University of Maryland – College Park

Location: College Park, Maryland
Website: http://www.umd.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Maryland – College Park 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.

  • University of Maryland: State Senators Pressure University to Cancel Controversial Film Screening

    October 1, 2009

    Under intense pressure from the Maryland Senate, the University of Maryland cancelled a student-run campus event that would have included an educational event by Planned Parenthood and then a screening of the self-described “XXX”-rated film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge. Cancelling the event was a clear violation of the First Amendment and the students’ right to freedom of expression and, furthermore, a public school administrator is not allowed to engage in prior review. However, the school caved after Maryland Senator Andrew P. Harris introduced an amendment to the school budget bill banning providing general funds for screenings of XXX-rated adult films. […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Department of Residence Life: Our Multicultural Philosophy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    It is our belief that any willful attempt to repress, undermine, or otherwise damage any person or group constitutes a legitimate threat to the health and welfare of our community. Such acts are inherently anti-intellectual and contradict the institutional goals of education and enlightenment. As such, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, abuse, assault, verbal or written threats (direct or implied) will be addressed immediately, and dealt with seriously.

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  • Community Living Handbook: Rights and Responsibilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Uncivil behavior tears down the social structure of the community, damages the dignity of the person who displays it, and threatens others’ sense of their rightful place in their homes on campus. Violations of rules that bring about abuse, harassment, or intended insult to others are taken seriously. Any student who commits such violations will be challenged through sanctioning to reconsider his or her behavior and engage constructively with others who were affected by it, and may be removed from the community.

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Green Light Policies
  • University of Maryland Sexual Misconduct Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    “Sexual Harassment” means: (a) unwelcome sexual advances; (b) unwelcome requests for sexual favors; or (c) other behavior of a sexual or gender-based nature where: … (iii) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance, i.e., it is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning or sexually offensive working, academic, residential or social environment.

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  • University of Maryland Policy on the Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Freedom of expression and an open environment to pursue scholarly inquiry and for sharing of information are encouraged, supported, and protected at the University of Maryland. These values lie at the core of our academic community. Censorship is not compatible with the tradition and goals of the university.

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  • University Of Maryland Acknowledges Students Have Free Speech

    April 2, 2015

    By Blake Neff at The Daily Caller Defying calls from activists, the University of Maryland Wednesday concluded that a student’s offensive email, while “hateful and reprehensible,” did not warrant punishment. Last month, the school was rocked when a 2014 email sent by a frat member to his friends before a party began to spread on the Internet. The email, in just a few dozen words, managed to offend blacks, Indians and Asians, while apparently condoning date rape: “Regardless of the rush shirt let’s get rachet as fuck during rush week. My dick will be sucked and fucked in compound basement […]

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  • U. of Maryland Wrestles With How To Punish Fraternity Member Who Sent Racist Sexist Email

    March 16, 2015

    By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed This article contains explicit and potentially offensive terms that are essential to reporting on this situation. The University of Maryland at College Park chapter of the Kappa Sigma fraternity has suspended one of its members for writing an e-mail that used racial slurs and seemed to encourage sexual assault. The e-mail was written more than a year ago, but only in the aftermath of the University of Oklahoma scandalabout racist chants by a fraternity did the e-mail get publicized and draw attention from both the fraternity and the university. On “This Week,” Responding […]

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  • Note To University Presidents: Hate Speech Is Free Speech, And You Can’t Punish It

    March 13, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Another university president seems to be laying the groundwork for punishing a fraternity member for what he said. The University of Maryland is reeling from an “offensive email” sent more than a year ago by a Kappa Sigma member but only forwarded to the administration on Tuesday, no doubt for maximum impact, The Diamondback reports: The fraternity member allegedly wrote the email during last year’s spring rush period, addressing Kappa Sigma members and telling them — through the use of various racial slurs — to avoid inviting black, Indian and Asian women to their rush parties. […]

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  • Shank bill is intended to protect students’ rights of free speech

    February 23, 2010

    Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, on Tuesday went before the House Appropriations Committee to defend a bill he is sponsoring that is intended to protect students’ rights of free speech. The bill is supported by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), the College Republicans and the College Democrats.  It would prohibit private colleges and universities from making or enforcing rules that subject students at the institution to disciplinary sanctions on the basis of conduct that is speech or other communication. Institutions that qualify for Sellinger funding, which is state aid to assist students […]

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  • Maryland Regents Pass on Porn Policy

    November 11, 2009

    The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents declined Wednesday to impose a pornography policy at the 11 schools under its jurisdiction. The regents followed the chancellor’s recommendation to not create a policy regarding films screened “purely for entertainment purposes” on its campuses Wednesday, putting an end to months of debate on students’ First Amendment rights. The University of Maryland, College Park had planned to screen the pornographic film “Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge” at its student union in April until state Sen. Andrew Harris, R-Baltimore County, threatened to cut off the university’s state funding if it aired. University President C. […]

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  • Student-hosted porn screening threatens college funding

    April 8, 2009

    Pirates of the Caribbean, meet Deep Throat. A porn flick making its way across college campuses is drawing stiff resistance from critics who say universities shouldn’t pay for smut. But the film’s supporters say it doesn’t rise to the legal definition of obscenity, and the schools have a First Amendment right to show it.  The film in question — “Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge” — is produced by Digital Playground, which calls itself “the world leader in adult filmmaking and interactive formats boasting the largest HD library available.” The film that has been airing on campuses is unrated, although Digital Playground […]

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  • Porno teaches Maryland a valuable lesson

    April 8, 2009

    There are a whole host of little lessons one learns when working in First Amendment law: What is vulgar to one person might be poetic to another, occasional offense is a small price to pay for a pluralistic democracy, without a free press there can be no meaningful democratic process, etc. But one of the more entertaining lessons one learns is: If you don’t want to help someone spread their message, don’t attempt to censor them. Case in point: Maryland State Senator Andrew P. Harris’ recent attempts to ban University of Maryland students from showing Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge, a […]

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  • Fire on American Campuses

    May 7, 2003

    By Richard L. Cravatts at The Washington Dispatch

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  • ACLU Sues U. Maryland Over So-Called ‘Free-Speech’ Zones

    December 19, 2002

    By Sarah Lesher at University Wire

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  • U. of Maryland’s President Loh Responds to Offensive Email, Remembers First Amendment

    April 2, 2015

    Public college presidents are sometimes faced with pressure to expel or otherwise punish students expressing controversial or offensive opinions, even if the speech is unquestionably protected by the First Amendment. The University of Oklahoma’s (OU’s) President David Boren and the University of Maryland’s (UMD’s) President Wallace Loh both faced this pressure recently. On March 10, Boren, ignoring due process and the First Amendment rights he is bound to uphold, chose to expel two students who were among those filmed singing a racist fraternity chant. Boren’s eagerness to oppose racism is understandable, but his willingness to disregard students’ rights in the […]

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  • FIRE Statement on University of Maryland Kappa Sigma Email Controversy

    March 16, 2015

    A recently uncovered email reportedly written by a University of Maryland student and Kappa Sigma fraternity member containing racial slurs has raised the question of whether the email constitutes protected expression under the First Amendment. Unless there are more factors of which we are not yet aware, the answer is yes. The Supreme Court of the United States long ago established that as government actors, public universities must respect the First Amendment rights of their students. Students do not lose their First Amendment rights as a condition of attending a public university. Regardless of whether the email’s content offends some, […]

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  • FIRE’s Will Creeley to Speak at University of Maryland Tomorrow

    April 15, 2013

    Tomorrow, FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley travels to the University of Maryland (UMD) at College Park to speak about student rights on campus. The speech will begin at 3:30 p.m. in LeFrak Hall, room 2205. The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the UMD Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the UMD chapters of Students For Liberty, the College Democrats, the College Republicans, and Young Americans for Liberty. Creeley will examine the state of the law on freedom of speech on today’s college campuses, discussing the decades of legal […]

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  • University System of Maryland Regents Choose First Amendment, Reject Policy on Pornography

    November 13, 2009

    In a vote earlier this week, the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents declined to impose a policy on pornography on the eleven schools under its jurisdiction. By rejecting calls to create a policy regarding the screening on campus of films “purely for entertainment purposes,” the Board of Regents struck a blow for the First Amendment rights of Maryland’s public university students. The vote hopefully brings a happy conclusion to a tumultuous process which began in April when students at the University of Maryland-College Park planned to screen the pornographic film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge accompanied by a talk from Planned Parenthood representatives. As Torch readers […]

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  • In Letter to ‘Washington Post,’ FIRE’s Creeley Criticizes Mandatory ‘Pornography’ Policy in Maryland Colleges

    October 19, 2009

    Last week The Washington Post published an editorial criticizing the Maryland State Senate’s imposition of a requirement that all schools in the state’s university system craft a comprehensive policy “on the use of public higher education facilities for the displaying or screening of obscene films and materials.” This measure, spearheaded by Senator Andrew P. Harris, comes in direct response to a controversy over the showing of an adult film at the University of Maryland – College Park earlier this year. The Post editorial condemns the requirement and the First Amendment threats it introduces. FIRE could not agree more, and to […]

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  • Rights in the News: At Maryland, Virginia Tech, UMass and Elsewhere, FIRE Cases Grabbing Headlines

    April 10, 2009

    Another week, another crush of FIRE cases from around the country battling for headlines. I’ll start with Greg’s Huffington Post blog on the controversy swirling around the University of Maryland campus in the wake of a legislator’s threat to pull funding from the university if it allowed students to screen an adult film on campus—which, after a hiccup or two, they went ahead and did anyway. Elsewhere, Robert addressed a brewing controversy at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst via a column in The Boston Globe, while Adam took to the editorial pages of Virginia Tech’s student newspaper The Collegiate […]

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  • Greg in ‘Huffington Post’: A ‘Valuable Lesson’ for Maryland

    April 9, 2009

    Adding to the frenzy of local, national, and international press generated by recent events at the University of Maryland, Greg has taken to The Huffington Post with a simple message for Maryland State Senator Andrew P. Harris: “If you don’t want to help someone spread their message, don’t attempt to censor them.” Greg’s message to Harris and the Maryland legislature comes, of course, in response to Harris’ threats to threaten the university’s state funding if it allowed students to screen the adult film Pirates II: Scagnetti’s Revenge. Despite the legislative threats, students at Maryland—after initially canceling their planned viewing—went ahead […]

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  • Greg in ‘Huffington Post’ on ‘Hell Week for Campus Free Speech’

    April 3, 2009

    Defending free speech is often an exhilarating and rewarding experience, fighting the good fight in an uphill battle for constitutional rights against an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars. But sometimes, and this was one of those weeks, that hill looks pretty steep. Greg writes in his latest column on The Huffington Post on the “hell week for campus free speech.” FIRE broke the story of newspaper theft at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where students stole copies of a conservative student paper right in front of a campus police officer (all caught on tape). The University of […]

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  • Maryland Senators and University of Maryland Violate First Amendment over X-Rated Film Showings

    April 3, 2009

    Under intense pressure from the Maryland Senate, the University of Maryland has cancelled a student-run campus event that would have included an educational event by Planned Parenthood and then a screening of the self-described “XXX”-rated film Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge. Maryland Senator Andrew P. Harris introduced this amendment to the budget bill that happened to be before the Senate yesterday: Further provided that no general funds will be provided to any public higher education institution that, on or after April 2, 2009, sponsors, sanctions, promotes, endorses, or allows a public screening of any film that is marketed as a XXX-rated […]

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  • Uni scraps porn after funds strip threat

    April 3, 2009

    An attempt to distract university students in Maryland from late-night drinking with a feature-length porn movie was blocked Thursday after state senators threatened to cut funds for the college. The two-and-a-half-hour Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge – the most expensive pornographic film ever made, at a cost of $13 million – would have been shown at a University of Maryland student union theater on Saturday. Organizers at the College Park campus, 16km north of Washington, had championed educational aspects of the screening, with health group Planned Parenthood planning to hold a presentation on safe sex practices beforehand. The event was also […]

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  • Screening of porn film at University of Maryland canceled

    April 2, 2009

    The University of Maryland, College Park, has canceled this weekend’s screening of a hard-core pornographic film after state lawmakers objected and threatened to cut funding to the flagship state university. UM President C.D. Mote Jr. decided to cancel the screening of Pirates II: Stagnetti’s Revenge, which was to be shown at the student union and had been approved by a student programming committee. A behind-the-scenes negotiation between state Senate officials and the university ensued after a debate broke out this morning on the chamber’s floor over the screening. “That’s really not what Maryland residents send their young students to college […]

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  • Hell week for campus free speech

    April 2, 2009

    The week is not quite over, and it’s already been a lousy one for free speech on America’s campuses. Yesterday, angry students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst were caught on video stealing a conservative student newspaper, while a police officer stood by and not only watched, but excused the students’ behavior. A graduate student protested the attempt to steal hundreds of copies of the newspaper, explaining that the newspaper said right on its front page that only the first copy was free and every following copy was three dollars (a tactic necessitated over the years by hundreds of previous […]

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  • Incident Demonstrates Lack of First Amendment Ethos at the University of Maryland

    August 17, 2007

    An article in The Examiner in Philadelphia notes a recent incident at the University of Maryland at College Park. A female student wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “I Stand for Israel” approached the register of the Maryland Food Collective, a store that rents space in the university student union, to purchase some culinary items. The clerk refused her business stating, “Your shirt offends me, I won’t ring you up.” Eventually another clerk took the student’s business. The student subsequently “apologized to the offended clerk and offered a chocolate cake as proof of the sincerity of her apology for […]

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