Location: Framingham, Massachusetts
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit
Framingham 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.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementHarassment and/or abusive behavior toward persons. This includes, but is
not limited to:
a. Intimidation, invasion of privacy, verbal abuse, or any conduct constituting harassment, abuse or threats to the well-being of a person or group, including but not limited to communication via electronic means.
b. Harassment and/or intimidation of persons involved in a campus
disciplinary hearing, and of persons of authority who are in the
process of discharging their responsibilities.
c. The use of "fighting words" to harass any person is prohibited.
"Fighting words" are those personally abusive epithets which, when
directly addressed to any ordinary person, in the context used and as
a matter of common knowledge, are inherently likely to provoke an
immediate violent reaction, whether or not they actually do so. Such
words include, but are not limited to those terms widely recognized
to be derogatory references to race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual
orientation, disability, and other personal characteristics.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, Statement1. All students, undergraduate and graduate, have a right to demonstrate
on University premises provided, however, that no such demonstration shall
be permissible, which for any reason of time, place, or type of behavior,
materially disrupts class work or other University business, or involves
substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.
2. Campus buildings are for University business. Any form of demonstration
that interferes with University business in ofï¬� ce or classroom spaces is a
violation of this Code.
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. â��Interfering with free movementâ�� is deï¬� ned as any
physical denial or restriction of a person’s ability to freely reach or leave a
given geographical area, or harassment as deï¬� ned in the Code of Student
Conduct. â��Obstaclesâ�� are deï¬� ned as physical devices, bodies, or signs
which cause interferences with free movement, or sounds which prevent
4. There shall be no interference with demonstrations on the grounds of
content of speech, except for any speech or demonstration which incites
immediate, violent action and represents a clear and present danger to the
campus community, which shall be a violation of the Code.
5. No student shall intentionally and substantially interfere with the freedom
of expression of another person on University premises or at University
6. Failure to cease any activity in violation of the Code immediately following
either written or oral notice by a University ofï¬� cial shall also be a violation
of this Code.
7. Any violation of the Code may subject a student to expulsion from the
University or such lesser sanction(s) as may be deemed appropriate by
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementAcademic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit
of truth, the development of the whole student, and the betterment of society.
Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementWhile it is not possible to list
all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment,
the following non-exhaustive list cites some examples of conduct, which, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the
totality of the circumstances including the severity of the conduct and its
- making unwelcome sexual propositions, whether they involve physical
touching or not, or pressuring one for sexual favors;
- touching of a sexual nature;
- writing graffiti of a sexual nature
- displaying or distributing sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written
- performing sexual gestures or touching oneself sexually in front of others;
- spreading sexual rumors or rating others as to sexual activity or
- circulating or showing emails or websites of a sexual nature
- references to and inquiries about sexual conduct and body parts, including
- unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, and sexual
January 4, 2013
by Azhar Majeed Policymic Students at our nation’s colleges and universities won a number of important victories for freedom of speech and the First Amendment over the past year. They vindicated their core expressive rights, fought back against repressive university practices, and taught us all valuable lessons about living in a free society. The victories on campus weren’t limited to instances where student speech was censored or punished in application, however. At a number of institutions, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work) convinced the administration to proactively protect free speech by reforming illiberal and unconstitutional policies before they […]» Read More
May 2, 2012
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for May 2012: Framingham State University. This public university has a student policy on “Freedom of Expression” which provides that Recognized student clubs or organizations desiring to sponsor a religious display must consider the following: such displays may not promote or hinder one religion over another, must be secular in purpose, and may not intertwine University affairs with religious promotion. This policy confuses the university’s institutional obligation not to promote religion with the expressive rights of individual students and student groups, in a way that completely ignores binding Supreme Court precedent and […]» Read More
May 11, 2007
Some students at Framingham State College are finding out the hard way that newspaper theft and censorship don’t pay off in the end. According to The Boston Globe, seven students attended a lacrosse match with letters of a friend’s name painted across their midriffs to show support for him. A student reporter saw these women and thought it would make an excellent picture for the next edition of the campus paper. The editors must have agreed and decided to run the picture on the front page. After the paper was distributed on campus, two of the students in the picture […]» Read More