Swarthmore College

Location: Swarthmore, Pennsylvania
Type: Private
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Speech Code Rating

Swarthmore 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 Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Bullying and Intimidation

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: May 31, 2022

    Bullying. Bullying includes any electronic, written, verbal, or physical act or a series of acts of physical, social, or emotional domination that is intended to cause, or any reasonable person should know would cause, physical or substantial emotional harm to another person or group. Bullying conduct may not only c... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Banners, Chalkings, and Posters

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: May 31, 2022

    Posters need to be “signed” with a recognized student organization or the individual name of a matriculated student. No mentions or images of alcohol are allowed. Posters that violate any of these rules will be removed by College staff or faculty and the individual or group may be fined or held financially responsib... Read More
  • Bias Incident, Harassment and Hate Crime Response

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: May 31, 2022

    Bias incidents are acts of conduct, speech, or expression that target individuals and groups based on their actual or perceived race/color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity/expression, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Bias-related incidents, while abhorrent and intolerable, do not... Read More
  • Title IX and College-Defined Sexual Misconduct Policy: College-defined sexual harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 31, 2022

    College-defined sexual harassment (CDSH) is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature or based on sex or gender when at least one of the following conditions are present and Section VI.A.3.i-iii are not applicable: … Hostile Environment: Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Discrimination, including Harassment, Based on a Protected Class

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 31, 2022

    Discrimination, including harassment, based on a protected class is defined as unreasonable, unwelcome conduct, based on an individual’s sex, race, color, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital status, medical condition, veteran status, disabil... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Academic Freedom and Responsibility

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: May 31, 2022

    Membership in the academic community imposes on students, faculty members, administrators, and trustees an obligation to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions, and to foster and defend intellectual honesty, freedom of inquiry and instruction, and free expression on a... Read More
  • Title IX and College-Defined Sexual Misconduct Policy: Title IX sexual harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 31, 2022

    Title IX sexual harassment means: … An individual engaging in unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity. Read More
  • Student Handbook: Computer Systems and Networks Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: May 31, 2022

    Individuals with access to the Swarthmore College network have the following obligations and responsibilities: 1. To respect other people and the College’s intellectual environment. Use of the network may not violate College policies, federal, state, or local law, including the laws of defamation, forgery, copyright... Read More
At present, FIRE has not been publicly involved in any cases at this school.
  • Compelled Speech and the Veneer of Conformity at Swarthmore College

    July 29, 2016

    Do we as a society still leave room for harmless errors of judgement, for learning opportunities, and for conversation? Do we leave room to question orthodoxy in all its forms? Increasingly, recent events on college campuses indicate that the answer to these questions is a definitive “no.” One of the more disturbing manifestations of this… Read more

  • Swarthmore Policy Allows ‘Deviations’ From Own Procedures, Despite Past Problems

    July 6, 2016

    When I arrived at Swarthmore College in the fall of 2014, I was inundated with commentary about an ongoing federal Title IX investigation into the college, and I was shocked by allegations that Swarthmore systematically ignored cases of sexual assault. It was clear to me that Swarthmore had an inherent conflict of interest in adjudicating… Read more

  • Swarthmore Admits Treating Student Accused of Sexual Assault Unfairly, Settles Lawsuit

    November 21, 2014

    As colleges and universities face ever-growing pressure to show that they take the issue of sexual assault seriously, a number of accused students have found themselves steamrolled by unfair and frequently incompetently-run, ends-driven disciplinary proceedings that disregard the procedural protections owed to anyone facing such serious allegations. Over the past year, those students have increasingly… Read more

  • FIRE’s Samantha Harris Speaking at Swarthmore College Next Tuesday

    December 5, 2013

    Students and FIRE supporters in the Philadelphia area are invited to hear Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Policy Research, speak at Swarthmore College this coming Tuesday, December 10. Swarthmore has a “red light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight Database, and was recently discussed on The Torch after the Swarthmore Independent reported that Swarthmore solicits volunteers to serve on panels for hearings involving allegations of sexual… Read more

  • Swarthmore Students Asked to Volunteer to Be on Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel

    October 10, 2013

    Torch readers will already be familiar with some of the procedural safeguards generally missing from sexual misconduct cases tried by campus judiciaries, as well as recent allegations that some college officials are withholding evidence and presuming the guilt of accused students. But on Tuesday, the Swarthmore College student newspaper Swarthmore Independent shed light on another worrying aspect of collegiate procedures in hearings… Read more

  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Swarthmore College

    January 25, 2013

    This winter, FIRE is presenting a blog series on the state of free speech at America’s top 10 liberal arts colleges, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. So far, we have covered speech codes at Williams College and at Amherst College. Today, we will discuss speech codes at U.S. News‘ third-ranked liberal arts… Read more

  • Censorship on Campus in 2012: From Benghazi to Free Speech Zones at the University of Missouri

    December 31, 2012

    Looking back at what 2012 had in store for the fight for free speech and basic rights on campus, the best I can say is that it was a mixed bag. There were some encouraging signs along the way, but also many setbacks. For instance, for the fifth straight year, my organization (the Foundation for Individual… Read more

  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping… Read more