Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit
Colorado State University has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.
October 3, 2011
The editor of a student newspaper ran an editorial that said “Taser this…FUCK BUSH” in response to the well-known tasering incident at the University of Florida, which had occurred four days earlier. The school admonished the editor, declaring the editorial “unethical and unprofessional,” but took no further action when they found the speech was protected under the First Amendment.» Read More
March 12, 2007
Colorado State University (CSU) completely revised three formerly unconstitutional speech codes. The changes came after student activists at CSU, with help from FIRE, pressured the university to uphold the constitutional rights of CSU students. Concerned CSU students requested help from FIRE in contesting several unconstitutional policies that restricted students’ expression and assembly on campus. FIRE wrote a letter to CSU President Larry E. Penley urging him to change three unconstitutional policies and the CSU Campus Libertarians held a rally in celebration of free speech outside of the designated “primary ‘Public Forum’ space.” CSU then revised its unconstitutional speech codes.» Read More
Bigotry has no place within our community, nor does the denigration of other
human beings on the basis of age, physical handicap, national origin, sexual
orientation, race, gender, or religious affiliation. We do not tolerate verbal or
written abuse, threats, intimidation, violence, or other forms of harassment
against any member of our community. Likewise, we do not accept ignorance,
anger, alcohol, or substance abuse as an excuse, reason, or rationale for such
behavior. All of us who work and live in the residence hall community must be committed
to these principles, which are an integral part of our purpose, values, and daily activities.
The University acknowledges the right of all people to freedom from personal abuse. Abusive treatment of individuals on a personal or stereotyped basis prevents the attainment of the University objective to create and maintain an environment which supports, nurtures, and encourages people to excel in teaching, learning, and creativity. Therefore, the University deplores, condemns, and will act energetically to prevent all forms of personal abuse, including sexual harassment.
Abusive conduct, including physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, bullying, stalking, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the physical or psychological health, safety, or welfare of one’s self, another individual or a group of individuals.
Bias incidents are non-criminal activity against a person or property that is motivated,
in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against perceived or actual race, ethnicity,
national origin, religion, ability, age, gender, gender expression, socioeconomic status
or sexual orientation. Bias incidents are prohibited in the residence halls.
Students may post decorations or message boards on no more that 50% of their exterior room door. The exterior of the door may not have any wording or material that is obscene, pornographic, bias motivated or disrespectful to the community and its members.
Reservations are required for events that involve the assembly of more than 25 persons.
All University members may engage in discussion; exchange thought and opinion; and speak, write, or print freely on any subject in accordance with Federal or State constitutions. This broad principle is the cornerstone of education in a democracy. Colorado State University values and respects diversity including political, philosophical and cultural viewpoints.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when such conduct is directed toward an individual because of her or his gender, is severe and/or pervasive, and has the purpose or effect of (1) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic environment or (2) unreasonably interferes with another’s academic performance. Generally, a single sexual joke, offensive epithet, or request for a date does not constitute sexual harassment; however, being subjected to such jokes, epithets, or requests repeatedly may constitute hostile environment sexual harassment.
October 10, 2007
The free-speech zone of the student-center plaza at Colorado State University doesn’t look any less free these days, after Rocky Mountain Collegian Editor-in-Chief David McSwane received a formal admonishment for the September 21 editorial that read, “Taser this…FUCK BUSH.” But not everyone thinks the decisions of the university Board of Student Communications have equaled a victory for protected speech and the First Amendment. “Even though the hearing had a nominally positive outcome, the hearing itself was definitely a negative for free speech,” says Seth Anthony, a chemistry graduate student who started CSU’s Libertarian Party. “I think the very fact that […]» Read More
July 27, 2007
Colorado State University has revised its campus speech codes after lobbying by student activists and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The university in Fort Collins revised three policies that groups said violated the First Amendment after concerns arose over restrictions on residence-hall advertising. The Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper reported that the Campus Libertarians began requesting change in the advertising, hate-incidents and peaceful-assembly policies in fall 2006. The Campus Libertarians, while campaigning for a marijuana-legalization amendment to the state’s constitution, were denied permission to hang posters in the residence halls to support their cause. At the time, “offensive language” […]» Read More
July 25, 2007
It’s big news when a university adopts a restrictive speech code. But it’s often ignored when one is improved in response to student protests. Colorado State University’s new policies on speech, student protests and residence hall advertising are all big improvements over the restrictive policies of the past, and the university deserves great credit for making the changes. The student groups that sought the changes deserve a big chunk of the credit, as does the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which championed the student cause. Prior policies at CSU on student protests, student speech and residence hall advertising […]» Read More
May 2, 2007
Offending people isn’t necessarily a bad thing, said First Amendment lawyer Greg Lukianoff. “Offense is something that happens when you have your deepest beliefs challenged,” said Lukianoff, who was in the Clark Building on Tuesday night to talk about free speech on college campuses. “If you have gone to college for four years and you haven’t gotten your deepest beliefs challenged, ask for your money back.” Lukianoff works for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, and tackles individual cases of violations against free speech on campuses around the nation. Lukianoff has worked with CSU in the past. […]» Read More
April 19, 2007
Colorado State University officials say the school is committed to free speech, but some students and civil liberties advocates aren’t so sure. The discrepancy has prompted officials to form a committee to clarify speech codes and a group of student government leaders to introduce a resolution that would do away with those deemed invasive. At the behest of a handful of students—predominantly members of the campus Libertarian Party and Students for Sensible Drug Policy—the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is lobbying administrators to lift restrictions on what they say is constitutionally protected speech. FIRE is a nonprofit group […]» Read More
April 15, 2007
While Colorado State University has stated a commitment to honoring students’ freedom of expression, Seth Anthony says that many have begun to feel like they are no longer given the same rights as other Americans. “Many students think that it is illegal to protest on campus,” Anthony says. Which is not the case. Anthony, his Campus Libertarians and national watchdog organization Foundation for Individual Rights in Education are calling for CSU to change several of its policies that deal with freedom of speech. Seth Anthony of the Campus Libertarians says the university’s policies create a “chilling effect” around campus. In […]» Read More
April 12, 2007
A group of Colorado State University students concerned about university infringements on their Constitutional rights to free speech had a rally Wednesday on the west lawn of the Lory Student Center. Libertarian Party of Colorado State University Chairman Seth Anthony, a CSU graduate student, organized the rally—in which media members outnumbered participants—in hope of clarifying rules the university uses to regulate assemblies and posting of fliers in dormitories. The rally effort was followed up by the introduction of a resolution at Wednesday night’s Associated Students of Colorado State University meeting that asked the university’s administration to review and modify any […]» Read More
April 12, 2007
A national watchdog group that looks for First Amendment violations on college campuses has called on CSU administration to correct three “restrictive speech codes,” including the university’s hate incidents and free-speech zone policies. On Wednesday, Associated Students of CSU debated a free-speech resolution and the CSU Libertarians held a three-person rally on the West Lawn of the Lory Student Center, making a point free speech could be conducted anywhere on campus, not just the Plaza. In a letter sent to CSU President Larry Penley on March 12, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education-commonly known as FIRE-charged the university with […]» Read More
October 30, 2012
This fall, FIRE is writing a blog series about how schools can reform their problematic speech codes and earn a “green light” rating from FIRE—a distinction currently awarded to just 16 of the more than 400 schools in our Spotlight database, but one we hope to be able to award to many more in the years to come. In this series, we are discussing common problems with campus speech codes, focusing on examples from schools that are just a few small changes away from earning a green light rating. So far, we have examined how universities restrict speech by mandating “civility,” […]» Read More
November 18, 2009
Last month, Colorado State University graduate student and CFN member Seth Anthony published two excellent columns in The Rocky Mountain Collegian on the problematic policies in place at Colorado State University (CSU). All Torch readers should be sure to check them out. In the first column, entitled “Free speech still at risk on campus,” Seth describes an incident from 2006, when CSU refused to allow him to post fliers in support of a state initiative to legalize possession of marijuana. With FIRE’s help, Seth was able to get the university to abandon some of its most egregious policies and the university’s speech […]» Read More
April 17, 2008
Much has happened since we last reported on the case of the controversial editorial printed earlier this academic year by Colorado State University’s Rocky Mountain Collegian. In that case, the editors published an editorial reading “Taser this…FUCK Bush”, fully within the paper’s editorial and ethical guidelines. The paper’s editor, J. David McSwane, was threatened with punishment and had to sit through a hearing process, but he was merely admonished. In November, we reported more victories for free speech at CSU. The interim president of CSU’s Board of Student Communications resigned after, as The Coloradoan reported, “withdrawing a controversial proposal that […]» Read More
November 30, 2007
Free speech advocates should be following the case of J. David McSwane, editor-in-chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian at Colorado State University (CSU), whose paper ran a constitutionally protected staff editorial on September 21. The editorial included, in large print, an expletive. After complaints and calls for McSwane to be fired and the paper to be punished, free speech prevailed and CSU’s Board of Student Communications merely admonished McSwane without choosing any real punishment. Yesterday, the Rocky Mountain News reported that CSU’s Board of Student Communications voted on Tuesday that McSwane (and the leaders of other campus media) would continue […]» Read More
October 5, 2007
Yesterday, Colarado State University’s (CSU’s) Board of Student Communications (BSC) issued a ruling admonishing J. David McSwane, editor of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, for violating the newspaper’s code of ethics by using an expletive in a September 21 editorial critical of President Bush. Specifically, the BSC wrote: The Board of Student Communications admonishes you for violations of two standards specified by the BSC Manual that resulted from publication of the editorial published September 21 by the Rocky Mountain Collegian. The Board of Student Communications determined you violated: 1) Code of Ethics, Student Media, Colorado State University, (Appendix A) — specifically […]» Read More
October 5, 2007
The feedback from our involvement in the Colorado State University editorial case has been plentiful and thoughtful. Many FIRE readers wrote in with their thoughts on this case, and today there is an opportunity to hear more as FIRE President Greg Lukianoff debates radio host Mike Rosen on the Mike Rosen Show on 850 KOA News Radio in Denver. Click here to listen online today at 12 p.m. ET/10 a.m. MT to hear this exciting discussion!» Read More
October 2, 2007
As Thursday’s hearing for Colorado State University (CSU) student editor J. David McSwane draws near, FIRE President Greg Lukianoff spoke out against the school’s insistence on investigating McSwane in his latest entry on The Huffington Post. McSwane’s “crime” was printing an editorial in a recent issue of The Rocky Mountain Collegian that simply stated “Taser This … F*** BUSH.” As one may expect, the backlash against the publication has been severe, ranging from a significant loss of advertising revenue, causing staff layoffs, to the upcoming hearing conducted by CSU’s Board of Student Communications (BSC), at which McSwane may be […]» Read More
October 1, 2007
Colorado State University’s Board of Student Communications has decided to hold a formal, private hearing on October 4 to decide the fate of the paper’s editor, David McSwane, regarding his staff’s constitutionally protected editorial. Last week I pointed out that CSU’s Board of Student Communications and Student Media Bylaws respect the First Amendment rights of the Rocky Mountain Collegian and its staff. The Board of Student Communications (BSC) should remember that the constitutional protections acknowledged in the bylaws actually trump any restrictions on speech that might be found elsewhere in the document. For example, a Code of Ethics has […]» Read More
September 24, 2007
On Friday, Colorado State University’s student newspaper, The Rocky Mountain Collegian, published an editorial that stated, in large print, “FUCK BUSH.” While many students were likely surprised to open up their morning newspapers and find a large-print expletive, The Collegian’s pronouncement is entitled to First Amendment protection: in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of a Vietnam War protestor to walk into a county courthouse wearing a jacket emblazoned with the words “Fuck the Draft.” Cohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1973). So while the newspaper may legitimately suffer private backlash as a result of its editorial choices—the […]» Read More
August 1, 2007
The lazy days of summer must have passed us over at FIRE, for one look at our media coverage for July reveals just how busy we’ve been. The latest effort in FIRE’s Speech Codes Litigation Project, a lawsuit filed against San Francisco State University, was the subject of a syndicated Associated Press article, a news brief on Special Report with Brit Hume on FOXNews.com, and our last Campus Alert column in the New York Post before we took a summer break. Reason Online and The Chronicle of Higher Education also covered the SFSU lawsuit in nationally circulated pieces. The second […]» Read More
July 27, 2007
Our recent involvement in two major cases in Colorado has caught the attention of local and national media. After Greg’s commentary on the Ward Churchill case appeared on The Torch, it was picked up by the widely read Huffington Post blog. He also expressed his expectations for the case in a story in the Daily Camera in Boulder. Meanwhile, our victory at Colorado State University—where FIRE worked with student activists to change three formerly unconstitutional speech codes—was featured in a national news brief from the First Amendment Center. In Colorado, The Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Colorado Springs Gazette, […]» Read More
July 19, 2007
FIRE’s press release today celebrates victory for freedom of speech at Colorado State University, where administrators have revised three formerly unconstitutional speech codes. Changes were made after CSU students, with help from FIRE, successfully pressured the university administration to rewrite its policies within constitutional strictures. As the press release describes, In February, concerned CSU students requested help from FIRE in contesting several unconstitutional policies that restricted students’ expression and assembly on campus. On March 12, FIRE wrote a letter to CSU President Larry E. Penley urging him to change three unconstitutional policies: the Peaceful Assembly at CSU policy and the […]» Read More
June 15, 2007
Colorado State University (CSU) was poised to eliminate two unconstitutional speech codes after pressure from FIRE and student activists, but FIRE was disappointed to learn this week that unconstitutional language has found its way back into the final versions of those revised policies. FIRE is asking CSU to revert to the previous drafts of the policies circulated in April, which protected students’ First Amendment rights. In February, concerned CSU students requested help from FIRE in contesting several unconstitutional policies that restricted expression and assembly on campus. On March 12, FIRE wrote a letter to CSU President Larry E. Penley […]» Read More
April 11, 2007
Right about now, the Campus Libertarians at Colorado State University are holding a rally in support of free speech on campus. As we announced in a press release today, Colorado State’s general counsel recently “clarified” that the university’s “Peaceful Assembly at CSU” policy does not actually restrict free expression on campus to one small free speech zone. After we were contacted by a group of concerned CSU students, FIRE wrote to CSU on March 12 to urge the university to revise several unconstitutional policies, including the Peaceful Assembly policy, which provided that “The Lory Student Center Plaza has been designated […]» Read More
November 27, 2006
FIRE Board of Advisors member Wendy Kaminer writes an engaging and thoughtful op-ed in the December 2006/January 2007 issue of Free Inquiry magazine. Kaminer draws attention to former FIRE Speech Codes of the Month, including Drexel University (September 2006) and Colorado State University (August 2006), writing: Speech codes that prohibit people from insulting each other have been widely and rightly ridiculed, but they continue to proliferate, enforcing particular notions of diversity, equality, and tolerance. Consider Colorado State University’s speech code, recently derided by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) as speech code of the month. At Colorado […]» Read More