FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2011: California State University - Chico.
We frequently talk about the impact of speech codes on student speech. But speech codes can affect faculty members, too, and the ability of faculty to teach controversial or sensitive material without fear of punishment is critical to the functioning of a university. That is why CSU Chico's definition of sexual harassment [.pdf] is so profoundly troubling:
Teachers who make disparaging remarks about or implicitly devalue students for their gender or sexual orientation can undermine students' academic, professional, and personal growth just as much as those who make discriminations based on race, religion, age, or other physical or cultural characteristics.
Examples of this type of sexual harassment include
1. Explicit use of derogatory terms or stereotypic generalizations.
2. Use of "humorous" images or statements that demean or trivialize people because of gender or sexual orientation.
3. Reinforcement of sexist stereotypes through subtle, often unintentional means, such as using classroom examples in which professional people like psychologists, managers, or politicians are always referred to as men. Similarly, gays and lesbians may habitually be associated only with certain professions.
4. Continual use of ...