Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit
Florida 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
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement
The university expects each individual to make a special effort to ensure that all are treated with dignity and respect and accorded the full opportunities of the University. Racism, whether in assumptions, attitudes, acts, or policies, is incompatible with the concept of responsible freedom as espoused by The Florida State University.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementConduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person. This includes unwanted, unwelcome, inappropriate, or irrelevant sexual or gender-based behaviors, actions or comments.
University Regulation for Posting, Promotions, Chalking, Advertising and Active Distribution of Materials on FSU Campuses 12-13
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies, StatementMaterials posted or distributed may not: glorify, edify, promote or support the use or sale of alcohol or illegal drugs; display trademarks and or brand names of alcohol or illegal drug products; contain material that is obscene or defamatory; be directed to incite or promote imminent lawless action.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, StatementThe green area on the east side of Moore Auditorium, the central portion of Landis Green and the football stadium outside Gate D in the grassy area are designated "open platforms." Any student or other individual who desires to be heard publicly on any issue of concern may use these areas subject to the provisions of this regulation at any time when previous scheduling does not preclude such use but only from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time.
Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience, StatementAs a member of this community, I promise the following: ... I will learn from and about those who are different and work to make the University inclusive. ... I will treat others in a fair manner and strive to make the University a community of justice. ... I will act as a responsible citizen in the University and beyond, participating in those activities fostering citizenship.
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, StatementSince
behavior which is not in keeping with
standards acceptable to the university
community is often symptomatic of attitudes, misconceptions, and emotional
crises, the treatment of these attitudes,
misconceptions, and emotional crises
through reeducation and rehabilitative
activities is an essential element of the
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, StatementStudents will refrain from harassment and verbal abuse of other students.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementThe Florida State University prohibits acts of harassment against faculty, students, administrators or staff
on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed,
color, sex, religion, national origin,
age, disability, veteran's or marital status. This policy covers conduct which
presents clear and immediate danger
of bringing about injury or substantial
abuse to students, faculty or employees, or which substantially interferes
with the opportunity of a student to
obtain an education, or which creates
an intimidating or hostile work or
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementSexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests
for sexual favors, and other verbal or
physical conduct of a sexual nature
directed at an employee or student by
another when: ... such conduct has the purpose or
effect of unreasonably interfering
with employment opportunities,
work or academic performance or
creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statementa. Conduct, (not of a sexual nature), that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person.
b. Action(s) or statement(s) that threaten harm or intimidate another ...
d. Bullying behavior, defined as: the systematic and chronic infliction of physical hurt or psychological distress
by teasing, social exclusion, threat, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, theft, harassment, or destruction of
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, StatementUniversity IT resources may not be utilized:
To harass another person. Users should not transmit to others or display images, sounds, or messages that might be perceived by a reasonable person as being, or have been identified as, harassing.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementThe right of all students to seek knowledge, debate ideas, form opinions, and freely express their ideas is fully recognized by Florida State University. This Student Conduct Code applies to student conduct and will not be used to discipline the lawful expression of ideas.
January 21, 2014
by Alec Torres The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual report on college-campus speech codes last week finding that while the percentage of colleges that seriously infringe upon students’ free-speech rights has diminished in recent years, many universities still burden students with overbearing and sometimes ridiculous speech regulations. Here’s a look at some of the most egregious speech codes that FIRE found: The University of Connecticut requires that “every member of the University shall refrain from actions that intimidate, humiliate, or demean persons or groups, or that undermine their security or self-esteem.” At Athens State University in Alabama, […]» Read More
November 13, 2012
by Eric Giunta Sunshine State News Each of the 10 public colleges and universities in Florida evaluated by a major civil liberties organization has “some policies that could ban or excessively regulate protected speech,” and nearly all of them have “at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. That’s the verdict of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonpartisan civil rights organization dedicated, in its own words, “to defending core constitutional rights on university campuses.” Last week the foundation set its sights on Tallahassee’s own Florida State University in a memo addressed to […]» Read More
May 24, 2006
Four San Diego State students recently logged on to a computer and did what thousands of other college students do these days during their spare time. They were having fun on MySpace.com, posting personal party pictures and commentaries about life in college. Some included references to drinking alcoholic beverages and snide remarks about recent soccer practices, according to a student colleague of the four. But because the four students were athletes – in this case women’s soccer players – they suffered a penalty for it. When they didn’t heed their coach’s warning to stop posting on the site, they were […]» Read More
January 31, 2014
College football’s 2013 season is over, but unfortunately the issue of sexual assault on campus is a year-round issue. A few days ago, The Michigan Daily reported that former kicker Brendan Gibbons was expelled from the University of Michigan, soon after he was no longer eligible to play football but years after an alleged sexual assault took place in 2009. Earlier this week, ESPN reported that the University of Missouri failed to investigate allegations of sexual assault against football players raised by a student who later committed suicide. And questions have been raised about whether sexual assault allegations against Florida State […]» Read More
December 13, 2013
For her most recent column, Tampa Bay Times columnist Robyn E. Blumner spoke with FIRE’s Robert Shibley about campus sexual misconduct hearings. Blumner discussed why universities are “stuck in the middle” between allegations that they are not doing enough to punish students accused of sexual misconduct and reminders from FIRE and other civil liberties organizations that they must grant students a fair hearing. As Blumner points out, these competing pressures could have significant ramifications for Jameis Winston, a Florida State University (FSU) football player accused of sexually assaulting a woman approximately a year ago. In late November, State Attorney Willie Meggs decided not […]» Read More
September 13, 2013
After Ball State University Student Government Association (SGA) president Malachi Randolph posted a series of derogatory tweets last week, the Ball State administration shared just the right message about the repercussions of such speech: “His remarks are not a violation of any university policy or law,” said Tony Proudfoot, a university spokesperson. “He is likely to find, however, that such remarks do have unintended social consequences beyond formal actions from the university.” The tweets in question included statements like “I hate when Chinese people make me write emails in Asian speak” and “Stereotypical Chinese<<<<”—not statements, to put it mildly, most […]» Read More
September 6, 2013
At Florida State University, a controversy has erupted in response to a student’s posting on the social media platform Vine. FSUNews.com reports: The student, Mandy Thurston, made racially-charged comments on the social media platform Vine, which ignited outrage from Florida State and Florida A&M University students alike. The statement was perceived as highly offensive and quickly received school-wide attention. FSUNews.com also has a screen capture of the post. The FSU administration has released a joint statement by Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Coburn and Student Government President Rosie Contreras in response to the controversy. The full statement can be […]» Read More
April 12, 2013
If ever a major public university needed campus activism to prod along improvement of its policies regulating student speech, Florida State University does. Despite being legally bound by the First Amendment as a public institution of higher education, FSU has a whopping 11 speech codes, including two “red light” policies and nine “yellow light” policies. One of these yellow light speech codes is a free speech zone policy (PDF) limiting student speech and expressive activity to three areas on campus. On a large public campus with a sizeable student body, this is simply insufficient. These types of policies are particularly […]» Read More
November 13, 2012
FIRE’s own Greg Lukianoff and Azhar Majeed highlight speech code problems at colleges and universities in the state of Florida in an interview with Eric Giunta in today’s Sunshine State News. As Azhar notes in the article: “The vast majority of Florida schools have at least one policy that clearly and substantially restricts free speech … That’s certainly a poor record, and it’s somewhere around average in terms of university performance in other states.” The article is wide-ranging, covering recent developments at speech-restrictive Florida State University as well as Greg’s new book, Unlearning Liberty. Check it out!» Read More
December 14, 2005
FIRE recently wrote a letter to John Churchill, secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, in which we ask the organization to stand behind its stated commitment to freedom of expression by addressing the issue of repressive speech codes at its member institutions. In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), Churchill responded that although Phi Beta Kappa is “interested in freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression,” the society does not “undertake that kind of investigative activity.” Apparently, the society has the resources to conduct a “rigorous three-year review” of prospective member institutions that […]» Read More
August 29, 2005
The NCAA controversy surrounding the supposedly “hostile” and “abusive” Native American team names is a reflection of more than a good idea gone bad—it’s a classic case of what happens when a body of administrators enacts policies that are too vague and subjective. As noted by my colleague Robert in a previous entry, the NCAA recently issued a new policy banning usage of team names derived from any ethnic/racial/national group that could be perceived as offensive. This includes mascots, school or team nicknames, and some team imagery as well. The policy is getting all kinds of reactions, and here is […]» Read More