The Corner

FIRE Report Finds Very Restrictive Speech Codes at American Universities

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual report on college-campus speech codes last week finding that while the percentage of colleges that seriously infringe upon students’ free-speech rights has diminished in recent years, many universities still burden students with overbearing and sometimes ridiculous speech regulations.

Here’s a look at some of the most egregious speech codes that FIRE found:

‐The University of Connecticut requires that “every member of the University shall refrain from actions that intimidate, humiliate, or demean persons or groups, or that undermine their security or self-esteem.”

At Athens State University in Alabama, harassment is considered to be “any conduct consisting of words or actions that are unwelcome or offensive to a person in relations to race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, genetic information, or veteran status.”

Florida State University bans any “unwanted, unwelcome, inappropriate, or irrelevant sexual or gender-based behaviors, actions or comments.”

The cyber-bullying policy at Alcorn State University in Mississippi prohibits the use of any electronic device to “embarrass” a student, faculty, or staff member.

At the University of Central Missouri, students cannot use social media or technology to “intentionally create stress” or impede the “social experiences” of a fellow student.

And students at Kenyon College in Ohio can be disciplined for any conduct that “offends the sensibilities of others.”

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