This BSU Student Handbook is a guide to student's rights, responsibilities and resources.
State and federal laws dealing with racial harassment apply on the BSU campus.
Massachusetts Laws: Within the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, Chapter 801 of the General Laws of 1979, two sections specifically encompass acts of racial harassment: General Laws, Chapter 265, S37 and, in addition, General Laws, Chapter 265, S39 (Amendment to Chapter 265 of the General Laws, June 1983) that provides:
Whoever commits an assault or battery upon a person or damages the real or personal property of another for the purpose of intimidation because of said person's race, color, religion or national origin, shall be punished by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars or not more than three times the value of the property destroyed or damaged, whichever is greater, or by imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or both.
Federal Laws: Certain manifestations of racial harassment are covered by federal laws as well. Under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers have a responsibility to maintain a working environment free of discriminatory insult, intimidation and other forms of harassment. While employers cannot be held accountable for the prejudices of their workers or clientele, they have a duty to take reasonable measures to control or eliminate the overt expression of those prejudices in the employment setting. This duty is viewed as extending not only to workers who are the objects of unlawful harassment, but also to those workers who are offended by the harassment of others. Unlawful harassment in the workplace in not limited to verbal abuse, however. It may also take the form of discrimination in the training, assignment, promotion, supervision or discipline of minority workers.
The U.S. Supreme Court has concluded that racial, ethnic or religious slurs, hurled as epithets at an individual, fall under the "fighting words" exception and thus are not protected by the first amendment. Other offensive language that may not contain racial, ethnic or religious slurs, but might be lewd, profane, libelous or otherwise insulting, when aimed directly at individuals in situations that are likely to lead to violence, are similarly excluded from the protection of the constitution.
Last Modified: March 5, 2012