University of Richmond

Location: University of Richmond, Virginia
Website: http://www.richmond.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

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Speech Code Rating

University of Richmond 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
  • Bias Incident Protocol

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: December 6, 2017

    Bias Incident: defined as acts that do not appear to constitute a crime or actionable discrimination, but which may intimidate, mock, degrade, or threaten, individuals or groups and which one could reasonably conclude targets a member or group within the University community because of that individual or group’s actual or perceived age, ancestry or ethnicity, color, creed, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, immigration or citizenship status, marital status, national origin, race, religion, religious practice, or sexual orientation.

    Students, faculty, and staff who are the subject of or who witness a Bias Incident may report such incident to the Director of Common Ground. The Common Ground director will assist individuals making reports in identifying appropriate University resources for support and guidance, and will notify the members of the Bias Resource Team of such reports.

    » Read More

  • Information Services Policies: Regarding the Use of Technology and Information Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: December 6, 2017

    Members of the University of Richmond community may not: …  Use computing or network resources to harass, threaten, or otherwise cause harm to others.

    […]

    Certain types of e-mail and uses of e-mail or other forms of electronic communications are prohibited; these include chain letters, obscene messages, harassing messages, and unsolicited political messages.

    » Read More

  • Undergraduate Catalog: Student Policies- Harassment and Discrimination

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 6, 2017

    Harassment is the creation of a hostile or intimidating environment, in which verbal or physical conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere significantly with an individual’s work or education, or affect adversely an individual’s living conditions on campus.

    Illegal and improper harassment based on any of the classifications in paragraph 1, may include:

    • Any suggestion that sexual favors, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, status as a veteran or any protected classification would affect one’s job, promotion, performance evaluations, grades, working or educational conditions;
    • Making unwelcome or offensive comments about a person’s clothing, body or personal life;
    • Offensive jokes or unwelcome innuendoes;
    • Other conduct that creates a work or educational environment that may be considered offensive or hostile, even though some staff or students might not find them objectionable;
    • Use of unwelcome or offensive nicknames or terms of endearment.

    Sexual harassment, in particular, may consist of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or more of the following occur:

    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic success;
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions;
    • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work or educational environment.

    » Read More

  • University of Richmond Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 6, 2017

    Sexual harassment is unwanted or offensive conduct or communication of a sexual nature directed toward another in which: … The conduct or communication was severe and/or persistent and, as a result, created a hostile environment.

    Sexual harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following type of conduct or behavior:

    • Making unwelcome or offensive comments about a person’s clothing, body, or personal life;
    • Use of unwelcome or offensive nicknames or so-called terms of endearment;
    • Offensive jokes or unwelcome innuendoes;
    • Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;
    • Any suggestion that sexual favors, or status as being in any protected classification identified above, would affect one’s job, promotion, performance evaluations, grades, working, or educational conditions;
    • Insults, epithets, jokes, slurs, or offensive comments that relate to sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; or
    • The placement, dissemination, or circulation of any written, graphic, virtual, or electronic material of a sexual nature.

    […]

    In the context of sexual misconduct, unwanted conduct or communications of a sexual nature may create a hostile environment when the conduct is: (i) serious and/or persistent and, as a result, limits or denies a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs, such as courses, extra- or co-curricular activities, or study abroad,; or (ii) severe and pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would find hostile or abusive. The more severe the conduct at issue, the less likely it is that such conduct needs to be repetitive to create a hostile environment. Any reported incident of sexual misconduct will be investigated by the University and may result in a disciplinary charge regardless of whether a hostile environment has been created.

    » Read More

  • Policy on Preventing and Responding to Discrimination Against Students

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 18, 2018

    Harassment is unwelcome conduct directed against an individual based on that individual’s Protected Status, as defined in this policy, that: (a) is sufficiently serious or pervasive such that it limits or denies an individual’s employment, academic performance, or ability to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities …

    » Read More

  • Demonstrations and Peaceful Assembly

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: December 6, 2017

    Demonstrations or peaceful assemblies must be registered with the Events Office at least 48 hours in advance.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Standards of Student Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 6, 2017

    The following conduct is prohibited by the University. … Conduct that threatens, intimidates, or endangers the health or safety of any person.

    » Read More

  • Policy on Preventing and Responding to Discrimination Against Students

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 18, 2018

    Members of the University community are expected to promote academic freedom, including the freedom to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom; to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression; and to speak or write as a public citizen without institutional restraint or discipline. Members of the University community are also expected to foster intellectual honesty and freedom of inquiry and to respect those with differing views.

    » Read More


  • Today’s Top Opinion: The Wrong Lesson

    January 11, 2015

    By Richmond Times-Dispatch at Richmond Times-Dispatch In many ways the University of Richmond is everything a college ought to be, right down to the Gothic buildings nestled in a sylvan retreat. But in one regard it exemplifies the worst of contemporary academia. U of R has just been singled out for the dubious “Speech Codes of the Year” distinction from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). “While all of the Speech Codes of the Month flagrantly violated students’ or faculty members’ right to free expression, two of them were so egregious that they deserve special mention,” the group […]

    » Read More
  • Examiner Local Editorial: Muzzling free speech on campus

    January 2, 2013

    One New Year’s resolution we’d like to see in 2013 is a renewed effort to uphold the First Amendment on college campuses. According to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, 62 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities “maintain severely restrictive speech codes … that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech.” FIRE noted that the overwhelming majority of speech is protected. But narrow exceptions (such as “fighting words,” obscenity and defamation) “are often misused and abused by universities to punish constitutionally protected speech.” Restrictions intended to protect students from harassment or bullying have been […]

    » Read More
  • So to Speak podcast: ‘Natural Rights and the First Amendment’ with Jud Campbell

    December 28, 2017

    Did the founders intend for the First Amendment to protect as much speech as it does today? University of Richmond Assistant Professor of Law Jud Campbell argues probably not. He is the author of an article recently published in The Yale Law Journal that Cass Sunstein says “might well be the most illuminating work on the original understanding of free speech in a generation.” In “Natural Rights and the First Amendment,” Professor Campbell argues that the founders’ understanding of the freedoms of speech and of the press rested on “a multifaceted understanding of natural rights that no longer survives in […]

    » Read More
  • Speech Codes of the Year: 2014

    December 24, 2014

    Each month, FIRE singles out a particularly reprehensible campus speech code for our Speech Code of the Month designation. While all of 2014’s Speech Codes of the Month flagrantly violated students’ or faculty members’ right to free expression, two of them were so egregious that they deserve special mention as 2014’s Speech Codes of the Year. University of Richmond The University of Richmond’s Standards of Student Conduct (PDF) prohibit “disruption,” which includes, among other things, “inappropriate behavior or expression.” This extraordinarily broad and vague prohibition gives the university administration total discretion to punish virtually any speech that another person subjectively […]

    » Read More
  • University of Richmond Student Understands Free Expression Better Than Her College

    February 6, 2014

    Yesterday, the University of Richmond earned the unfortunate distinction of playing host to FIRE’s February Speech Code of the Month with its Standards of Student Conduct policy, which bans “inappropriate behavior or expression.” A private institution, the University of Richmond promises to promote academic freedom and expression—but its speech code shows the university does not live up to its commitment. Thankfully, unlike her school’s administration, Richmond student Gigi DeJoy does understand the value of free expression. In an op-ed published today in her campus paper, The Collegian, DeJoy says that it is student expression that makes a school unique, not the beauty of […]

    » Read More
  • Speech Code of the Month: University of Richmond

    February 5, 2014

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2014: the University of Richmond. The University of Richmond’s Standards of Student Conduct prohibit any “inappropriate behavior or expression,” giving the administration complete discretion to punish virtually any expression it finds inconvenient or unwelcome.

    » Read More