Boise State University

Location: Boise, Idaho
Website: www.boisestate.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Boise State University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

Red Light Policies

  • Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment consists of unwelcome behavior that is based upon a person’s protected class. Harassment includes conduct that demeans or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his or her protected class and is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for academic pursuits, employment, or participation in University sponsored activities. Harassing conduct may be verbal, written, visual or physical in nature. It includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Verbal abuse or hostile behavior such as insulting, name calling, teasing, mocking, degrading or ridiculing another person or group;
    2. Conduct that is physically offensive, harmful, threatening or humiliating such as impending or blocking movement, leering or staring;
    3. Unwelcome or inappropriate physical contact such as kissing, hugging, pinching, patting, grabbing;
    4. Physical assault or stalking;
    5. Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual advances, flirtations, propositions, requests for sexual favors, comments, questions, epithets or demands;

    » Read More

  • Title IX: Sexual Harassment and Assault 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can happen regardless of the sex or gender of the parties involved.

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  • Information Technology Resource Use 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Boise State University IT resources shall not be used for:

    c)     visiting, viewing or distributing Internet sites or materials that contain obscene, pornographic, profane or sexually explicit information, pictures, or cartoons; and publishing, displaying, transmitting, retrieving or storing inappropriate or offensive material. Such is expressly prohibited unless identified and pre-approved in writing by the VP Academic Affairs and Provost as part of legitimate research, teaching, or academic pursuits. Contact the Office of the VP Academic Affairs and Provost to request written pre-approval.

    e)     creating or distributing defamatory, false, inaccurate, abusive, threatening, racially offensive or otherwise biased, discriminatory or illegal material.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Code of Conduct: Proscribed Conduct- Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    A violation may include conduct towards another person or group of persons including, but not limited to:

    1. unwelcome comments or other behavior that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work, academic performance, or living conditions, or participation in a University activity;
    2. unwelcome comments or other behavior that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for that individual’s work, education, living conditions, or participation in a University activity;
    3. retaliation against any person filing a conduct complaint or against any person participating in the conduct process;
    4. implied or stated threats of violence;

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  • Student Code of Conduct: Proscribed Conduct- Lewd or Indecent Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    A violation may include, but is not limited to, actions that are offensive to accepted standards of decency such as indecent, vulgar, obscene, profane, or offensive actions.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Boise State University Statement of Shared Values 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Membership in the campus community is a privilege and requires its members to conduct themselves ethically with integrity and civility.

    In a culture of intellectual inquiry and debate, where the search for knowledge and discovery flourish, campus community members are expected to demonstrate civility, abide by norms of decorum, and adhere to the principles of civil discourse.

    » Read More

  • Student Organization Handbook: Soliciting, Fundraising and Publicity 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    Soliciting, fundraising and general publicity may take place only at designated, reserved locations. These reservations can be made through University Conference Services. Distribution, solicitation or fundraising will not be allowed away from the assigned location. Fundraising and/or solicitation for donations by recognized student organizations require approval from the Student Involvement & Leadership Center. Complete a Fundraiser Request, available online via OrgSync, to get approval for your solicitation.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Student Code of Conduct: Student Rights and Responsibilities 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    As members of the University, students enjoy the same freedoms of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that all citizens enjoy.

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  • Student Code of Conduct: Freedom of Speech and Assembly 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    In order to provide consistency in the application of University policies to on-campus protests, the following guidelines for responding to demonstrations on University property will be followed:

    1. All students, undergraduate and graduate, have a right to demonstrate on University premises provided that the time, place, or type of behavior does not materially disrupt classes or other University business and does not involve substantial disorder or the invasion of the rights of others.
    2. Any demonstration within a campus building will take place only during the normal operating hours of the building.
    3. Students are prohibited from blocking free entry to or free exit from buildings, interfering with free movement, or presenting obstacles to regular University activities. Obstacles are defined as any physical denial or restriction of a person’s ability to freely reach or leave a given area, or harassment as defined in the Student Code of Conduct. “Obstacles” are defined as any devices, bodies, or signs that cause interference with free movement, or any sounds that prevent normal communication.
    4. A demonstration in a building or area is limited to such a number of persons that the area can reasonably accommodate on grounds of public safety, as determined by a University official.
    5. The use of amplification devices is prohibited on the University campus unless authorized by the appropriate university official.

    » Read More


  • Trending: Conservatives, Christians Take Campus Battles to Court – And Win

    August 11, 2014

    By Jennifer Kabbany at The College Fix They’ve been ordered not to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution. They’ve been denied promotions because of their faith. They’ve been forced to help pay for abortion-inducing birth control. They’ve been judged solely by the color of their skin. And they’re fighting back. And they’re winning. Conservative and Christian students and professors who have been denied free speech or faced discrimination and religious persecution because of their beliefs have recently enjoyed a string of courthouse victories in what’s amounting to something of a banner year for such causes. There’s been at least six […]

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  • Boise State Gives Back ‘Security Fee’ to Group That Hosted Gun-Rights Speaker

    July 21, 2014

    By College Fix Staff at The College Fix Boise State University will give back the $465 “security fee” it charged its Young Americans for Liberty chapter to host an event with 2nd Amendment speaker Dick Heller, the Associated Press reported. The school faced heavy criticism across the ideological spectrum for the move, with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education calling the fee – which was sprung on the group less than a day before the event - a “heckler’s veto” over unpopular speech. Boise State isn’t changing its event policies, though, as requested by Idaho Freedom Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, university attorney […]

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  • Forced to Pay Security Fee for Gun-Rights Event, Students Demand Refund

    July 14, 2014

    By Christopher White at The College Fix Boise State University took unconstitutional actions by charging security fees to a student group that hosted a Second Amendment event featuring the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision, the students allege – adding they want their money back. The students are supported by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which jumped into the fray last week, following the lead of several Idaho groups. FIRE told the university in a letter that it violated the First Amendment rights of BSU’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter. Federal courthouse security guard Dick Heller prevailed in his challenge […]

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  • Boise State U. Charged Libertarian Students Gigantic ‘Security Fee’ to Host Pro-Gun Speaker

    July 7, 2014

    By Robby Soave at Reason Online Boise State University trampled a libertarian student club’s free speech rights by forcing the group to pay a large fee before administrators would permit a gun rights activist to speak on campus, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The Young Americans for Liberty invited Dick Heller, one of the plaintiffs in the landmark Supreme Court Case District of Columbia v. Heller, to discuss his pro-Second Amendment views at an even in May. A mere 24 hours before the event, Boise State told YAL that the group would have to pay a $465 “security […]

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  • BSU Faces Lawsuit over Limits on Campus Protests

    June 30, 2014

    By Kimberlee Kruesi at SFGate BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Boise State University‘s use of “speech zones” to contain student protests violates First Amendment rights, an anti-abortion group claims in a recent lawsuit. Student-group Abolitionists4Life filed the lawsuit against the university last Friday after the university put restrictions on two of their protests earlier this year. Currently, the university has 11 speech zones designated as protest areas on its campus which make up less than 1 percent of the 175-acre campus. Students must reserve the space in 72-hours in advance on a first come, first served basis, put up advisory signs if the university determines […]

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  • Boise State Works Toward Revising Some Restrictive Policies

    September 15, 2014

    Sometimes, the enforcement of an unconstitutional speech policy can be an eye-opening experience for college administrators, leading to a greater understanding of the need for precise language that appropriately protects speech rights on campus. This appears to be the case at Boise State University (BSU), which late last week formally agreed to work toward revising some of its policies in order to ensure that they comply with the First Amendment and the ideals of higher education. The impetus for this announcement comes from a dispute that began in May 2014, when the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter at BSU […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Boise State University

    September 10, 2014

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for September 2014: Boise State University.
    Boise State’s Information Technology Resource Use policy (PDF) prohibits the use of university IT resources for “displaying, transmitting, retrieving, or storing inappropriate or offensive material,” unless “identified and pre-approved in writing by the [Vice President for] Academic Affairs and Provost as part of legitimate research, teaching, or academic pursuits.”

    » Read More
  • After Refunding Unconstitutional Security Fees, Boise State Defends Policies—Poorly

    July 21, 2014

    FIRE, the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho (ACLU-ID), and the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) all wrote to Boise State University (BSU) recently to voice concerns about the institution’s decision to charge the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) an unconstitutional security fee for hosting a presentation by gun rights activist and successful Supreme Court litigant Dick Heller. Last week, BSU rescinded its invoice to YAL for $465, but Vice President and General Counsel Kevin D. Satterlee maintains that having security staff at the event “was the only rational response” to one non-student’s Facebook post indicating that he intended to bring his weapon to the event.

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  • Concern Mounts Over Boise State’s Speech Policies

    July 15, 2014

    Earlier this month, FIRE intervened at Boise State University (BSU), where administrators saddled the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) with an unconstitutional security fee for hosting an event featuring gun rights activist and former Supreme Court litigant Dick Heller. BSU attempted to justify the fee by pointing to alleged concerns about a non-student encouraging attendees to openly carry firearms at the event—despite the fact that YAL had publicly cautioned that such behavior was prohibited. We warned BSU that its policies allowing the imposition of security fees on speech based on the potential reaction of listeners violate the Supreme Court’s longstanding First Amendment jurisprudence.

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  • Gun Rights Activist’s Speech Draws Unconstitutional Security Fees at Boise State

    July 7, 2014

    BOISE, Idaho, July 7, 2014—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has intervened at Boise State University after the college charged a student group hundreds of dollars in unconstitutional security fees for hosting a speech by a gun rights activist. Boise State forced the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) to pay the fees or else face the last-minute cancellation of an event featuring Dick Heller, the named plaintiff in a well-known 2008 Supreme Court case regarding the possession of firearms. “You could hardly ask for a clearer violation of a student group’s First Amendment rights,” said Peter […]

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  • Victory for Free Speech and Religious Liberty at Boise State University

    August 11, 2009

    The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and Christian Legal Society (CLS), after filing suit against Boise State University over its discriminatory exclusion of religious organizations from the ability to receive funding from student fees, announced yesterday that Boise State has rewritten its policies to give religious groups equal access to the funds along with other student organizations. This is a strong victory for freedom of speech and legal equality. As the CLS complaint and brief (both PDFs) in Cordova v. Laliberte point out, Boise State was the sole institution of higher education in the State of Idaho relying—erroneously—on the Idaho Constitution’s […]

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