University of Pennsylvania
Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.
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On this page, FIRE has excerpted policies that address speech and expression. You may download the full policy in .pdf form, below.
Restrictions on Expressive Rights
Harassment Policies (Learn More)
Guide to the University of Pennsylvania Sexual Harassment Policy 12-13
Sexual harassment can be exhibited using three types of behaviors - verbal, non-verbal behaviors and gestures, and physical contact . Some types of verbal behavior that might constitute sexual harassment, especially when occurring in combination with offensive touching are:
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* Continuous and persistent sexual slurs or sexual innuendoes
* Offensive and persistent risque jokes or kidding about sex or gender-specific traits
* Repeated unsolicited propositions for dates and/or sexual relations
Gestures or non-verbal behaviors might also be considered sexual harassment where they are persistent, severe, and offensive. Examples may include:
* Sexual looks and lewd gestures, such as leering or ogling with suggestive overtones
* Touching oneself sexually or persistent and unwelcome flirting
* Displaying sexually suggestive pictures, calendars, or posters
Sexual Harassment Policy 12-13
For the purposes of University policy, the term "sexual harassment" refers to any unwanted sexual attention that:
2. Has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's academic or work performance; and/or;
3. Creates an intimidating or offensive academic, living or work environment.
Not every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group necessarily will be considered as harassment and/or a violation of the University's standard of conduct. In determining whether an act constitutes harassment, the totality of the circumstances that pertain to any given incident in its context must be carefully reviewed and due consideration must be given to the protection of individual rights, freedom of speech, academic freedom and advocacy.
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Internet Usage Policies
The Pennbook: Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources 12-13
Unlawful communications, including threats of violence, obscenity, child pornography, and harassing communications (as defined by law), are prohibited.
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Other Speech Codes
The Pennbook: Use of Facilities 12-13
Groups sponsoring activities judged to be unrelated to the University but permissible under the policy governing the use of University facilities will be charged appropriate fees. It is the responsibility of the Director of Student Life to determine whether the activities for which University space is requested are University related. Factors to be considered in making this decision include (1) the relationship to the University of the sponsor and others who are expected to participate, (2) the purpose for which space is requested, (3) whether the activity will promote the objectives of the institution, (4) whether the person(s) organizing and conducting the specific activity is (are) affiliated with the University, and (5) whether the proposed activity will be conducted primarily for the benefit of a group not under the auspices of the University.
Depending on the location of an outdoor event, on scheduled classes in nearby buildings, and on the proximity of offices in use, non-conflicting activities should be scheduled by prior arrangements with the Perelman Quad and VPUL Facilities staff.
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Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
The Pennbook: Code of Student Conduct 12-13
Membership in the University of Pennsylvania community affords every student certain rights that are essential to the University's educational mission and its character as a community: ... The right to freedom of thought and expression.
The University condemns hate speech, epithets, and racial, ethnic, sexual and religious slurs. However, the content of student speech or expression is not by itself a basis for disciplinary action.
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The Pennbook: Guidelines on Open Expression 12-13
The University of Pennsylvania, as a community of scholars, affirms, supports and cherishes the concepts of freedom of thought, inquiry, speech, and lawful assembly. The freedom to experiment, to present and examine alternative data and theories; the freedom to hear, express, and debate various views; and the freedom to voice criticism of existing practices and values are fundamental rights that must be upheld and practiced by the University in a free society.
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The speech codes and policies above were last fully checked via internet and other research means by FIRE in March 2013. According to FIRE’s research the substantive policies are current at least until this date. Directory information, including the name of the president of the college or university, may have been updated more recently. If any policy has been revised, or if you believe that we are in error, please contact us.