Governors State University

Location: Park Forest, Illinois
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Governors 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.

  • Governors State University: Censorship of Student Newspaper

    September 19, 2005

    A college administrator at Governors State University in Illinois censored a student newspaper that was highly critical of her administration. The Seventh Circuit chose to apply Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, a Supreme Court decision allowing prior review of certain high school newspapers, to student fee-funded college media. This directly contradicted two other Supreme Court decisions by holding that a student paper or group could potentially be controlled by the university merely because for receiving funding from mandatory student fees that are considered to belong to the student body, not the university. FIRE was disappointed that the Supreme Court refused to hear […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Student Handbook: Civility Policy 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement

    All members of the community must treat other members with civility and respect, while recognizing that disagreement and informed debate are valued in an academic community.
    Demeaning, intimidating, threatening, or violent behavior, either in verbal or written form, that affects the ability to learn, teach, or work in the university community are unacceptable and violate Governors State University’s standard for civility and respect.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct Code- Student Misconduct 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement

    Non-Academic Misconduct includes: ... Disparaging comments or statements regarding the religious affiliation, gender, age, race, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity of others.

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  • Campus Computing: iMail Rules 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, Statement

    Use of e-mail to harass, offend, or annoy other users is forbidden. Obscene, defamatory, or any other material that violates university policy on discrimination will not be tolerated.

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Yellow Light Policies
Green Light Policies
  • Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Compliance Procedures 12-13

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Acts considered to constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: ... the purpose or the effect of such conduct is to substantially interfere with the affected individual's work performance or academic performance or to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment.

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  • For free student press, move off campus

    March 18, 2006

    By Jeffrey McCall at The Indianapolis Star The U.S. Supreme Court has sent a message to college student journalists: If you want full press rights, then disassociate yourselves from any financial or logistical connection to the university where you operate. In late February, the Supreme Court gave a setback to the college press. Last summer, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago issued a ruling that expanded college administration power over student newspapers. The Supreme Court refused to hear that case on appeal. The 7th Circuit’s Hosty ruling evolved from a decision by the administration of Governors State University […]

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  • Supreme Court neglects the right to free student press

    March 8, 2006

    Royal Purple Staff Opinion The United States Supreme Court made a decision Feb. 24 that opened the door for the restriction of speech of college students nationwide. In 1988, Hazelwood vs. Ferguson secured the right of educational institutions up to and through a high school level to censor student run publications based on content. This decision was extended through the university level in June 2005 by the 7th Court of Appeals in Chicago. The district covers Wisconsin and Indiana as well, potentially subjecting a number of University of Wisconsin System publications to the same censorship. In refusing recently to hear […]

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  • Ruling could test MSC free press

    March 6, 2006

    The Daily Sentinel A recent move by the U.S. Supreme Court could dampen press freedoms at colleges across the country, especially for newspapers, such as The Criterion at Mesa State College, that receive college funding. Late last month the Supreme Court decided not to consider a case involving the administration of an Illinois public university that demanded to review the student newspaper before its publication. The appeals court decision, which affirmed the college’s right of prior review, significantly expanded a landmark 1988 case, where the Supreme Court distinguished between the First Amendment rights of elementary and high school students and […]

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  • Student editors react to ‘Hosty’ decision

    February 28, 2006

    By Ricky Ribeiro at Student Press Law Center Student editors at three student newspapers said college journalists need to start discussing the effects of Hosty v. Carter now that the Supreme Court has decided not to hear the case. “[Hosty]’s come up from time to time [in our newsroom],” said Aaron Seidlitz, editor in chief of Eastern Illinois University’s student newspaper, the Daily Eastern News. “Most of the time it’s with the staff and a few professors as well. I think that every collegiate newspaper should just have conversations with their advisers just to have a better understanding of the […]

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  • In-depth: Words Left Unsaid

    October 27, 2005

    By Sundeep Malladi at The Badger Herald Dedicated to the pursuit of truth, universities create forums for discussion. According to many, this basic foundation shook on June 20, 2005, when the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals gave universities the right to censor student newspapers. The Hosty v. Carter ruling has come under fire in recent months from several First Amendment rights groups and media watchdogs that found the ruling both shocking and appalling. This week, a coalition of several major groups headed by the Virginia-based Student Press Law Center (SPLC), delivered their friend-of-the-court, or amicus, brief to the Supreme […]

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  • Court flawed in student paper ruling

    October 27, 2005

    Sometimes even federal judges make mistakes. Last week the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed an amicus brief in Hosty v. Carter, the recent 7th Circuit Court ruling that allows colleges to censor student newspapers that receive a substantial amount of funding from that college. FIRE’s brief joins two others in support of Margaret Hosty, Jeni Porche and Steven Barba — the three students suing Dean Patricia Carter, alleging a violation of the First Amendment. The story begins late in 2000, when the Innovator, the student newspaper for Governors State University, published a number of articles critical of the […]

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  • Three briefs urge Supreme Court to hear ‘Hosty v. Carter’ case

    October 20, 2005

    By Kim Peterson at Student Press Law Center WASHINGTON D.C. — More than 30 groups are represented in three briefs filed this week urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal in the Hosty v. Carter case. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education filed a brief yesterday joined by 10 other free expression advocacy groups, including several that have defended the rights of campus conservatives. Journalism education groups and some of the nation’s top journalism schools filed their own brief today. The Student Press Law Center, joined by 14 student and professional news media organizations, filed a brief […]

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  • Assault on College Press

    October 17, 2005

    By Harvey Silverglate at The National Law Journal Independent college journalism may soon be a relic of the past—on a par with typewriters and eight-track cassette players—in at least three states, and potentially throughout the country. This past summer, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which presides over Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, applied to colleges and universities the censorship rules designated years ago by the Supreme Court to govern elementary and high school journalism. The implications are far-reaching and severe: Public university administrators, seemingly more sensitive than ever to criticism, as well as to dissent against prevailing opinion, no […]

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  • College newspapers fight for rights

    September 22, 2005

    By Erin France at The Daily Tar Heel The U.S. Supreme Court received a petition Tuesday to review a case from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that could affect free press policies on college campuses nationwide. The 7th circuit overturned a lower court decision this summer that ruled in favor of Margaret Hosty, who sued Patricia Carter, then dean of student affairs and services at Governors State University in Illinois, for censoring the school newspaper. The move was criticized by several First Amendment watch groups. Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, said the case […]

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  • Supreme Court asked to take up college-press case

    September 20, 2005

    First Amendment Center The U.S. Supreme Court could define and clarify how much First Amendment protection college and university newspapers possess — if it accepts review in the highly watched case Hosty v. Carter. In June 2005, the full panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Patricia Carter, a dean at Governor’s State University in Illinois, was entitled to qualified immunity from a lawsuit filed by three former student journalists for The Innovator, a student newspaper. That decision conflicted with decisions by a federal district court and a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit. The three […]

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  • Wronging student rights

    September 3, 2005

    By Greg Lukianoff in The Boston Globe As summer ends and college students return to campus, a number of dreadful court decisions may cause them to wonder if their rights have taken a permanent vacation. While the past decades have hardly been a golden age for student rights, there was good reason to be optimistic in recent years. Speech codes fell at colleges from New York to California, the Department of Education finally clarified that “harassment” does not mean just being offended, and Texas Tech University had to admit that its lone 20-foot-wide “free speech gazebo” was inadequate space for […]

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  • Free Speech Groups Worry ‘Hosty’ Ruling Will Scale Back Students’ First Amendment Rights

    June 23, 2005

    By Sean Hill at Student Press Law Center Media and free speech groups warn that a decision this week by a federal appeals court could have damaging consequences for free speech on college and university campuses. “It is a sad day for journalism in the United States,” Society of Professional Journalists President Irwin Gratz said in a statement in response to Monday’s decision in Hosty v. Carter. “In the states covered by this ruling, students will now spend eight years with prior review and censorship as part of their journalistic experience.” The Society was among a group of 25 free […]

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  • Free Press 101

    December 1, 2003

    By Erich Wasserman at Arbiter Online

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  • Illinois State Legislature Passes Student Press Bill

    June 8, 2007

    The Chicago Tribune reported (registration required) yesterday that the Illinois State Legislature has passed the College Campus Press Act, a bill that the Tribune reported “would allow college student journalists to write articles without fear that college officials could censor or bar publication of their work.” State Senator Susan Garrett, sponsor of the bill, said, “It just made sense to me that college journalists should have the same types of opportunities to present their materiadivl as journalists in the professional media…They shouldn’t be subjected to prior review by public university administrations, because that really stifles free speech.” The bill, which […]

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  • Journalism Association Condemns Press Freedom Violations

    August 16, 2006

    Yesterday, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reported the August 4 decision by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) to censure a community college in New Jersey for violating freedom of the press. Ocean Community College (OCC) has already been censured by the College Media Advisers, Inc. (CMA), a national organization that advocates for best practices among college media outlets.   According to the SPLC, the AEJMC passed the resolution of censure following the OCC Board of Trustees’ December decision not to renew student newspaper advisor Karen Bosley’s contract.   Bosley’s “offense” was allowing the newspaper […]

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  • Student Press in Jeopardy with ‘Hosty’

    March 3, 2006

    As we reported last week, FIRE is disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided not to hear Hosty v. Carter, thereby upholding the Seventh Circuit’s 2005 decision to allow public university administrators to censor student newspapers. The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) issued a press release this week airing student editors’ reactions. This decision has gained new importance in light of the recent debate surrounding the publishing of the Danish Mohammed cartoons. The Seventh Circuit encompasses Indiana, Wisconsin, and Illinois, and in Illinois alone, two controversies have arisen regarding the public display of the cartoons. At the University of Chicago, […]

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  • FIRE Disappointed with Supreme Court’s Refusal to Take ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    February 24, 2006

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is deeply disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear an appeal of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s opinion in Hosty v. Carter, leaving student newspapers at public universities in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin vulnerable to administrative censorship. “Hosty v. Carter is simply the most harmful Court of Appeals decision regarding student freedom of speech in higher education to come down in a generation,” stated FIRE Interim President Greg Lukianoff. “The Supreme Court passed up an important opportunity to vindicate student rights and restore clarity […]

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  • ‘Inside Higher Ed’ on ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    February 22, 2006

    As Torch readers know, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear the appeal in Hosty v. Carter, a crucially important student free speech case. Inside Higher Education has published a great article by David Epstein on the Court’s decision: In [Hosty], the court found that Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, which held that a high school principal had the right to regulate a school paper, applies to publications that colleges put money toward, too. The Seventh Circuit decision called the Innovator, which was paid for with student activities fees, “a subsidized” newspaper, and said that since the university […]

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  • Supreme Court Denies Appeal in ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    February 21, 2006

    FIRE is gravely disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided not to grant cert in the case of Hosty v. Carter.  As the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reports: February 21, 2006 WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Supreme Court announced this morning that it will not hear a case that questioned the authority of administrators at an Illinois university to censor a student newspaper that published articles critical of the school. The Court rejected a request by former student journalists at Governors State University in Illinois to review a lower court decision that could give university officials in three Midwestern states the authority […]

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  • Down to the Wire in ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    February 1, 2006

    The Supreme Court is set to decide, in conference on February 17, whether it will take up the case of Hosty v. Carter, the infamous case that extends Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier to colleges and universities and could allow administrators to censor student newspapers. The Court has already shown interest in the case by asking the Illinois attorney general to file a brief in response to the petition for writ of certiorari. The Illinois attorney general did so on December 28 and Hosty’s attorneys filed an excellent response to that brief on January 18. FIRE has already joined the […]

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  • Supreme Court Extends Deadline in ‘Hosty v. Carter’ Case

    November 29, 2005

    Here is the latest update on the Hosty v. Carter case from our friends over at the Student Press Law Center: November 28, 2005 WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Supreme Court has given attorneys for an Illinois college administrator sued for censoring the school’s student newspaper another month to file a response to the students’ petition asking the Court to hear the case. The deadline for a response from former Governors State University Dean Patricia Carter was set for today, but it has been pushed back to Dec. 28, according to the Supreme Court’s Web site. Because of the new deadline, the Court will […]

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  • Encouraging News in ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    November 2, 2005

    As loyal Torch readers know, FIRE is at war with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ dangerous opinion in Hosty v. Carter. So far, both FIRE cofounder Harvey Silverglate and I have written op-eds condemning it, FIRE has issued a policy statement explaining why it was such a dangerous opinion, and two weeks ago we filed an amicus brief joined by nearly a dozen groups requesting that the Supreme Court review and overturn the decision. The threat this opinion poses to campus freedoms can hardly be overstated. As Harvey wrote: Independent college journalism may soon be a relic of the […]

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  • SPLC and Dozens of Other Groups File Two More Amicus Briefs Opposing ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    October 21, 2005

    As we announced on Wednesday, FIRE authored an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider and reject the Seventh Circuit’s decision in Hosty v. Carter. On Thursday, FIRE’s brief was joined by two more terrific briefs asking the Court to consider and reject the Hosty decision. The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) and attorney Richard M. Goehler authored a brief on behalf of the following organizations: Student Press Law Center American Society of Newspaper Editors Associated Collegiate Press Associated Press Managing Editors College Media Advisers College Newspaper Business and Advertising Managers Community College Journalism Association Independent Press Association/Campus […]

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  • ‘Hosty v. Carter’: Promise Kept, Brief Filed

    October 19, 2005

    On September 19, FIRE made a promise. Here is what our press release said: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is rallying opposition to Hosty v. Carter, a recent Seventh Circuit decision that could be used to severely restrict student speech. On Friday, the plaintiffs’ attorney filed the formal petition to the United States Supreme Court to reverse the ruling, and today FIRE releases its policy statement condemning the opinion. FIRE also plans to file an amicus brief and is seeking to forge a broad coalition opposing the decision. Well, we kept our promise. Today, we filed our […]

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  • FIRE Files Brief Urging Supreme Court to Hear Student Newspaper Censorship Case

    October 19, 2005

    WASHINGTON, October 19, 2005—Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to hear an appeal of Hosty v. Carter, a Seventh Circuit decision that poses a grave threat to student press freedom. “The Seventh Circuit’s decision in Hosty v. Carter has the potential to destroy freedom of the press on campus,” declared FIRE President David French. “We hope that the Supreme Court will intervene and undo this potentially disastrous opinion.” FIRE’s brief was joined by a remarkable coalition of nonprofit groups including Accuracy in Academia, the American Council of Trustees and […]

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  • More Bad News for Student Press Freedom

    September 27, 2005

    Evidence has begun to roll in showing that the freedom of the student press is under assault as never before. It’s certainly bad enough that our own federal court system is attacking the free campus press through the Seventh Circuit’s en banc decision in Hosty v. Carter (now being appealed to the Supreme Court)—but hold on, it gets worse. In just the last few days, FIRE has become aware of not one, not two, but three different assaults on campus press freedom that have taken place since the beginning of the school year—and it’s only the end of September. Our […]

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  • FIRE v. ‘Hosty’

    September 19, 2005

    As our press release today attests, FIRE, along with the Student Press Law Center, is leading the charge against a recent and very misguided court decision called Hosty v. Carter. FIRE has been involved in this case for quite some time, which initially received a very favorable ruling from the Seventh Circuit. Unfortunately, the Seventh Circuit reversed itself en banc earlier this summer in a ruling that should gravely concern all those who care about student rights. The plaintiffs’ attorney filed a certiorari petition Friday—asking the Supreme Court to take the case—and FIRE is now assembling a coalition of like-minded […]

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  • Seventh Circuit Decision Threatens Student Press Freedom

    September 19, 2005

    PHILADELPHIA, September 19, 2005—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is rallying opposition to Hosty v. Carter, a recent Seventh Circuit decision that could be used to severely restrict student speech.  On Friday, the plaintiffs’ attorney filed the formal petition to the United States Supreme Court to reverse the ruling, and today FIRE releases its policy statement condemning the opinion.  FIRE also plans to file an amicus brief and is seeking to forge a broad coalition opposing the decision. “Hosty is a grave threat to liberty on campus,” declared FIRE President David French.  “The decision stands against a long […]

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  • FIRE Policy Statement on ‘Hosty v. Carter’

    September 19, 2005

    SUMMARY OF FIRE’S POSITION The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s en banc opinion in Hosty v. Carter, No. 01-4155 (7th Cir. June 20, 2005), is a poorly conceived opinion that, if upheld, will do serious harm to freedom of speech on campus far beyond the realm of student media. The Court ruled that a dean of students who exercised prior restraint over a student newspaper—unequivocally because of its viewpoint—is entitled to immunity from liability. It also decided that the logic of Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier—an opinion that has been used to drastically curtail the rights of high school […]

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  • FIRE Starts Off the School Year with a Bang

    September 6, 2005

    People often mention the “dog days of August.” Supposedly it’s a long, hot month during which most people are on vacation and nothing really happens, especially in the media. But it seems Greg Lukianoff, FIRE’s director of legal and public advocacy, didn’t get that memo. Dog days or not, Greg managed to author three important op-eds that are now being published—in Inside Higher Ed, the Boston Globe, and the Chronicle of Higher Education—just as many students are heading back to their campuses and, unfortunately, having their rights violated. Greg’s Inside Higher Ed article (co-written with FIRE summer legal intern Azhar […]

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  • ‘Hosty’ Opinion Criticized in the ‘Village Voice’

    August 3, 2005

    Check out “Whitewash U,” an article by John Guifo about the recent, disastrous opinion in Hosty v. Carter in yesterday’s Village Voice: Imagine for a moment that you are a university administrator in charge of maintaining your school’s public image, when one day you are given the power to control the content of your college’s newspaper. Not only are you given editorial control, mind you, but prior review editorial control. Don’t like that shrill exposé of cafeteria health violations? Best to take that one out before the issue goes to print. Has a colleague been identified in the paper as […]

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  • SPLC: ‘Student Media Experts React to Governors State University Ruling’

    June 24, 2005

    Check out the Student Press Law Center’s latest article on the troubling decision in Hosty v. Carter. Addressing commentators who do not see to the decision as particularly threatening to free speech on campus I was quoted, ‘Far, far smaller loopholes with regards to the First Amendment rights of students have been exploited to censor what used to be considered clearly protected speech.’ The article continues: Lukianoff said free speech on college campuses needs broad protections, because if ambiguity exists, people will capitalize on that and try to silence uncomfortable or unagreeable speech. “As much as people like to think […]

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