Vassar College

Location: Poughkeepsie, New York
Type: Private

Speech Code Rating

Vassar 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
  • College Regulations: Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment- Definitions

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 17, 2021

    Discriminatory Harassment is unwelcome conduct directed toward an individual based on an individual’s actual or perceived race, color, religion or religious belief, citizenship status, sex, marital status, disability, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, military status or a... Read More
  • College Regulations: Statement on Academic Responsibility and Respect for Persons

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: February 16, 2021

    As a private institution, Vassar is a voluntary association of persons who share a responsibility to respect the rights, dignity, and integrity of all community members and guests. In addition to adhering to federal and state laws, all community members and guests are expected to abide by Vassar’s governing principl... Read More
  • College Regulations: Specific College Regulations- Section 18: Publicity

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: February 16, 2021

    Anyone found to have engaged in the following behavior is subject to the disciplinary sanctions outlined in Part K. … Failing to include contact information of the individual or student organization responsible for the posting to all fliers and posters. Read More
  • College Regulations: Public Order

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: February 17, 2021

    Any group wishing to use a public or academic facility for a meeting, lecture, concert, or other occasion, other than for usual and routine purposes, should give advance notice to, and obtain approval from, the director of campus activities. Read More
  • College Regulations: Cyberethics, Internet Safety, and Community Standards

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: February 16, 2021

    Vassar’s computer regulations set clear guidelines in accordance with college regulations to govern conduct on computers (see above). Cyberethics and Internet safety are issues that all community members must be aware of to ensure a healthy, safe, and respectful campus environment. Cyberethics codes of responsible a... Read More
  • College Regulations: Bias Incident and Hate Crime Protocol

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: February 16, 2021

    Vassar College strives to provide educational, working, and living environments free from discrimination, harassment, intolerance, and hate. Such behavior will not be tolerated. The purpose of bias incident and hate crime protocol is to provide information about responding to bias incidents or hate crimes that occur... Read More
  • College Regulations: Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment- Grievance Policy for Addressing Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment Under the Title IX Regulations

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 16, 2021

    For the purposes of this Title IX Grievance Policy, “covered sexual harassment” includes any conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following: … Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a pers... Read More
  • College Regulations: Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment- Relationship to Academic Freedom and Responsibility

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 16, 2021

    As articulated in the Vassar College Statement on Academic Freedom, Vassar is dedicated to freedom of inquiry in the pursuit of truth and is vigilant in defending the right of individuals to free speech. This may include the introduction and discussion of controversial and challenging matters both within and beyond ... Read More
  • College Regulations: Statement on Academic Responsibility and Respect for Persons

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 16, 2021

    Vassar College values freedom of expression and supports deep engagement in and equitable access to teaching, learning, scholarly research, and artistic endeavor. The College is committed to the pursuit of knowledge, freedom of inquiry, and informed, robust, and inclusive debate. Vassar’s faculty and students may en... Read More
At present, FIRE has not been publicly involved in any cases at this school.
  • In Due Process Lawsuit, Court Rules in Favor of Vassar College

    April 1, 2015

    Yesterday, in a closely watched lawsuit brought by a student expelled from Vassar College for sexual assault, a federal district court issued a ruling sharply in favor of the private liberal arts college. Granting Vassar College’s motion for summary judgment in Yu v. Vassar College, federal judge Ronnie Abrams of the United States District Court… Read more

  • Boring Campuses: Not Just the Fault of Helicopter Parents

    April 16, 2014

    In a new article, Slate’s Rebecca Schuman laments the phenomenon of colleges and universities becoming toned-down, less playful, even boring. Schuman argues that this is in part due to parents over-planning their kids’ lives, leaving them incapable of finding creative ways to have fun when they’re older and on their own: A recent trip back… Read more

  • Found Guilty of ‘Improper Sexual Behavior,’ Expelled Vassar Student Files Suit

    July 30, 2013

    Former Vassar College student Xiaolu Yu has filed a lawsuit against the college, claiming that sexual discrimination and a lack of due process led to the school finding him guilty of “improper sexual behavior” a year after he had consensual sex with another student. The allegations might sound familiar to Torchreaders; former St. Joseph’s University… Read more

  • Controversy over New Independent Newspaper at Vassar Spikes Student Interest in Free Speech

    December 10, 2010

    At Vassar College recently, there was some controversy surrounding the Vassar Student Association Council’s (VSA’s) approval of the publication of The Vassar Chronicle, a new political journal created by the Moderate, Independent and Conservative Alliance (MICA). Vassar’s student-run publication, The Miscellany News, has been covering both sides of the discussion surrounding the Chronicle‘s trial run.  In… Read more

  • More Commentary on ‘New York Times’ Piece

    June 29, 2007

    On Wednesday, Greg expressed his disappointment with Joseph Berger’s column in The New York Times, which discussed Evan Maloney’s film “Indoctrinate U” and painted a picture of the status of free speech on campus using a much sunnier color palette than we would have chosen. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones bothered by Berger’s conclusions…. Read more

  • Politics vs. Porn

    September 30, 2005

    Earlier this week, my FIRE colleague Robert Shibley called Torch readers’ attention to a free speech controversy at Vassar College. Students there were outraged by the latest issue of The Imperialist, the publication of Vassar’s Moderate, Independent, and Conservative Alliance (MICA), because it criticized self-segregation on the part of minority students. There were many calls… Read more

  • More Bad News for Student Press Freedom

    September 27, 2005

    Evidence has begun to roll in showing that the freedom of the student press is under assault as never before. It’s certainly bad enough that our own federal court system is attacking the free campus press through the Seventh Circuit’s en banc decision in Hosty v. Carter (now being appealed to the Supreme Court)—but hold… Read more