Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Union College of New York Criticized for Broad Definition of Harassment

Union College of New York Criticized for Broad Definition of Harassment

“defines harassment in its student handbook so broadly that students could be punished for speech that an administrator thinks was intended to humiliate or mentally harm someone”

The policy at Union is so bad that it earned FIRE’s speech code of the month.

From the FIRE blog:

April 2021 Speech Code of the Month: Union College

Speech that is a part of unlawful conduct like harassment isn’t protected by the First Amendment, but that doesn’t give college administrators a license to ban anything they decide to call harassment.

Union College, which is a private institution in Schenectady, New York that promises its students free speech rights, defines harassment in its student handbook so broadly that students could be punished for speech that an administrator thinks was intended to humiliate or mentally harm someone, but that didn’t actually have that effect. That’s why Union earns our Speech Code of the Month designation for April 2021.

Union defines harassment as “aggressive and hostile” acts “which are intended to humiliate, mentally, or physically injure or intimidate, and/or control” others (emphasis ours). That’s not even close to the legal definition of harassment.

The U.S. Supreme Court set forth the controlling standard for student-on-student (or peer) harassment in the educational setting in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, providing that alleged harassment must be conduct that is “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” that the student is “effectively denied equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities” in order to be punishable. That “objectively offensive” part means the conduct needs to be found offensive from the perspective of a reasonable person in the victim’s shoes — not just from the perspective of a particular student or administrator.

See the video below:

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments


 
 0 
 
 0
MajorWood | April 8, 2021 at 1:20 pm

Sounds like they are protecting themselves from being called retards.


 
 0 
 
 0
OldProf2 | April 8, 2021 at 1:41 pm

This definition of harassment would criminalize “Pointing out Administrative Stupidity.” Here is a Simpsons analogy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRFkmwtOeqk


 
 0 
 
 0
artichoke | April 8, 2021 at 2:13 pm

Union College seems to be doing their best to stop further alumni donations, which have heretofore been generous. Oh well, all things must come to an end.


 
 0 
 
 0
henrybowman | April 8, 2021 at 5:06 pm

“Union defines harassment as “aggressive and hostile” acts “which are intended to humiliate, mentally, or physically injure or intimidate, and/or control” others (emphasis ours). That’s not even close to the legal definition of harassment.”

Which begs the question of why do colleges think they need to enact policies that duplicate the entire existing civil and criminal legal system? Why do they think they need to set up a separate system of kangaroo courts? To provide an extra level of jeopardy, because it’s so badly needed?

Was there harassment, or date rape, or theft, or drug use, or assault? Call a damn cop. It’s their job, and they know how to do it — even when they don’t, they’ll still do it a lot better than you will, and your ass won’t be on the line for screwing it up.


 
 0 
 
 0
lawgrad | April 8, 2021 at 9:21 pm

The Davis case was central to the Trump Administration’s final rule re-writing the Title IX procedures. The earlier Obama Administration guidance had made a subtle change: ““so severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive” changing the Supreme Court’s “and” to “or”, resulting in a much easier to meet test. I urge everyone to check for the “and” whenever they read a Student Code of Conduct.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.
Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend