Sexual harassment policy gets red light from FIRE

By William R. Toler

Did you hear the one about the college administration that couldn’t take aFoundation for Individual Rights in Education dirty joke?

I’m pretty sure I stole that from Corey Friedman, former editor of the Campus Communicator and the Independent Register, but it is the reason for a recent rebranding of Craven Community College by a students’ rights watchdog.

The Foundation for Indidvidual Rights in Education has designated CCC as a red light college in its Spotlight, which looks at policies of colleges and universities across the country and determines how dedicated the institutions are to the rights of students, especially when it comes to free speech.

CCC’s move from yellow to red is because of its broad sexual harassment policies, which lists examples of sexual harassment including:

  • sexual or “dirty” jokes
  • displaying or distributing of sexually explicit objects, pictures, and written materials
  • sexual flirtations or comments

If distribution of sexually explicit objects constitutes harassment, then the college itself could be violating its own policy for having a table covered with condoms, including one inflated, for an STD awareness campaign.

Sandy Wall, CCC’s public information officer, said the college “was not aware” of the designation and had “no comment.”

But CCC isn’t the only college with restrictive criteria for sexual harassment. As far back as 2006, Greg Lukianoff, current FIRE president wrote, “The misuse of sexual harassment rationales has been a constant theme in FIRE’s work, with students and faculty alike demonstrtating a tendency to cry ‘harassment’ any time they are exposed to speech they dislike.”

Lukianoff went on to write, “There badly needs to be reform within the law of sexual harassment and within local and institutional policies or free speech will suffer.”

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One response to “Sexual harassment policy gets red light from FIRE

  1. Pingback: IndieRegister sponsors student media «

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