Georgia Southern 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
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct may include sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work or academic environment constitutes one type of sexual harassment. Depending on the severity, it is possible for a single incident to be sufficient to constitute a hostile environment. … Students should and employees must report any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature regardless of severity or the number of occurrences so that Georgia Southern can take steps to address harassment before it creates a hostile environment.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
Students, faculty, staff, and their registered student organizations may assemble and/or demonstrate anywhere on university grounds between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., Monday through Sunday as long as the assembly and/or demonstration adheres to the provisions of Item 1 and a properly submitted Free Speech Area Request Form has been approved. … Requests to reserve campus grounds for an assembly and/or demonstration must be made at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the activity. This advance notice allows the University the opportunity to avoid the problem of simultaneous and/or competing assemblies or demonstrations and to arrange for adequate security.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
(a) speech or other expression (words, pictures, symbols) that constitutes fighting words and is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to interfere, limit, or deny one’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program. Fighting words may include, but are not limited to, words, pictures or symbols that:
i. are directed to an individual or individuals based on that person’s race, color, sex, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, disability, veteran status or national origin, and
ii. threaten violence, tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace or provoke a violent response. In the context of this policy, fighting words are those which are commonly understood to convey direct and visceral hated or contempt for human beings. When determining whether speech is such as would provoke a violent response or incite an immediate breach of the peace, it is not necessary to show that that the person(s) addressed by the speech was or were actually incited to violence or hostile action. Conduct will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, considering all circumstances involved.
(b) following, placing under surveillance, or contacting (in person, by phone, electronically, or by any other means) another person without his or her permission for the purpose of harassing or intimidating that person. Harassing or intimidating means a knowing and willful course of conduct that serves no legitimate purpose and causes emotional distress by placing another person in reasonable fear for the safety of him/herself or others.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
a) Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … such conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work, living environment, academic performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile work or academic environment.
January 14, 2015
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for January 2015: Georgia Southern University (GSU). As we begin a new year, we want to keep the focus squarely on the incursions on free speech by the federal government—specifically, by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). Last month, we highlighted a policy change at Pennsylvania State University that tracks the recommendations made by OCR in its May 2013 agreement with the University of Montana, which OCR described as a “blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country to protect students from sexual harassment and assault.” In the […]» Read More
August 28, 2014
Last summer, FIRE sounded the alarm about a shockingly broad definition of sexual harassment being pushed by the Departments of Education (ED) and Justice (DOJ) as a “blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country.” Announced at the conclusion of a year-long investigation into the University of Montana’s sexual assault policies and practices, the resolution agreement and findings letter the feds labeled a “blueprint” defined sexual harassment as “any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature,” including “verbal conduct” (i.e., speech). And this all-encompassing definition wasn’t just a general characterization of sexual harassment; rather, it was the exact policy language that ED and DOJ were requiring the University of Montana to adopt verbatim.» Read More