Sewanee, The University of the South

Location: Sewanee, Tennessee
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit

Tell Sewanee, The University of the South to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Sewanee, The University of the South 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 26, 2017

    Conduct prohibited by this policy does not include simple teasing, off-hand comments, or isolated incidents that are not extremely serious. Rather, conduct that rises to the level of harassment must be so offensive as to alter the conditions of employment or the educational environment. If the harassment culminates in a tangible employment or education action or is sufficiently severe or pervasive so that a hostile work or education environment is created, then the conduct is prohibited. … Conduct that may create a hostile environment includes offensive statements and comments, unwelcome touching, and displays of offensive pictures or other materials. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature may constitute sexual misconduct.

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  • Dean of Students Office: Hateful or Bias Behavior Form

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: September 26, 2017

    Use this form to (anonymously, if necessary) report hateful or bias acts or other forms of discrimination or harassment that you witnessed on campus.

    Please indicate the general type(s) of behavior that occurred (check all that may apply): (Required)

    • Harassment (of any type)
    • Racist
    • Homophobic
    • Physical
    • Printed/Written (including digitally)
    • Other (please specify in description below)

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Green Light Policies
  • Sexual Misconduct Policy: Definitions

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 26, 2017


    * unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct
    * that is so sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive
    * that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program and/or activities,
    * and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.

    Examples include (but are not limited to) attempting to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; repeatedly subjecting a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; punishing a refusal to comply with a sexually based request; conditioning a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; stalking; gender-based bullying; sexual violence; and intimate partner violence. “Stalking” (see below) falls under this category.

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  • Campus Commitment to Diversity

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 26, 2017

    As our statement of purpose indicates, Sewanee is “dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom in close community and in full freedom of inquiry, and enlightened by Christian faith in the Anglican tradition, welcoming individuals from all backgrounds, to the end that students be prepared to search for truth, seek justice, preserve liberty under law, and serve God and humanity.” To embody the principles articulated in our statement of purpose, we strive for diversity in ideas and in our community, working to maintain and expand the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in hiring, programming, and our curriculum. It is our ethical imperative to pursue difficult conversations that are civil, campus-wide, and involve a variety of perspectives. Such conversations characterize our community, a group of people engaged in honest self-criticism and in a process of growth and change. Ultimately, we seek to create and sustain an intercultural community that includes and empowers all our members.

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  • Out of Balance

    April 14, 2016

    By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed Last week, the California Court of Appeals ruled against the University of Southern California in a lawsuit brought by a student suspended for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman during group sex… Read more here.

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  • In Verdict Against Sewanee, Federal Jury Sends Important Message About Proper Handling of Sexual Assault Cases

    September 6, 2011

    Last week, a federal jury in Tennessee delivered a key verdict in a former student’s suit against Sewanee: the University of the South after the school found him guilty of violating its sexual assault policy. In a decision that should send some rumblings through the world of higher education and make universities think twice about the way they adjudicate allegations of sexual misconduct and rape, the jury awarded $26,500 in compensatory damages to the former student for Sewanee’s negligence in mishandling his disciplinary hearing. The case began with a female student’s 2008 accusation of rape. As The Chronicle of Higher […]

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