Oakland University

Location: Rochester, Michigan
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

Oakland University 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
  • Student Code of Conduct: Core Standards and Behavioral Expectations- Threatening, Discriminatory and Harassing Behaviors

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 19, 2018

    Discrimination and/or Harassment. Actions, statements or other conduct that has the purpose or effect of unlawfully discriminating against or harassing an individual or creating an intimidating or hostile educational or work environment, or that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent as to unreasonably inte... Read More
  • Policy 710: Administrative Guidelines Prohibiting Discrimination

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 19, 2018

    Sexual harassment also includes conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, academic performance, or use of University services, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, educational or service environment.  Examples of... Read More
  • Policy 415: Distribution and Solicitation on Campus

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: November 19, 2018

    Distribution and solicitation is defined as the giving away or selling of information, goods and/or services or solicitation of survey respondents. … 1. Approval for Distribution or Solicitation on Campus: Recognized Oakland University Organizations:  Any officially recognized Oakland University department or... Read More
  • Housing Handbook: Policies- Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 16, 2018

    Harassment of a university employee or university student is defined as any behavior, including gestures or swearing, that is directed at or in the presence of a staff person or student and is meant to intimidate or be combative. To succeed personally and academically, an individual must be able to live free from u... Read More
  • Student Organization Policies: Advertising

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: November 19, 2018

    Posting is defined as the hanging of information, advertising, etc. on any campus bulletin board, window, door, wall or other university property. Oakland University reserves the right to refuse permission to any individual or group for posting that: seriously impede normal university activity do not follow Oakland... Read More
  • Policy 890: Use of University Information Technology Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: November 19, 2018

    Avoidance of harassment – No member of the community may use Resources to libel, slander, or harass any other person. Harassment includes, without limitation, the following: Intentionally using Resources to annoy, harass, terrify, intimidate, threaten, offend or bother another person by conveying obscene langu... Read More
  • Student Code of Conduct: Core Standards and Behavioral Expectations- Disruptive Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 19, 2018

    Disruptive Behavior. Conduct that has the purpose or effect of disrupting, or interfering with the requirements or operations of any OU academic or non-academic activities or operations, including without limitation teaching, learning, research and/or administration. Disruptive behavior also includes causing, inciti... Read More
  • Student Code of Conduct: Philosophy and Purpose

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: November 19, 2018

    The Oakland University (“OU”) Student Code of Conduct (“SCC”) is designed to protect and foster the institution’s role and mission by providing students with an exemplary academic experience, encouraging social responsibility and civility within our campus community and protecting the well-being of the OU community.... Read More
  • Oakland University: Student Suspended over His Writing Journal

    December 16, 2011

    In fall 2011, student Joseph Corlett was enrolled in Oakland University’s Advanced Critical Writing course, which included a requirement that students keep a journal, described as “a place for a writer to try out ideas and record impressions and observations.” After two of Corlett’s journal entries described the attractiveness of the course’s instructor, she demanded… Read more

  • Not Plausible That the First Amendment Protects Offensive Classroom Speech?

    July 29, 2013

    The outcome in Corlett v. Oakland University is frustrating for numerous reasons, some of which my colleague Samantha Harris outlined when the decision was released. Joseph Corlett sued Oakland University for violating his constitutional rights after the university suspended him for three semesters based on entries in a journal that he was required to keep… Read more

  • In Troubling Opinion, Federal Judge Dismisses Free Speech Lawsuit Against Oakland University

    July 24, 2013

    Yesterday, Judge Patrick Duggan of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan dismissed former student Joe Corlett’s free speech lawsuit against Oakland University in a deeply flawed opinion (PDF) that has broad and troubling implications for free speech on campus. While there is much to be said about this opinion, for now I… Read more

  • Oakland University’s Motion to Dismiss in ‘Hot for Teacher’ Case Relies on an Unconstitutional Speech Code and Shows Its Lack of Regard for the First Amendment

    May 22, 2013

    Last week, I blogged about Oakland University’s motion to dismiss in Joseph Corlett’s lawsuit against the university for violating his First Amendment rights. Corlett, as Torch readers may recall, is the student who was found guilty (PDF) of "unlawful individual activities" for writing an entry called "Hot for Teacher" in his class journal (PDF). Corlett… Read more

  • Motion to Dismiss in ‘Hot for Teacher’ Case Is Legally Weak But Tactically Disturbing

    May 17, 2013

    Joseph Corlett – The Detroit Free Press When Oakland University, a public university in Michigan, suspended student Joseph Corlett for writing an entry called "Hot for Teacher" in his class journal, the story generated widespread media coverage. As Torch readers may recall, Corlett’s ordeal began when he submitted his writing journal to his Advanced Critical Writing… Read more

  • ‘So, Are You SURE I Can Write Whatever I Want in This Assignment?’

    March 19, 2013

    As Torch readers know, yesterday FIRE announced that Oakland University student Joseph Corlett had sued the college for $2.2 million and four academic credits for suspending him in the fall of 2011 after he authored two journal entries that described the attractiveness of his professor for an Advanced Critical Writing assignment. FIRE President Greg Lukianoff… Read more

  • Student Suspended for ‘Hot for Teacher’ Essay Sues Oakland University Administrators

    March 18, 2013

    On Friday, student Joseph Corlett filed a federal lawsuit against administrators of Oakland University, near Detroit, for suspending him in the fall of 2011 after he authored two journal entries that described the attractiveness of his professor for an Advanced Critical Writing assignment. The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern… Read more

  • Speech Codes of the Year: 2012

    December 27, 2012

    Each month, FIRE singles out a particularly reprehensible campus speech code for our Speech Code of the Month designation. While all of 2012’s Speech Codes of the Month flagrantly violated students’ and faculty members’ right to free expression, two of them were so egregious that they deserve special mention as 2012’s Speech Codes of the… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: Oakland University

    April 3, 2012

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for April 2012: Oakland University in Michigan. Oakland has been on our radar for some time now due to its severedisciplineofstudentJosephCorlett, who was barred from campus, suspended for three semesters, and required to undergo “sensitivity” counseling for authoring a class assignment in which he stated that he… Read more

  • ‘Hot for Teacher’ Case Hits the Press Again

    March 14, 2012

    The Detroit press has jumped on FIRE’s case at Oakland University again following yesterday’s FIRE press release. In fall 2011, student Joseph Corlett was enrolled in Oakland University’s Advanced Critical Writing course, which included a requirement that students keep a journal, described as "a place for a writer to try out ideas and record impressions… Read more

  • ‘Reason’ Riffs on ‘Hot for Teacher’ Case

    March 14, 2012

    Jacob Sullum of Reason‘s blog Hit & Run takes on the case of Joseph Corlett at Oakland University in an entry titled "When is Quoting Van Halen a Crime?" Sullum provides a rundown of the case, including the fact that Corlett’s views on concealed carry on campus were used as evidence against him. Sullum notes, "It’s pretty… Read more

  • ‘Hot for Teacher’ Student’s Appeal Denied: Suspended for Writing an Essay

    March 13, 2012

    Here is today’s press release:  DETROIT, March 13, 2012—Oakland University in Michigan has denied the appeal of a student who was barred from campus, suspended for three semesters, and required to undergo "sensitivity" counseling for authoring a class assignment in which he stated that he found his instructors attractive. While the assignment specifically permitted students to write… Read more

  • ‘Hot for Teacher’ Student’s Appeal Denied: Suspended for Writing an Essay

    March 13, 2012

    DETROIT, March 13, 2012—Oakland University in Michigan has denied the appeal of a student who was barred from campus, suspended for three semesters, and required to undergo “sensitivity” counseling for authoring a class assignment in which he stated that he found his instructors attractive. While the assignment specifically permitted students to write creatively about any topic, the… Read more

  • Oakland University’s Punishment of Student Makes National and International Press

    February 16, 2012

    The national press has lit up over the news of Oakland University student Joseph Corlett’s suspension (and additional punishment) from the university over the contents of a writing journal for his writing class, where he wrote of finding his instructors attractive. Corlett’s appearance on MSNBC provided national TV exposure of the case and of Oakland’s… Read more

  • ‘Hot for Teacher’ FOIA: ‘Continuous inaccurate characterization and attacks’

    February 16, 2012

    FIRE has posted two new documents in the Oakland University case, in which the university suspended a student for "unlawful" activity after he wrote about his attraction to his professors in his writing journal for a writing class. Both documents were supplied by the university in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed… Read more

  • MSNBC Covers ‘Hot for Teacher’ Case

    February 15, 2012

    FIRE’s case at Oakland University, which suspended a student who wrote about his attraction to his professors in his writing journal, has lit up the airwaves all over Metro Detroit. It even has started to hit music sites such as the Van Halen News Desk, since the student’s essay was titled "Hot for Teacher," the… Read more

  • Isn’t There More to the Story at Oakland University? Not Really. (Part 3)

    February 14, 2012

    In this blog series, I am discussing the four examples of concerns cited by Oakland University Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mary Beth Snyder regarding student Joseph Corlett’s "behavior" (all of them actually examples of expression) which "was perceived by female members of the campus community as intimidating and/or threatening."  We discussed… Read more

  • Isn’t There More to the Story at Oakland University? Not Really. (Part 2)

    February 13, 2012

    In this blog series, I am discussing the four examples cited by Oakland University Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mary Beth Snyder of complaints that student Joseph Corlett’s "behavior" (all of them actually examples of expression) "was perceived by female members of the campus community as intimidating and/or threatening." According to Snyder,… Read more

  • Isn’t There More to the Story at Oakland University? Not Really. (Part 1)

    February 13, 2012

    In my previous post about FIRE’s free speech case at Oakland University, I explained that being insensitive, seeming creepy, and being the subject of subjective complaints about feeling "intimidated" do not equate to true threats, intimidation, or harassment. Student Joseph Corlett’s writing journal, in which he wrote about his attraction to his professors, is far… Read more

  • Creeping Someone Out Does Not Equal Threats or Intimidation

    February 13, 2012

    Last week, FIRE drew attention to a free speech case at Oakland University near Detroit, which wildly overreacted after a student wrote in his writing journal for class that he was attracted to his professors. Student Joseph Corlett appears to have been charged with no crime outside of campus, but Oakland found him guilty of… Read more

  • Writing about Attraction to Professors Gets Oakland U. Student Suspended

    February 10, 2012

    Here is today’s press release:  DETROIT, February 10, 2012—Oakland University near Detroit has suspended a student for three semesters, barred him from campus, and demanded he undergo "sensitivity" counseling because he wrote in a class assignment that he found his instructors attractive. While the course specifically permitted students to write creatively about any topic, the… Read more

  • Writing about Attraction to Professors Gets Oakland U. Student Suspended

    February 10, 2012

    DETROIT, February 10, 2012—Oakland University near Detroit has suspended a student for three semesters, barred him from campus, and demanded he undergo “sensitivity” counseling because he wrote in a class assignment that he found his instructors attractive. While the course specifically permitted students to write creatively about any topic, the university bizarrely chose to classify… Read more