The free-speech-on-campus group FIRE has released its new report on free speech at Columbia, giving the university a “red light” rating. FIRE took issue with the broad wording of the policy, which “defines ‘sexual harassment’ as ‘any unwanted sexual attention.’ Sexual harassment can also include a “hostile environment,” which includes “love letters,” “sexist jokes” and “sexual innuendos.” Sexual innuendos? Somebody tell the Varsity Show!
It’s not the first time FIRE and Columbia administration have clashed over sexual harassment policy: eight years ago, a rewritten policy came under attack from FIRE and numerous other groups, who claimed that it did not provide for any due process for the accused. The fight eventually led to the resignation of Charlene Allan, the administrator in charge of the Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Education, an office that has since been replaced by the Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Program
Although FIRE said that the Health Services policy “is solely responsible for the university’s red-light rating,” they also expressed concern over the university’s spam guidelines, calling them “dangerously broad.” Columbia joins Brown, Cornell, Harvard, and Princeton in the “red light” catergory, while Yale has stayed in the “yellow light” category and Penn and Dartmouth remain in the “green light” category.