Salem State University

Location: Salem, Massachusetts
Website: http://www.salemstate.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

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Speech Code Rating

Salem State 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 here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
FIRE Speech Code Memorandum for Salem State University

Red Light Policies

  • Student Conduct Code: Conduct Regulations

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    Listed below are those types of conduct which constitute grounds for disciplinary action. … Bias-Related Incident – Any act, conduct, or communication that reasonably is understood to demean, degrade, threaten, or harass an individual or group based on an actual or perceived characteristic.  Although a bias incident may not rise necessarily to the level of a crime, violation of state law, it nevertheless may create an unsafe, negative, or unwelcoming environment for the affected person(s); anyone who may identify with and/or support the affected persons; or other members of the campus community.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    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:

    1. has the purpose or effect of creating an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment;

    2. has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational opportunities; or

    3. otherwise unreasonably adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.

    […]

    For purposes of this Plan, unwelcome conduct constitutes hostile environment harassment when:

    it is targeted against a person on the basis of his/her membership in a protected class;

    AND

    it is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or employment and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive; OR

    submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; OR

    submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual.

    The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” is based on the totality of the circumstances. These circumstances could include the frequency of the conduct, its severity, and whether it is threatening or humiliating. Simple teasing, offhand comments and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not amount to hostile environment harassment under this Plan.

    […]

    Examples of discriminatory harassment, all of which are prohibited by this Policy, include, but are not limited to:

    • Physically harassing another individual or group because of that person’s or persons’ membership in a protected class by assaulting, touching, patting, pinching, grabbing, staring, leering at them, making lewd gestures, invading their personal space, blocking their normal movement, or other physical interference.
    • Encouraging others to physically or verbally abuse an individual (or group of individuals) because of that person or persons’ membership in a protected class.
    • Threatening to harm an individual or group because of that person or persons’ membership in a protected class.
    • Directing epithets, slurs, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes or stories at an individual or group because of that person or persons’ membership in a protected class.
    • Displaying hostile, derogatory and/or intimidating symbols/objects, such as offensive posters, cartoons, bulletins, drawings, photographs, magazines, written articles or stories, screen savers, or electronic communications, to an individual or group because of that person or persons’ membership in a protected class.

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  • Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    Sexual Harassment Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is prohibited when:

    • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or
    • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or
    • 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.

    Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:

    • repeatedly pressuring another person for sexual activity;
    • making sexist remarks about an individual’s clothing, body or sexual activities;
    • unnecessary touching, patting or pinching another person;
    • demanding sex from a subordinate while making threats concerning the subordinate’s job;
    • demanding sex from a student while making implied threats concerning the student’s grade;
    • electronically transmitting derogatory, demeaning or pornographic materials;
    • posting explicit sexual pictures on an exterior office door or on a computer monitor; and
    • sexually assaulting another person.

    Sexual harassment can occur between people of any gender. It can occur between equals (e.g., student to student, staff to staff, faculty to faculty) or between persons of differing power status (e.g., supervisor to subordinate, faculty to student, coach to athlete). It is possible for a person who appears to have the lesser power to commit sexual harassment (e.g., a student harassing a faculty member).

    In order for conduct to constitute sexual harassment under this Policy, a reasonable person under similar circumstance would have to conclude that the behavior was harassing or discriminatory.

    Reasonable directions or warnings by authorized University personnel as to the time, place and manner in which employees perform their assigned responsibilities, students carry out their educational assignments or program participants engage in sponsored activities do not constitute evidence of sexual harassment under this Policy.

    Hostile Environment

    A hostile environment exists when sexual harassment is sufficiently serious to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in the University’s programs or activities (e.g., administrators, faculty members, students, and campus visitors).

    To make the ultimate determination of whether a hostile environment exists for campus community member(s), the University considers a variety of factors related to the severity, persistence, or pervasiveness of the sexual harassment, including: (1) the type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; (2) the identity and relationships of persons involved; (3) the number of individuals involved; (4) the location of the conduct and the context in which it occurred; and, (5) the degree to which the conduct affected one or more person’s education or employment.

    A single or isolated incident may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to show evidence of a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical.

    3. Gender-Based Harassment Unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a person’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is prohibited when:

    • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or
    • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or
    • such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment based on gender.

    Examples of gender-based harassment include, but are not limited to:

    • using derogatory comments and terms toward a male or female who do not act in ways that align with their gender stereotype, such as a male being called names for being interested in the arts or a female being called names for being interested in construction;
    • telling someone to use a restroom that does not align with that person’s gender identity; and
    • making generalized derogatory comments about one gender, such as “all females” are ______ or “all males” are _______.

    While harassment based on non-sexual factors may be distinguished from sexual harassment, these types of behaviors may contribute to the creation of a hostile environment. Thus, in determining whether a sexually hostile environment exists, the University may consider acts of gender-based harassment. In order for conduct to constitute gender-based harassment under this Policy, a reasonable person under similar circumstance would have to conclude that the behavior was harassing or discriminatory.

    » Read More

  • Student Conduct Code: Conduct Regulations

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    1. Disorderly Conduct – Actions which jeopardizes the safety or well-being of other members of the University community or persons coming onto University property, or off campus wherever it occurs. This includes but is not limited to:

    a. Harassment of other members
    b. Statements intended to defame character
    c. Physical abuse or any act of violence
    d. Verbal abuse
    e. Written abuse of another person
    f. Conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person including one’s self
    g. Inappropriately touching another person
    h. Forcible detention of anyone on University property

    » Read More

  • Posting Policy

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    All materials posted on the campus must be reviewed, approved and stamped by the Student Involvement & Activities Programs Office before they may be posted. Each original flyer must be stamped.

    All materials submitted for review must be judged by the University to be factually accurate and provide full disclosure of any related terms, conditions, warrants and intentions. Any information that is deemed by the University to be incomplete, inaccurate, misleading and/or could be hazardous or disruptive to members of the learning community will not be approved for posting or distribution.

    » Read More

  • Guide to Living on Campus: Residence Life Policies- Community Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    Students may be asked to remove offensive images, materials or language from doors, windows and other public areas.

    » Read More

  • Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    Unacceptable uses of University computing and electronic communication resources include, but are not limited to, the following examples: … Use University computer facilities in a manner that would constitute harassment, invasion of privacy, threat, defamation, intimidation, obscenity, unwarranted annoyance or embarrassment, or discrimination based on race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or sexual orientation.

    » Read More

  • Religious Life Council: Guidelines for Religious Groups on Campus

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    When another’s actions adversely affect the public welfare, the morals, or the public health and safety of members of the campus community, such actions will not be allowed to continue.

    WHAT CONSTITUTES BEHAVIOR WHICH IS INJURIOUS TO THE HEALTH, SAFETY, AND PUBLIC WELFARE OF THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY?

    1. All forms of harassment and proselytizing.

    » Read More

  • Student Conduct Code: Appendix D: Public Speaking, Distribution of Literature, Commercial Solicitation and Demonstrations in Public Areas

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    Visitors to the campus, students, staff, or faculty wishing to use a public area to publicly address the University community at other than a University-sponsored event must first contact the Campus Center to insure that the time, place and manner of the address does not interfere with normal University functioning.

    1. Within no less than 48 hours prior to the time requested to make a public address, persons wishing to use a public area space should inform Campus Center of the date, time, number of people involved, and the contact person for the event.

    2. On a case-by-case basis, the University may waive the 48-hour notice requirement for spontaneous public addresses that are directly occasioned by news, events or affairs coming into public knowledge less than 48 hours prior to such address. Such spontaneous public addresses may be allowed upon the Alumni Plaza without the speaker or organizer first having to obtain a permit.

    3. As a general rule, no individual or group will be permitted to engage in public address on campus more than two times per month and/or four visits per semester.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Student Conduct Code: Preamble

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: May 29, 2018

    SSU students are recognized as being both citizens in the larger community and members of an academic community. In their roles as global citizens, students are free to exercise their fundamental constitutional rights. Rights and responsibilities under local, state and national law are neither abridged nor extended by status as a student at Salem State.

    » Read More


At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • REPORT: Artists clash with campus censors

    July 10, 2018

    Art purged for being “one-sided,” among other excuses Censors, often not understanding the message, ban art rather than grapple with its meaning PHILADELPHIA, July 10, 2018 — Art censorship is nothing new. Spanish conquistadors smashed ceramics of ancient Peruvian cultures that portrayed gay and lesbian sex. The Roman Catholic Church of the 15th century was so intent on covering up penises that for decades even Michelangelo’s David wore a garland of leaves around his waist. But a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education shows that art censorship remains alive and well, even on today’s college campuses, […]

    » Read More
  • FIRE Notes Uptick in Student-Driven Calls for Art Censorship as Salem State Shutters Exhibit [UPDATED]

    December 1, 2016

    Update (December 1, 2016): Salem State University reopened its “State of the Union” art exhibit, Inside Higher Ed reports. However, at least one of the exhibit’s most controversial paintings depicting Ku Klux Klan members is now displayed fully enclosed by black drapes. Students & controversial art: #SalemState reopens exhibit, MICA involves students in displaying piece on the KKK https://t.co/YWnrPFmKjH pic.twitter.com/AtMIVPGg1Y — Inside Higher Ed (@insidehighered) December 1, 2016 We’ll keep you posted on this developing story. Massachusetts’ Salem State University has agreed to temporarily close an art exhibit intended to draw attention to the evils of discrimination after students said they were offended […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Salem State University

    October 4, 2013

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for October 2013: Salem State University. The Guide to Living on Campus for Massachusetts’ Salem State includes a Policy Against Racism (PDF) that applies to all students living in the university’s residence halls, spaces where students often speak the most freely. That policy “prohibits racism, anti-Semitism and ethnic or cultural intolerance.” It also prohibits all actions or omissions—including all acts of verbal harassment or abuse—that deny or have the effect of denying anyone his or her rights to equality, dignity and security on the basis of his or her race, color, ethnicity, […]

    » Read More