we named it our February 2007 Speech Code of the Month, and now it seems… Read more

  • Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: Don’t Laugh Too Hard

    May 21, 2007

    Our weekly Campus Alert column in the New York Post focuses today on speech codes at Drexel University, Northeastern University, and Johns Hopkins University—all of which have been named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for banning constitutionally protected expression on their respective campuses.   Drexel, which was given the dubious honor of being recognized… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: Northeastern University

    February 2, 2007

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2007: Northeastern University in Boston. We would like to congratulate Northeastern on being named one of America’s Top 100 National Universities by U.S. News & World Report this past summer. On behalf of everyone at FIRE, welcome to our radar screen!* Northeastern’s Appropriate Use of… Read more