Location: Fort Myers, Florida
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit
Florida Gulf Coast 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
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
The following are inappropriate uses of the University’s email system. Items of this nature should not be sent. This list is not exhaustive, but contains key items that will be deemed inappropriate use and may be subject to disciplinary action … Use of email, chat rooms, or other Internet devices that is defamatory such as, but not limited to, racially or sexually charged messages, jokes or cartoons.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
Persons engaged in protected speech occurring in public spaces must follow all applicable University Policies and Regulations. An event that requires use of University resources including but not limited to sound amplification, reservable spaces, and security must go through the normal scheduling and coordination process provided by the Office of Campus Reservations. Speech activities must not disrupt the normal operations of the University or infringe on the rights of other members of the University community. No demonstrations may be held inside University buildings.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
Student Rights: … Freedom of expression.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
a) Physical harm or threat of physical harm against others or through direct verbal or written abuse, threats, intimidation, coercion or other conduct that endangers the health, safety, or wellbeing of others.
b) Harassment, defined as conduct, including electronic or written communication, which is so severe or sufficiently persistent or pervasive that it undermines the roles of faculty and staff or so detracts from the impacted student’s educational experience that a reasonable person with the same characteristics of the victim of the harassing conduct would be adversely affected to a degree that interferes with his or her ability to participate in, or realize the intended benefits of, employment, a University activity or resource.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
For the purposes of this Regulation, harassment, a form of discrimination, is defined as unwelcome conduct, including electronic and written communication, that is based upon race, color, religion, age, disability, sex, national origin, marital status, genetic predisposition, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender expression and/or veteran status. Additionally, harassment is further defined as behavior so severe, pervasive or persistent that it limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from, an educational program, undermines the responsibilities of the employee, and/or creates a hostile working or learning environment.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature including unwelcome sexual attention, including requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature from any person that is so severe, pervasive or persistent that it limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from, an educational program, undermines the responsibilities of the employee, and/or creates a hostile working or learning environment. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment.
October 18, 2012
UNLEARNING LIBERTY: CAMPUS CENSORSHIP AND THE END OF AMERICAN DEBATEBy Greg LukianoffEncounter Books, $25.99, 294 pages “Although I disagree with every word you say, I shall defend to the death your right to say it.” This stirring proclamation by Voltaire could have been said by Thomas Jefferson — or any of his associates — since free speech, a mainstay of 18th-century Enlightenment, fueled the American Revolution and is incorporated in our Constitution. In the first half of the previous century, a common phrase was “It’s a free country; I can say what I want.” That phrase is not so common today, but free speech is […]» Read More
July 18, 2008
Rules can be a work in progress. But getting them right is important, especially when freedom of speech is involved in a setting that is supposed to nurture lively exchanges. Florida Gulf Coast University, barely a decade old, owes a “thank you” to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education ( FIRE), a watchdog organization over campus free speech around the country. The group has spotted vague wording in at least areas three which could be interpreted as infringing on rather than protecting rights. n First example: A ban on “expressions deemed inappropriate.” That has been refined by FGCU to […]» Read More
October 24, 2001
State university library bans American pride stickers FORT MYERS — While many Americans display patriotic messages in the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks, librarians at one Florida university have been hushed. Library Director Cathy Hoeth told her staff not to wear “I’m proud to be an American” stickers because they might offend the 200 foreign students at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. That policy may violate the staff’s rights to free speech, said Randall Marshall, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. “The problem is that employees don’t give up their constitutional rights merely […]» Read More
July 13, 2008
Burning questions as to what constitutes free speech on campus sparked a recent change to Florida Gulf Coast University’s student code of conduct. It’s not because the institution was feeling the heat from a First Amendment protection group, though, a university official said, but out of a need to update its policies to keep with the times. In April 2007, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, published a report on its Web site, www.thefire.org, deeming the university’s personal abuse policy unconstitutional and demanding changes to it. Now, one year later, FGCU has redefined that policy, but other […]» Read More
April 5, 2007
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for April 2007: Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU). FGCU is a public institution, bound by the First Amendment. FGCU’s “Personal Abuse” policy prohibits “lewd, indecent, racist, prejudice [sic], obscene, or expressions deemed inappropriate.” This policy is unconstitutional on so many levels that it is almost hard to know where to begin. Let’s start with what is perhaps the most obvious problem: “expressions deemed inappropriate.” Who gets to do the deeming? Is it university administrators? If so, that’s an awful lot of discretion just waiting to be abused. Is it the listener, such […]» Read More