Grand Valley State University

Location: Allendale, Michigan
Website: http://www.gvsu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

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.

Red Light Policies

  • Bias Incident Protocol Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    Anytime anyone in the Grand Valley community feels belittled, disrespected, threatened, or unsafe because of whom they are, the entire university community is diminished. That’s why it’s important to respond to and report all bias incidents — even those intended as jokes.

    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.

    Bias incidents take many forms – words, signs, symbols, threats or actions – electronic or real time. They include intimidation, vandalism, destruction of property, harassment, and expressions of hate or hostility; they have an adverse impact on a learning environment that is inclusive of all. Bias incidents are distinguished in the following ways.

     

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Code: Rules and Regulations 13-14

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

    No person shall engage in obscene conduct or expression on University owned or controlled property or at University sponsored or supervised functions.

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  • Student Code: Student Rights and Responsibilities- Speakers and Topics 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    [S]tudents and student organizations must take reasonable precautions for the safe and orderly conduct of speakers and the audience. Where a controversial speaker is likely to generate demonstrations from other student groups, the sponsoring organization must recognize the rights of other groups and consider the impact of inviting each speaker on the orderly and lawful functioning of the University.

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  • Student Code: Rules and Regulations- Posting of Notices and Literature 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    All notices posted on bulletin boards shall not be lewd, indecent, vulgar, or obscene.

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  • Anti-Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment is unprofessional conduct that could reasonably be understood as (1) having the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, (2) having the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or access to educational activities and programs, (3) otherwise adversely affecting an individual’s employment opportunities or access to educational activities and programs.

    Harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran status, or weight is considered a violation of university policy.

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  • Affirmative Action: Frequently Asked Questions 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment, including same-sex sexual harassment, is any unwanted attention of a sexual nature from someone in the workplace or classroom that causes discomfort or interferes with work or academic performance.

    Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

    • Submission to such conduct is made-either explicitly or implicitly- a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment or participation in any college activity;
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for or factor in decision;s affecting an individual;s employment, education, living environment, or participation in any college activity;
    • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonable interfering with an individual’s employment or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive environment for that individual’s employment education, living environment, or participation in any college activity.

    Some examples that may constitute sexual harassment are:
    Repeated request or pressures for dates
    Unwanted offensive contacts outside the workplace
    Disparaging sexual remarks about one’s gender or sexual orientation, that unreasonably interfere with the individual’s learning or working.
    Physical aggression such as pinching or patting
    Verbal sexual abuse disguised as fun
    Offensive sexual jokes

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  • Faculty Handbook: Faculty Responsibilities and Workload 13-14

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

    In keeping with its 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.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Code: Demonstrations, Assemblages and Other Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    The University recognizes the right of the 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 University.

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  • Student Code: Inquiry and Expression 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Students collectively or individually should have the freedom to examine and discuss all questions that are of interest to them and to express opinion publicly as well as privately. They should always be free to support causes by orderly means.

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  • Student Services Division: Context for Free Speech 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Sometimes individuals or groups express ideas that upset others in the GVSU community. The question has been asked, why do we let this happen on our campus? Grand Valley is a public university that is obligated to uphold the tenants [sic] of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, a basic condition for achieving a liberal education includes freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas through open communication.

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  • Anti-Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when … such conduct is unprofessional and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.

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  • Campus Hate Crime Hoaxes: A Best-Of List

    December 17, 2014

    By Michael Cipriano at The College Fix From New Jersey to Wyoming, college campuses around the country have been plagued with hate crime hoaxes in recent years. Sometimes justified as trying to raise awareness for progressive social causes, the hoaxes often worked. The College Fix compiled this list of recent university hate crime hoaxes. Racist Facebook messages posted by student himself – November 2014 A University of Chicago student admitted to posting racist and violent messages against himself on his Facebook page after claiming his account was hacked. The elaborate hoax was an attempt to shame the school into making policy changes addressing race […]

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  • Baking With Fire

    April 18, 2005

    The enemies of campus bake sales are at it again, inflaming one another over the dire threat of cupcakes and cookies sold at different prices to whites, minorities, and women. The sales are political parody, of course, poking fun at affirmative action policies and trying to get a debate going. Campus orthodoxy holds that such policies are sacred and that any dissent, even in the form of satirical cookie prices, is illegitimate and deserving of suppression. When members of a Republican club staged a bake sale March 21 at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Mich., several students said they […]

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  • Admins at ‘Red Light’ Schools Claim to Value Free Speech, But Policies Suggest Otherwise

    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 […]

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  • Support Pours in for Grand Valley State Student Journalist Harangued by Administrators

    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 […]

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  • Grand Valley State Administrators Attack Newspaper Staff for Criticizing Donor Handling

    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, […]

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  • Victory for Freedom of Conscience at Grand Valley State University: Music Department Axes Political Litmus Test

    July 28, 2009

    Grand Valley State University (GVSU) has promised to remove “demonstrated commitment to the principles of diversity” from the stated job requirements for prospective faculty seeking appointment to GVSU’s Department of Music. The department will restate its requirements in terms of relevant experience, not vaguely worded personal commitments regarding a controversial political issue. The change, which came after FIRE asked GVSU to restore freedom of conscience on its campus, is a fresh reminder to public universities that they cannot require prospective faculty to demonstrate personal commitment to “the principles of diversity,” any more than they can require a commitment to “patriotism,” […]

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  • Victory for Freedom of Conscience at Grand Valley State University: Music Department Axes Political Litmus Test

    July 28, 2009

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 28, 2009—Grand Valley State University (GVSU) has promised to remove “demonstrated commitment to the principles of diversity” from the stated job requirements for faculty seeking appointment to GVSU’s Department of Music. The department will restate its requirements in terms of relevant experience, not vaguely worded personal commitments regarding a controversial political issue. The change came after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) asked GVSU to restore freedom of conscience on its campus. “We have reminded public universities time and time again that they cannot require that prospective faculty demonstrate personal commitment to ‘the principles […]

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  • FIRE Remembers September 11

    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 limitations […]

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  • FIRE Gets Results

    April 8, 2005

    Today’s FIRE press release celebrates a victory for free speech and expression at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), where students were threatened with punishment if they held an affirmative action bake sale protest. If you’re not familiar with these protests, we explain them in our press release, so take a look there. Unfortunately, the victory at NEIU is matched with a blow to free speech at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan, where students under pressure from the administration buckled and apologized for exercising their First Amendment rights. Most of those who read FIRE’s blog and follow our work are people […]

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  • Bake Sale Battles Continue: FIRE Gains Victory at NEIU, Turns Sights on Grand Valley State University

    April 8, 2005

    CHICAGO, April 8, 2005—In a victory for free speech on campus, Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) has decided to allow the College Republicans to hold an affirmative action bake sale protest on campus with “no preconditions.”  The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) received written confirmation of the change on Wednesday afternoon, less than 36 hours after publicizing NEIU’s unconstitutional threat to punish the College Republicans if they held the protest.  At the same time that NEIU changed course, however, FIRE learned that Grand Valley State University (GVSU) in Michigan was proceeding with plans to try the GVSU College Republicans […]

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