Spotlight
Spotlight

Sewanee, The University of the South

Location: Sewanee, Tennessee
Website: http://www.sewanee.edu
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
  • The University of the South Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy

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

    Harassment covers a wide range of behavior and is generally defined as repetitive conduct that threatens, intimidates, alarms, or puts a person in fear for their safety. Harassment has two criteria: 1) the behavior is unwanted, unwelcomed, and uninvited behavior that demeans, threatens, or offends, and 2) the behavior has the effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning educational or work environment.

    Harassment may take on many different forms including, but not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, impeding or blocking movement, and offensive touching.

    This policy does not intend to discourage the normal exchange of ideas within the academic environment, nor the introduction of controversial but relevant ideas within the classroom. Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of conduct that violates this policy.

    » Read More

  • Dean of Students Office: Hateful or Bias Behavior Form

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

    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)

    » Read More

  • Student Organizations Handbook: Planning Activities and Events

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies, Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: August 29, 2018

    Only recognized student organizations in good standing with the University may host events on campus.

    Students may distribute leaflets, informational sheets, compact discs, or similar materials outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another organization, if the distributors position themselves twenty feet from the entrance and avoid restricting access. For outdoor events, distributors may position themselves twenty feet from the reserved lawn or area, again in a manner so as to avoid restricting access. There may be no charge or requested donations for these materials and the name and contact information of the distributing individual or organization must be provided on each piece.

    Generally, picketing, distributing literature, silent or symbolic protests (e.g., holding signs, wearing certain clothing, standing, etc.), or short and spontaneous verbal reactions to a speaker are acceptable forms of protest and dissent, as long as they do not block, obstruct, or impede, among other things, access to a meeting or activity, passage of persons or vehicles, the audience’s view or ability to pay attention, and/or the speaker’s communication or ability to speak.

    Recognized student organizations in good standing with the University have the privilege of posting on University bulletin boards and kiosks. The following policies govern postering on campus:
    ● All posters must be submitted and approved using OrgSync.
    ● Posters may be placed only on bulletin boards and kiosks reserved by an organization.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Sexual Misconduct Policy: Definitions

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

    Sexual harassment is:
    ● 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.

    » Read More

  • Campus Commitment to Diversity

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

    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.

    » Read More

  • Student Organizations Handbook: Freedom of Expression

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

    As an institution of higher learning dedicated to research, teaching, and service, the University is firmly committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression, and will maintain the conditions of freedom of inquiry, thought, and discussion on campus.

    » Read More


  • 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.

    » Read More
  • 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 […]

    » Read More