Montana State University – Bozeman

Location: Bozeman, Montana
Website: http://www.montana.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Montana State University – Bozeman 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.

This school does not have any cases at this time.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Residence Hall Handbook: Decorations/Room Displays 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Possessions or displays which are inconsistent with accepted standards or University policies should not be displayed on the outside of room doors or in general view of the public. This includes your room windows. For example, posters of nude men or women, and harassing or intimidating visual materials are generally considered inappropriate. Some room displays in public view may constitute a violation of University policies regarding racial and sexual harassment.

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  • Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Retaliation 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Please do not wait to report conduct of concern until harassment becomes sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) to create a hostile environment. The RO can take proactive steps to prevent harassment from continuing and perhaps escalating and to protect or otherwise assist the person harassed. For example, in the case of a student experiencing harassment, the University can arrange for no-contact orders, counseling and changes in class schedules, living arrangements, class requirements, and testing schedules as needed. The RO can also provide expertise and advice to help identify conduct that might be a warning sign of or constitute sexual harassment or hostile environment harassment prohibited by this policy and address concerns appropriately.

    Sexual Harassment includes: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct, can involve persons of the same or opposite sex.

    Consistent with the law, this policy prohibits two types of sexual harassment:

    Hostile Environment Harassment: A Hostile Environment based on race, color, religion, national origin, creed, service in the uniformed services, veteran’s status, sex, age, political ideas, marital or family status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation exists when harassment:

    • is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities ; or
    • when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or academic performance.

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  • Student Conduct Code: Proscribed Conduct- Theft/Misuse of Property 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Use of computing facilities to send harassing or abusive messages.

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  • Board of Regents Policy & Procedures Manual: Information Technology – Students 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    GUIDELINES: RECOMMENDATIONS, NOT REQUIREMENTS: Examples of Misuse of Information Technology Resources

    The following items represent, but do not fully define, misuse of information technology resources. Note that many of these examples may be considered appropriate uses of technology resources in specific academic contexts; determination of academic appropriateness is the initial responsibility of the user’s academic supervisor (e.g., instructor, department chair, dean, or provost). … Using resources for derogatory, racially offensive, sexually offensive, harassing, threatening, or discriminatory purposes.

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Green Light Policies
  • Freedom of Expression Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    MSU recognizes the First Amendment rights to expression.  These rights include individual and group activities including but not limited to:

    • Assembling,
    • Demonstrating,
    • Signing,
    • Pamphleting,
    • Structuring, and
    • Political campaigning.

    » Read More

  • Student Conduct Code: Proscribed Conduct- Stalking, Harassment and Hazing 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    A. Harassment includes but is not limited to verbal, psychological, graphic and/or written abuse directed at another, beyond a reasonable expression of opinion, which:

    • is threatening or carries with it the intention to do bodily harm; or
    • disrupts or undermines a person’s exercise of his/her responsibilities as a student, faculty or staff member including unreasonably interfering with a person’s educational or work performance.

    » Read More


This school does not have any media coverage at this time.
  • SPLC: Montana State Court Latest to Apply Common Sense to Colleges’ FERPA Excuses

    March 5, 2012

    Over on the Student Press Law Center’s blog, Frank LoMonte has an excellent post calling attention to a recent decision by a Montana state court in the case of Bozeman Daily Chronicle v. Montana State University.  The case concerned Montana State University’s refusal to fulfill an open records request made by student journalists seeking documents about a professor’s alleged misconduct. The university had refused to turn over the records, citing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that limits schools from disclosing student files in certain instances. But as the SPLC and FIRE know all too […]

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  • Montana State University Passes New Policy Expanding Areas for Free Speech on Campus

    October 6, 2011

    Students at Montana State University – Bozeman (MSU) will now enjoy a much-improved right to engage in free speech and expressive activity on their campus. That’s because, as reported by the MSU student newspaper The Exponent, the Montana State University Council has passed a revised version of MSU’s Freedom of Expression Policy that appears to greatly expand the availability of campus space for speech activity. According to the Exponent article, Previously, free speech zones on campus were only located in front of Montana Hall, in front of Bobcat Stadium and on the sidewalk areas near the fieldhouse entrances. However, the […]

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