Location: Allendale, Michigan
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
Grand Valley 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.
April 6, 2005
Students at GVSU were threatened with possible punishment for holding an affirmative action bake sale protest. Complaining students charged the College Republicans with violating a variety of GVSU regulations, most having to do with “discrimination.” FIRE wrote GVSU president Mark Murray to protest the censorship. Unfortunately, under pressure from the administration, the College Republicans chose to eject their leadership and apologize for holding the event in the hope that the school would not issue any sanctions against the group.» Read More
Red Light Policies
Bias incidents can cause alarm, anger, fear, or resentment in others or endanger the health, safety, or welfare of anyone in the university community. They are directed toward an individual or group because of their race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, religion, familial status, marital status, disability, age, height, weight or veteran status.
responsibility to provide a congenial atmosphere in which all students have an equal opportunity to
learn, the University disapproves of and seeks to eliminate discriminatory behavior directed against
individuals. Such behavior, which may take the form of statements, jokes, examples, and
illustrations that reveal stereotypic and discriminatory attitudes, is considered inappropriate.
individual or of groups to disagree with national,
state, local, and the University laws, policies, or
positions. Persons have the right to lawful assembly and to express their concerns in ways which
do not involve substantial disorder or do not materially and substantially interfere with the rights of
others, or with the normal functions of the
February 4, 2014
Last month, FIRE released its 2014 report on campus speech codes, which revealed that 59% of the 427 colleges and universities analyzed maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict constitutionally protected speech. When quizzed recently by student journalists about their institution’s speech codes, administrators at “red light” institutions Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) protested their ratings, arguing that their schools value and protect free expression. But these administrators should remember that written policies prohibiting protected speech still threaten free expression regardless of whether a school’s current administration pledges to uphold First Amendment principles. Though JHU […]» Read More
January 17, 2014
We recently brought you the unfortunate story of Grand Valley State University (GVSU) student and Grand Valley Lanthorn student newspaper editor-in-chief Lizzy Balboa, who was beleaguered by campus administrators for publishing an editorial expressing concern that GVSU might be prioritizing donor appeasement over education, free speech rights, and academic freedom. Shockingly, administrators reportedly told Balboa that she was unworthy of her scholarship because she was “ungrateful,” and suggested that the Lanthorn retract its editorial and publish puff pieces expressing gratitude to donors. FIRE has since been told that the administrator who called Balboa’s personal cell phone to dress her down for the editorial was none other than GVSU […]» Read More
January 14, 2014
It is no secret that many colleges and universities are heavily reliant on the financial generosity of alumni, and often even large corporate or institutional interests. While this is not itself necessarily problematic, it can serve as a terrible incentive for administrators to stifle speech that might offend financial supporters or otherwise dissuade them from giving. The very real nature of this risk was made clear with a startling report today from the Grand Valley Lanthorn, a student newspaper, about the reprehensible actions of administrators at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan. On December 5, the Lanthorn published an editorial opposing GVSU’s increasing practice of naming buildings, rooms, […]» Read More
September 11, 2007
Today, FIRE joins individuals across America and around the world in reflecting upon the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As university students and professors from Maine to California host commemorations today to remember those who suffered and died six years ago, we take a moment to look back at how those events played out on campus in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, and how their legacy continues to affect us today. In the wake of the tragedy, FIRE was called on to defend liberty on campus as many universities reacted to the cataclysmic circumstances with sometimes shocking […]» Read More