Location: Normal, Illinois
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit
Illinois 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
To be a student at Illinois State University, we expect you to recognize the strength of personal differences, while respecting institutional values. You are encouraged to think and act for yourself, as that is the purpose of higher education. However, we expect you to understand that the University has non-negotiable values in which it believes strongly. These values include:
• An Appreciation of Diversity
• Individual and Social Responsibility
These values are the hallmark of the University, and will be protected diligently. Each person has the right and ability to make decisions about his or her own conduct. Just as importantly, each person has the responsibility to accept the consequences of those decisions. When individual behavior conflicts with the values of the University, the individual must choose whether to adapt his or her behavior to meet the needs of the community or to leave the University.
Harassment can be:
- Verbal, nonverbal, or physical
- Exclusion based upon personal or group differences
- Intimidation or humiliation based on personal or group differences
- Abusive language, threats, or similar acts of bigotry, racism, sexism, or discrimination
- Jokes, comments, gossip or graffiti that perpetuate personal or group myths, fallacies, prejudices, or stereotypes
- Any subtle or direct references based on race, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or religion which demean, exclude, intimidate, or adversely affect an individual(s)
- Unsolicited e-mail or telephone calls containing abusive language and/or threats which cause discomfort or are derogatory or sexual in nature
- Unsolicited, deliberate or repeated sexually derogatory statements, gestures or physical contact which are objectionable to the recipient and which cause discomfort or humiliation pressure from a person of either sex against a person of the opposite or same sex
As defined by law, the term “sexual harassment” refers to uninvited and unwelcome physical, verbal, or non-verbal behavior of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe or pervasive such that it interferes with an individual’s participation in a University program or activity or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment. Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, sexual advances, repeated date requests, sexual gestures, sexual cartoons or images, discussions about sexual activity, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Whether the harassing conduct is considered severe or pervasive depends upon the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location(s) in which the behavior occurred, as well as, the identity, number, and relationships of the persons involved.
While not all-inclusive, the following behavior is generally considered “conduct of a sexual nature” that, if unwelcome, may be characterized as sexual harassment:
- Sexual Comments, Questions, Discussions, or Statements: Comments regarding physical attributes, sexual or “dirty” jokes, discussions about sexual activity or sexual performance, distributing sexually explicit pictures, drawings, or written material, and sexual hand and facial gestures.
Engaging in conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person, or creates in such person a reasonable fear that
such a result will occur, including but not limited to: … engaging in any action which is unwanted and results in a reasonable fear for imminent bodily harm and/or the emotional/mental disruption of a person’s daily life or educational environment.
UHS allows registered student organizations and University departments to post fliers and posters in designated public areas with the following stipulations: … 2. The poster/flier does not contain references to alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs, or to any event, activity, program, or sponsor whose purpose or activity is the sale, use, or promotion of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. 3. The poster/flier does not contain profanity.
Additional examples of other inappropriate communications include but are not limited to, the following: … Any communication that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person, or creates in such person a reasonable fear that such will occur, including but not limited to, an individual being fearful of bodily or emotional/mental harm.
Illinois State University will not tolerate harassing behavior related to one’s race, color, ancestry, and national origin that is sufficiently severe or pervasive such that it interferes with an individual’s participation in a University program or activity or unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment. Whether the harassing conduct is considered severe or pervasive depends upon the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location(s) in which the behavior occurred, as well as, the identity, number, and relationships of the persons involved.
Unconstitutional speech codes, the ACLU wants to defend the government, student debt rising and dodgeball
September 28, 2012
This month, Illinois State University (ISU) joined several other public universities facing criticism, and possible legal challenges, over their restrictive speech codes. The school’s code requires students to conform to the school’s beliefs about civility, diversity and individual and social responsibility, according to a report on CampusReform.org. Students who don’t conform can get with the program or leave, the code says: “When individual behavior conflicts with the values of the University, the individual must choose whether to adapt his or her behavior to meet the needs of the community or to leave the University.” Free speech advocates Foundation for Individual […]» Read More
January 15, 2013
In an article published Friday on the website for WJBC radio (“The Voice of Central Illinois”), Illinois State University (ISU) pushes back on FIRE’s decision to name one of its policies our Speech Code of the Month for September 2012. While we appreciate the university’s attention to this important matter, its response is misguided and should be corrected here. The policy in question, found in ISU’s Code of Student Conduct (PDF), is titled “To Be an Illinois State University Student.” It sets forth a list of “non-negotiable values” at ISU, including “civility,” “an appreciation of diversity,” and “individual and social […]» Read More
December 27, 2012
Each month, FIRE singles out a particularly reprehensible campus speech code for our Speech Code of the Month designation. While all of 2012′s Speech Codes of the Month flagrantly violated students’ and faculty members’ right to free expression, two of them were so egregious that they deserve special mention as 2012′s Speech Codes of the Year. Oakland University. At Oakland University in Michigan, the policy on “Telephones” (PDF) provides that “No person shall use any telephone or other communications device to harass, offend, or disturb any other person, nor shall any person use threatening, obscene, immoral, or insulting language over […]» Read More