Oberlin College

Location: Oberlin, Ohio
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Oberlin College 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 Conduct: Information Technology Policies

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: April 11, 2019

    Account holders should not abuse any electronic mail, bulletin board, or communications system, either local or remote, by sending rude, obscene, or harassing messages (including chain letters) or by using these systems for nonessential purposes during times when the computers are in heavy demand. Account holders sh... Read More
  • Student Conduct: Student Bill of Rights

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: April 11, 2019

    Members of the college are expected to take responsibility for their expressions; anonymous expressions are inimical to the free and open exchange of ideas. Read More
  • Sexual Misconduct Policy: Definitions of Prohibited Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 11, 2019

    Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment occurs when any of the following conditions are present: …  Such conduct has the purpose or e... Read More
  • Oberlin College Policy on Discrimination and Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 11, 2019

    Harassment is unwelcome speech or conduct (e.g., physical, oral, graphic, or written) related to [race, color, sex, marital status, religion, creed, national origin, disability, age, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, family relationship to an employee of Oberlin College, and gender identity and express... Read More
  • Student Conduct: Oberlin College Student Conduct System

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 11, 2019

    HARASSMENT Any verbal, physical, or written act, directed at an individual, which might reasonably be construed to intimidate, coerce, or create a hostile environment for him or her and, in turn, prevent him or her from fully enjoying the benefits and conditions of association with the college. At the same time, pro... Read More
  • Student Conduct: Letter from the Dean of Students

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 11, 2019

    From its inception, Oberlin College has been dedicated to free and open thought and expression. The community’s positions on social issues have often been quite varied; our members have included abolitionists, missionaries, libertarians, integrationists, and prohibitionists, as well as suffragists, nationalists, com... Read More
  • Student Conduct: Guidelines for Meetings Involving Speakers, Films, and Other Forms of Artistic Expression

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: April 11, 2019

    Oberlin College is committed to maintaining an environment where open, vigorous debate and speech can occur. This commitment entails encouraging and assisting organizations that want to sponsor speakers, films, and other forms of expression as well as informing students who seek guidance concerning forms of protest ... Read More
At present, FIRE has not been publicly involved in any cases at this school.
  • Sixth Circuit: Hearing panel’s decision may itself be evidence of sex bias in campus Title IX case

    July 1, 2020

    Generally speaking, you know a court opinion about due process on campus is going to be good when it starts off with a lofty paean to the core values undergirding our justice system. So it was with a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which earlier this week reversed a… Read more

  • On Free Speech, Double Standards, and Professor Mike Adams

    December 2, 2016

    Mike Adams, a professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW), is no stranger to controversy. In 2014, Adams won a First Amendment lawsuit alleging that UNCW retaliated against him for his public expression of conservative views. Now, Adams once again finds himself at the center of a debate over the boundaries of free… Read more

  • Oberlin President Discusses Dissent and Censorship Trends on Campus

    November 28, 2014

    In a letter to the campus community last week, President Marvin Krislov praised the role of open discourse on campus and warned students that the academic environment at Oberlin College suffers when freedom of speech is stifled. Krislov noted that Oberlin has, unfortunately, played a role in the growing trend of censorship on campus: [A]t… Read more

  • The Shibleys Explain the Harms Caused by Campus ‘Trigger Warnings’

    May 27, 2014

    With the recent controversies at Oberlin College and Wellesley College, it’s no surprise that trigger warnings have been the subject of a lot of media attention. Today, FIRE’s Robert Shibley and his wife Araz (who is also a lawyer) joined the chorus of those concerned about this practice in a column on Reason.com. In the piece, the Shibleys set forth the many harms caused by trigger warnings on campus:

  • ReasonTV Explores College Classroom ‘Trigger Warnings’ in New Video

    May 8, 2014

    FIRE President Greg Lukianoff makes an appearance in a new ReasonTV video that discusses proposals at Oberlin College and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) to require “trigger warnings” on course syllabi.

  • ‘USA Today’ Gets It Right on Trigger Warnings in Higher Education

    April 25, 2014

    Earlier this week, the editorial board of ‘USA Today’ penned an excellent piece describing the free speech and academic freedom problems presented by the spread of “trigger warnings” into higher education.

  • Revisions Promised After Oberlin Faculty Object to ‘Trigger Warning’ Policy

    April 11, 2014

    Last month, ‘The New Republic’ published an article by Jenny Jarvie on the growing trend of “trigger warnings,” disclaimers to audiences that the material they are about to view or read might “trigger” the remembrance of past traumas like sexual assault or other violence. The warnings have proliferated on websites—particularly Tumblr posts, blogs, and message boards—in recent years, but now they’re being adopted in other contexts, like syllabi for college courses.

  • Hate Crime Hoaxes and How Colleges Handle Them

    August 27, 2013

    My latest article in The Daily Caller talks about this past spring’s rash of incidents of hateful expression at Oberlin College in Ohio—at least some of which turned out to be hoaxes committed by students who wanted to “troll” the campus. Such hoaxes have been a recurring problem on campuses. In my article, I explain… Read more