Location: Lake Charles, Louisiana
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit
McNeese 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
Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
McNeese State University defines bullying as “engaging in actions which cause another person to experience a reasonable fear that he or she will experience unauthorized social exclusion, humiliation, intimidation, or the unlawful use of physical force.” Such behavior violates the McNeese State University Code of Ethics which clearly states that all employees will be treated with dignity and respect.
Bullying may be intentional or unintentional. However, it must be noted that where an allegation of bullying is made, the intention of the alleged bully is irrelevant, and will not be given consideration when appropriate disciplinary action is needed. As in sexual harassment, it is the effect of the behavior upon the individual-especially the establishment of fear that a reasonable person would experience-which is important. McNeese State University considers the following types of behavior examples of bullying:
- Verbal Bullying: slandering, ridiculing or maligning a person or his/her family; persistent name calling which is hurtful, insulting or humiliating; using a person as the butt of jokes; remarks that would be viewed by others in the community as abusive and offensive; persistently interrupting another person or otherwise preventing another person’s legitimate attempts to speak; use of nicknames after being warned that the nickname is considered by the victim to be offensive; constant criticism on matters unrelated to a person’s job performance or description or on matters that cannot be documented;
- Physical Bullying: pushing; shoving; kicking; poking; tripping; assault, or threat of physical assault; damage to a person’s work area or property
- Gesture Bullying: non-verbal threatening gestures, such as, but not limited to, the following: approaching another person with fists clinched or with one or more other fighting gestures which could reasonably be interpreted as threatening; brandishing a weapon; making gestures that would reasonably be interpreted as amorous or sexual in nature.
- Social Bullying (which may include Cyber-bullying): engaging in verbal bullying via mail, email, text message, phone, or voicemail; deliberately interfering with mail, email, text messages, phone, voicemail or other communication; spreading malicious rumors or gossip about another person; manipulating the workload of another person in a manner designed to cause that person to fail to perform his or her legitimate functions; inflicting menial tasks on an employee not in keeping with the employee’s normal responsibilities.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
The University actively seeks to create a learning community characterized by scholarship, mutual respect, free exchange of ideas, and appreciation of the diverse viewpoints present within the campus environment. Students and their guests are expected to embrace this effort by interacting, speaking and otherwise communicating with one another in ways that convey professionalism, mutual respect and collegiality at all times.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Abuse—Physical or mental abuse or the threat thereof against any person (s) which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any such person (s). …
Harassment—Mental, emotional, sexual or verbal harassment.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Sexual Harassment means unwelcome conduct, based on sex or gender stereotypes, which is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with a person’s University employment, academic performance or participation in University programs or activities and creates an atmosphere or environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.
Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unsolicited, deliberate, or repeated:
- Touching, sexual flirtation, advances or propositions which are not welcomed and/or desired;
- Unwelcome jokes, stories, comments, innuendos, or other sexually oriented statements which are specifically designed to embarrass or humiliate through their sexual subject matter content;
- Unwelcome sexual communication such as graphic or degrading comments about one’s gender related to personal appearance;
- Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other offensive verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature;
- Unwelcome display of sexually explicit materials, objects or pictures in an individual’s place of work or study;
- Creating or arranging situations specifically designed to violate privacy in an unwelcome and undesired manner.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
As a publicly-supported institution within the University of Louisiana System, McNeese State University values the publicly accessible nature of its campus and facilities and embraces the free and open exchange of ideas in the context of a diverse community of teachers and learners.
[T]he University strongly encourages its students, faculty, and staff to engage in vigorous and collegial debate and discussion within the context of classroom instruction, formal and informal interactions with others, and in social interactions throughout the campus. University students and employees may freely communicate their ideas through the exchange of verbal and written communications and through formal and informal gatherings on the campus at any time and are encouraged to do so in a manner that does not interfere with the University’s capacity to administer its core values of teaching and learning, research, public service, and student success.
July 9, 2007
The island nation of Singapore has a reputation for zealously regulating the daily life of its citizens. It has banned chewing gum and levies stiff fines for failure to flush public toilets. And when it comes to free speech, Singaporeans must use a heavily restricted “Speakers’ Corner” and limit their discourse to uncontroversial topics—and only then after registering with the local police station. Pretty un-American, right? Not so fast. Shockingly, public universities across this country are taking their cues on regulating student speech from Singapore’s repressive civic culture. For example, speech at McNeese State in Louisiana is governed by the […]» Read More
July 8, 2007
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education at www.thefire.org wants you to know that McNeese State University has announced it “embraces the free and open exchange of ideas.”As long as the student speaks in one of two zones, no more than once a week for a maximum of two hours, during daylight hours but not on weekends, with a permit obtained at least 72 hours in advance.» Read More
May 29, 2009
One of FIRE’s worst Speech Codes of the Month ever—McNeese State University’s “Public Forum” policy—has been updated in another FIRE victory for the freedoms of speech and association. The policy now clarifies that students on campus enjoy the freedom to protest and demonstrate, a freedom to which they are legally and morally entitled. Long time Torch readers may remember the original policy from July 2007, when we first highlighted it as our Speech Code of the Month. As we wrote at the time, This public university in Louisiana maintains a set of “Public Forum Regulations” that quarantine free speech to […]» Read More
July 9, 2007
Check out today’s Campus Alert in the New York Post, where we highlight similarities between Singapore’s overly zealous regulation of public life and the tactics often used by American universities trying to stifle student speech. As Samantha pointed out in a recent blog, to speak freely in Singapore, citizens must use a “Speakers’ Corner”—a small, designated area where available times and topics are limited. Similarly, many American public universities keep “free speech zones” where students’ speech is limited to a designated area for a certain time and often pending administrative approval. As Campus Alert points out: For example, speech at […]» Read More
July 3, 2007
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for July 2007: McNeese State University. This public university in Louisiana maintains a set of “Public Forum Regulations” that quarantine free speech to just two areas of campus and place onerous restrictions on the use of those areas. The regulations provide that students may exercise their right to speak and demonstrate—a right guaranteed to students of this public institution by the First Amendment—in just two “zones”: Zone A: The grassy lawn area, surrounded by pavement on all sides, located in the southeast section of the Quad between the Student Union Annex and […]» Read More
June 28, 2007
When you think of a place where order takes precedence over liberty, where the government regulates every minute aspect of civil life, you may well think of Singapore. Over the years, Singapore has made the news for everything from caning an American teenager for vandalism to banning chewing gum to fining people for failing to flush public toilets. But if you think Singapore and the United States don’t have much in common, think again. We need only look to that supposed bastion of liberty—the American university—to find common ground. Singapore maintains a Speakers’ Corner (you can see a picture» Read More