University of Southern Maine

Location: Portland, Maine
Website: http://www.usm.maine.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Tell University of Southern Maine to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of Southern Maine 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
  • University of Maine System Conduct Code

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: … such conduct interferes with an individual’s academic or work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.

    » Read More

  • USM Bias Incident Report Form

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    The University of Southern Maine supports and promotes diversity and does not condone any bias or harassment. USM encourages all faculty, staff and students to report incidents of bias or harassment.

    This form should be used by USM students, faculty and staff to report incidents of bias based on, but not limited to, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, genetic information, and veterans status.

    USM respects the sensitivity of the information that may be included in this form. This report can be filled our anonymously. Filing this incident report only notifies a limited number of University officials: Coordinator for Multicultural Student Affairs, Anila Karunakar, and Coordinator of Student Conduct, Andrew McLean.

    » Read More

  • University of Maine System Student Conduct Code

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    Harassment or Intimidation: Unwelcome behavior that creates a hostile or intimidating working, educational, or living environment or behavior that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic or job performance and opportunities.

    » Read More

  • Sexual Harassment Policy Brochure

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: … such conduct interferes with an individual’s academic or work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, educational or living environment.

    » Read More

  • Residence Hall Policies: Abuse

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    Verbal or physical abuse, or the threat of physical abuse against any person in the residence halls or at any authorized event, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any such person(s), is not allowed.

    » Read More

  • Acceptable Use of Information Resources Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    [U]nacceptable uses and behaviors include, but are not limited to:

    – harassing other computer users or University staff;
    – intentionally and unnecessarily exposing others to material they may find personally unsuitable.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • University of Maine System Policy on Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Relationship Violence, Stalking and Retaliation

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual assault and sexual violence.  Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, can involve persons of the same or opposite sex. Consistent with the law, this policy prohibits two types of sexual harassment: …

    2.  Hostile Environment:  Sexual harassment that creates a hostile environment is based on sex and exists when the harassment:

    i.            Is severe, pervasive, or persistent, and objectively offensive such that it denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or

    ii.            Unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic or work performance.

    » Read More

  • Use of University Facilities & Grounds Policy

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    Members of the University Community may conduct meetings, assemblies, and spontaneous demonstrations in all unrestricted areas of campus, provided that such meetings, assemblies, and demonstrations:

    (a) Are conducted in a lawful and orderly manner and in compliance with this policy and all other rules and regulations of the University;

    (b) Do not impede vehicular or pedestrian traffic;

    (c) Do not impede ingress or egress to any facility;

    (d) Do not impede access to any emergency exits;

    (e) Do not substantially interfere with classes, other scheduled meetings, events, educational process, or the necessary administrative processes of the University, or;

    (f) Do not create a health or safety hazard.

    » Read More

  • Use of University Facilities & Grounds Policy

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: May 4, 2018

    USM’s mission of education, research, and public service is dependent upon the free flow of ideas. Given this, protecting free speech activities is of fundamental importance to the University. We understand that the exchange of diverse viewpoints may, at times, expose people to ideas they find offensive and create discomfort. The appropriate response to such speech is more speech; speech expressing opposing ideas; and continued dialogue.

    » Read More


  • REPORT: Artists clash with campus censors

    July 10, 2018

    Art purged for being “one-sided,” among other excuses Censors, often not understanding the message, ban art rather than grapple with its meaning PHILADELPHIA, July 10, 2018 — Art censorship is nothing new. Spanish conquistadors smashed ceramics of ancient Peruvian cultures that portrayed gay and lesbian sex. The Roman Catholic Church of the 15th century was so intent on covering up penises that for decades even Michelangelo’s David wore a garland of leaves around his waist. But a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education shows that art censorship remains alive and well, even on today’s college campuses, […]

    » Read More
  • By censoring art, University of Southern Maine misses an opportunity

    May 11, 2018

    Last month, the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn campus removed three oil paintings from their Atrium Art Gallery by local painter Bruce Habowski, despite objections from the exhibition’s curator, after it was discovered that Habowski is a convicted sex offender. Habowski, of Waterville, Maine, was convicted of unlawful sexual contact in 1999. He was sentenced to 4 years in jail, but served a suspended sentence of 6 months. Habowski’s art was part of an exhibition featuring pieces that highlighted Maine’s industrial landscape. The exhibition’s curator, Janice Moore, says the paintings were removed after a family member of Habowski’s victim called […]

    » Read More
  • Proposed University of Maine System policy unduly restricts faculty political activity

    January 17, 2018

    The University of Maine System Board of Trustees will consider a policy revision at a meeting later this month that would restrict how university employees engage in political activity. The policy, called “Institutional Authority on Political Matters,” unnecessarily restricts faculty political expression and needs some revisions before being adopted. For example, the policy would prevent faculty from using “UMS or university . . . computers, copiers, email, UMS- or university-issued cell phones and other communications equipment . . .” when engaging in political activity. While it may be legitimate to prohibit employees from using university resources like copy paper and […]

    » Read More