Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit
Indiana University – Bloomington has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement[W]e will not tolerate any form of bigotry, harassment, intimidation, threat, or abuse, whether verbal or written, physical or psychological, direct or implied. ... We will respond to such behavior in an appropriate manner, recognizing that education is our most powerful tool.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, StatementA student who
accepts admission to Indiana University agrees to: ... behave in a manner that is respectful of the dignity of others, treating others with
civility and understanding....
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, StatementAn Outdoor Campus Event Registration Form, available at Student Activities, must be submitted
to Student Activities a minimum of ten business days prior to the event.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, StatementAt any time, an organization or student may exercise his/her right to free speech in Dunn Meadow. No
reservation forms are necessary. Dunn Meadow is the only space on campus designated by the IU Board of
Trustees as a spontaneous free speech area.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, StatementThe following are guidelines for the use of the Assembly Ground.
The Board of Trustees has designated an area on Dunn Meadow immediately north of the Indiana
Memorial Union as the Indiana University Assembly Ground. The University community
supports that decision and the policy that students, staff and faculty of the University may
express any point of view on a subject in the Assembly Ground, with or without advance notice,
within the limits of applicable laws and regulations.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementVerbal abuse of another person, including the following:
a. An express or implied threat to:
(1) Interfere with an individual's personal safety, academic efforts, employment,
or participation in university-sponsored activities and that under the
circumstances causes the person to have a reasonable apprehension that
such harm is about to occur; or
(2) Injure that person, or damage his or her property; or
b. "Fighting words" that are spoken face-to-face as a personal insult to the listener
or listeners in personally abusive language inherently likely to provoke a violent
reaction by the listener or listeners to the speaker.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, StatementWriting offensive and/or inappropriate language or symbols on dry erase boards, walks, or other areas frequented by the public is prohibited.
Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct: Student Rights- Right to Freedom of Association, Expression, Advocacy and Publication 13-14
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementIn accordance with the state and federal Constitution and university policy, the university
recognizes the rights of all students to engage in discussion, to express thoughts and
opinions, and to assemble, speak, write, publish or invite speakers on any subject without
university interference or fear of university disciplinary action.
Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct: Student Rights- Right to Freedom from Harassment 13-14
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementDiscriminatory harassment is defined as conduct that targets an individual based upon age,
color, religion, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, sex or gender, sexual orientation,
marital status, or veteran's status and that adversely affects a term or condition of an
individual's education, housing, or participation in a university activity; or has the purpose
or effect of unreasonably creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for
academic pursuits, housing, or participation in university activities.
March 19, 2014
FIRE has successfully defended the First Amendment rights of Indiana University – Bloomington student Andrew Hsu, who was charged with “Personal Misconduct” on the basis of a single email sent to a faculty member. After FIRE intervened on Hsu’s behalf, making clear the university’s unconstitutional application of its misconduct policy to Hsu’s protected expression, the university dismissed all charges against Hsu and permanently closed his case. FIRE commends IU for taking prompt corrective action.» Read More
October 1, 2013
FIRE often exposes how colleges censor students—but last week, it was a student at Indiana University who decided to engage in some vigilante censorship by vandalizing a pro-life display. According to a student account, new student organization Students for Life at IU intended to have a peaceful demonstration on campus as part of an organized protest dubbed the “Planned Parenthood Project.” The trouble reportedly began when a student approached the demonstration, removed wooden crosses meant to represent the number of abortions performed daily by Planned Parenthood from the ground, and threw them into a trash can. (The student report includes a photo of this.) […]» Read More
September 6, 2013
There is little that will make a full-time free speech advocate prouder of his university than when the school comes out strongly in defense of free expression. Last week, in response to a protest by the campus’ registered chapter of the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN), administrators at my alma mater, Indiana University (IU), did just that. Though reports from my old stomping ground maintain that the group’s protest outside of a local bookstore was hateful and offensive, IU Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs James Wimbush correctly noted that members of TYN have a right to publicly express […]» Read More
April 18, 2013
At the behest of Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB) Provost Lauren Robel, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office in Bloomington, Indiana, announced on Tuesday that it will not file felony intimidation charges against IUB student Alex Carlisle. Carlisle turned himself in to police last week after a tweet he posted was interpreted as a death threat against Robel. The tweet, which read “Kill Provost Robel,” came alongside a retweet from the Twitter handle @IUonStrike. At first glance I could see how Carlisle’s tweet could raise some eyebrows. But for anyone who follows happenings at IUB closely, it should become quickly apparent that, in […]» Read More
September 17, 2012
What better way is there to celebrate Constitution Day than to go see a FIRE speaker? None, I say! Today, Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Azhar Majeed will be at Indiana University-Bloomington to talk with Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). The YAL chapter is holding a free speech wall event, and Azhar will be speaking afterwards in Ballantine Hall, room 005 at 7:00 p.m. Those of you in or near Chapel Hill, North Carolina can also catch a FIRE speaker tonight. Senior Vice President Robert Shibley will be delivering a lecture at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) […]» Read More
April 19, 2012
Writing for the Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University (IU) student and former FIRE intern Nico Perrino comments on a recent episode in which IU students heckled a campus speaker, Pastor Douglas Wilson, and prevented others from hearing him speak. The students evidently found his views so noxious that they were deemed unfit for airing at all on IU’s campus. This mob censorship seems to have been, as Nico puts it, “prejudice revealed by a crowd of people who have adopted a viewpoint and let it ferment for so long without going unchallenged that they regard themselves as maintaining a monopoly […]» Read More
March 1, 2012
In the Indiana Daily Student this week, former FIRE intern and senior Nico Perrino writes about free speech issues at his school, Indiana University-Bloomington (IU). His piece discusses the recent lawsuit filed by students at the University of Cincinnati challenging that campus’s restrictive “Free Speech Zone.” As Nico points out, IU has similar restrictions on how students can use public spaces on campus, limiting “free speech” to just two areas on campus and spontaneous events to just one. He writes compellingly about the confusion sown by contradictory and unevenly enforced policies: While it might seem like IU does not always […]» Read More
September 16, 2011
In the Indiana Daily Student this week, reporter Bailey Loosemore chronicles the ongoing efforts of Indiana University – Bloomington (IU) students to reform speech codes on their campus. Nico Perrino, an IU senior and former FIRE intern, started a committee with three other students last fall to challenge restrictive speech codes on IU’s campus. The article explains: One IU policy lists Dunn Meadow as a spontaneous free speech zone. Another states organizations must register to use the space 24 hours in advance. Yet another policy calls for registration 10 days prior. “Policies that force you to register ahead of time […]» Read More
February 28, 2011
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) reports today that Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB) has eliminated a policy that had prevented the Christian student group Impact Movement from receiving student activity fee funds to help pay for its attendance at a national conference. Previously, groups at IUB had been excluded from receiving funds for activities that involve “religious proselytizing” or for “sectarian events.” According to ADF’s press release: In December of last year, Impact Movement sought activity funding to send some of its members to its national conference. The university permits partial funding of conference attendance for members of registered student groups and […]» Read More
February 4, 2011
Connor Caudill at the Indiana Daily Student published a column this week highlighting FIRE’s recent memo explaining problematic speech codes at Indiana University-Bloomington (IU). Caudill was surprised to learn that “[m]any of the policies at IU that govern our free speech rights as students are prohibitive.” The article explains two major problems with IU’s policies. Caudill first discusses the Code of Students Rights and Responsibilities, noting that the IU definition of acceptable speech does not pass constitutional muster and that its “civility” language is mandatory rather than aspirational. (Public universities cannot constitutionally mandate that their students be “civil” at all […]» Read More
December 6, 2010
The Indiana Daily Student, a student newspaper at Indiana University-Bloomington (IU), has run an interesting series on the history of Dunn Meadow, described as “[a] right-angled triangle, 925 feet long by 407 feet wide, intersected by a natural stream,” which since 1962 has been a designated free speech area for the IU campus. Articles published throughout the week in the Daily Student have chronicled Dunn Meadow’s role in aiding the Vietnam War protesters in the 1960s, as well as the women’s and gay rights movements in recent decades. An interactive timeline shows images of various rallies, concerts, and vigils having […]» Read More
August 5, 2010
After the student newspaper at Indiana University-Bloomington (IU) ran an article recently about IU’s “yellow light” speech code rating, members of the IU student government have expressed their intention to work towards reforming IU’s speech codes and earning a “green light” rating from FIRE. This is wonderful news. Murat Kacan, chief of communications for the Indiana University Student Association (IUSA), told the Indiana Daily Student that IUSA vehemently opposes any University code or rule that seeks to restrict or infringe on any student’s rights to assemble, advocacy and expression. We hold the First Amendment to be amongst our greatest rights and have no tolerance towards […]» Read More
July 26, 2010
The Indiana Daily Student, the student newspaper for Indiana University-Bloomington (IU), published an article this week about the university’s yellow-light rating in Spotlight, FIRE’s speech code database. The article highlights several restrictive speech policies at IU, including the policy establishing a free speech zone. Reporter Nathan Miller quotes Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Speech Code Research, who wrote that “The right to engage in spontaneous expressive activity is an important aspect of the right to free speech, and this policy is unnecessarily restrictive.” Miller also cites the preamble to IU’s Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct as another yellow-light […]» Read More
January 12, 2007
Even though Johns Hopkins University reduced Justin Park’s punishment and he now considers the matter resolved, the university is still taking hits in the press. Today, the Indiana Daily Student published an opinion piece criticizing Hopkins for ignoring the free speech rights of its students. Columnist Edward Delp discussed the Hopkins case and other similar incidents at neighboring schools by using FIRE’s Spotlight as a resource. He concluded by stating exactly why freedom of speech on college campuses is so important: Institutions of higher education are supposed to promote the free exchange of ideas, but nowadays there seems to be […]» Read More