Location: Houston, Texas
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit
Rice 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: Internet Usage Policies
[U]nauthorized use includes, but is not limited to the following types of activities. Harassment or threats to specific individuals, or a class of individuals: * Transmitting unsolicited information that contains obscene, indecent, lewd or lascivious material or other material which explicitly or implicitly refers to sexual conduct. * Using e-mail or newsgroups to threaten or stalk someone. * Transmitting unsolicited information that contains profane language or panders to bigotry, sexism, or other forms of prohibited discrimination.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: … Such conduct is reasonably regarded as offensive and has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the educational or work opportunities of students, staff, faculty or colleagues, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment. If it takes place in the teaching context, it must also be persistent, pervasive, and not germane to the subject matter.
Examples of the kinds of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: … Unwelcome verbal or written expressions of a sexual nature, including graphic sexual commentaries about a person’s body, dress, appearance, or sexual activities; the unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendoes; unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene phone calls. … Sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes, audio recordings or literature, placed in the work or study area, that may offend individuals.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
Outdoor events initiated by all other student organizations require the approval of the Office of Student Activities. After the required paperwork has been completed, Student Activities will forward details of the event to the office of the Vice President for Administration, which will in turn brief representatives of various campus constituencies on the event. … request for the use of a University facility will be approved provided that: (a) the facility requested is available, adequate and appropriate for the proposed use at the time requested; (b) the proposed use excludes fund solicitation or commercial solicitation other than the sale of official University items unless otherwise approved; (c) the campus organization making the request is able to meet the financial obligations to be incurred by the proposed use; (d) the proposed use will not constitute any danger to the peace and security of the University, its members or participants in the use; (e) the proposed use does not violate any federal, state or local law.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict mental or bodily harm on any person, including the charged student; taking any reckless action, or showing reckless disregard, from which mental or bodily harm could result to any person, including the charged student. This includes, but is not limited to, actual or attempted behavior that includes physical abuse of all types, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, sexual harassment… and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the physical or mental health or safety of any person.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
Members of the Rice community are entitled to the following privileges: … Freedom of speech and action: Rice students may express their beliefs, feelings and opinions so long as the manner of expression does not violate another community member’s rights.
November 22, 2011
Pro tip: If your speech silences someone else’s speech, there’s a good chance that your speech is no longer protected. That is the subject of an op-ed last week in The Rice Thresher by Rice University student Anthony Lauriello, titled “Eric Cantor protests at Rice University an affront to open discourse and free speech.” According to the column, protestors at a recent speaking engagement from Congressman Eric Cantor on Rice’s campus began shouting down the congressman as he reached the podium to speak. The protestors were escorted from the event, and Rice President David Leebron stood up to note that […]» Read More
March 27, 2009
An editorial in Rice University’s student newspaper, The Rice Thresher, recently took FIRE to task for giving Rice a “red-light” rating for maintaining policies that censor student speech. As FIRE explained in the blog post that drew the Thresher‘s attention, Rice’s red-light rating is because of its policy on Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources. That policy prohibits, among other things, “[t]ransmitting unsolicited … material which explicitly or implicitly refers to sexual conduct” and “[t]ransmitting … unsolicited information that contains profane language or panders to bigotry, sexism, or other forms of prohibited discrimination.” FIRE noted that such a policy could […]» Read More
March 9, 2009
Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at Rice University, which FIRE has given a red-light rating for maintaining a policy that clearly and substantially restricts free expression on campus. Like so many private universities, Rice presents itself as an institution that values individual freedoms. Rice’s Student Handbook provides: One of the University’s functions is to provide a forum for the orderly expression and discussion of various points of view. Members of the University […]» Read More