St. Olaf College

Location: Northfield, Minnesota
Website: http://www.stolaf.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 8th Circuit

Tell St. Olaf College to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

St. Olaf College 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.

Red Light Policies

  • The Book: Misuse of Computers

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    St. Olaf College provides computing and networking resources in order to meet the academic needs of students, faculty, and staff. Any actions that undermine this important college goal are subject to disciplinary review. These include, but are not limited to … creating or posting of material that is offensive, pornographic, libelous, or intended to harass.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • The Book: Code of Student Conduct- Proscribed Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    Conduct that has the purpose or effect of verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person including, but not limited to, the following forms:

    a. Direct oral expression or physical gesture or action.
    b. Notes, letters, U.S. mail, campus mail or other forms of written communication.
    c. Phone calls or phone messages.
    d. E-mail or other computer-based methods of communication, including social media.

    » Read More

  • Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. It includes unwelcome conduct such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when: … such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially and unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education or employment or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or work environment.

    Actions that can constitute sexual harassment include:

    • Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions;
    • Requests for sexual favors;
    • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, obscene language, off-color jokes, verbal commentary about an individual’s body, sexual innuendo, and gossip about sexual relations;
    • The display of derogatory or sexually suggestive posters, cartoons, drawings, objects, notes, letters, emails, or text messages;
    • Visual conduct such as leering or making gestures;
    • Videotaping or taking photographs of a sexual nature without consent;
    • Cyber harassment, including but not limited to disseminating information, photos, or video of a sexual nature without consent;
    • Engaging in conduct of a sexual nature which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or work environment (e.g., sexually-oriented jokes, offensive physical contact, obscene messages and gestures); and
    • Punishing or threatening to take adverse action against a subordinate or student for refusing to comply with sexual demands.

    » Read More

  • The Book: Residence Life Policies and Procedures- Harassment, Sexual and Sexual Assault

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    Examples of verbal or physical conduct that are prohibited include but are not limited to: … unwelcome remarks of a sexual nature, including remarks about a person’s body or clothing; unwelcome remarks about sexual activity; showing, exposing to, or subjecting others to materials or media of a sexual nature.

    » Read More

  • The Book: Residence Life Policies and Procedures- Public Area Decoration

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    Because St. Olaf is a safe space for all students; any material that can be deemed offensive, demeaning, or derogatory to others may not be posted in common areas. These areas include: the front of any room doors, on the hallway or spaces around it, as well as restrooms. If such material is posted, The Area Coordinator may ask to have it removed. If it is not removed, other disciplinary actions may result.

    » Read More

  • Bias Incident Report Procedure

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    Incidents of bias, harassment, and hate crimes all include some form of unwelcome conduct that is based on a person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or any other protected class status.

    A core group of College staff will consider how to proceed with regard to the report. If this initial evaluation determines that the College should move forward with disciplinary procedures, the process will be initiated. In cases where it is determined that there is no policy violation, this group will discuss any other procedures, including a conversation with involved parties.

    Sanctions imposed on students may include a variety of institutional responses or requirements including, but not limited to, the following: suspension and/or expulsion from the College; removal from campus housing; not being allowed to represent the college in co-curricular activities or volunteer or paid work; restriction from off-campus study programs; restitution; required attendance at educational programs; required assessment or counseling; restriction of privileges; probation; and any other sanctions listed in the Code of Student Conduct or deemed appropriate under the circumstances.

    » Read More

  • The Book: Distribution, Sales, and Expression

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    All campus and/or non-campus organizations or individuals desiring to distribute printed materials or establish a point of contact with college students, faculty and staff within the Buntrock Commons will clear their activities with the director of the Buntrock Commons. The director will indicate where, how and when these activities may occur.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • The Book: Campus Demonstrations

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    St. Olaf College affirms its belief in the importance of freedom of expression and in the value of permitting all members of the college community to protest actions with which they disagree.

    » Read More

  • The Book: Speaker Policy

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: August 22, 2018

    Free inquiry and free expression are essential attributes of the community of scholars. As members of that community, students should develop the capacity for critical judgment and engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.

    To this end, student organizations are free to examine and discuss all questions of interest to them, express their views, and hear opinions of others.

    » Read More


At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • Speech Code of the Month: St. Olaf College

    December 6, 2011

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2011: St. Olaf College in Minnesota. St. Olaf’s policy on “Misuse of Computers” [.pdf] prohibits “creating or posting of material that is offensive,” stating that such actions “are subject to disciplinary review.” As is typical of such policies, “offensive” is left undefined, and there is no provision for who decides what is offensive, leaving students with no way of knowing whether their electronic communications might get them in trouble. Is a pointed criticism of the university offensive? What about a provocative editorial about Islamic fundamentalism? These types of expression have gotten students in trouble at other […]

    » Read More