Location: Claremore, Oklahoma
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit
Rogers State University 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.
August 30, 2010
The Organization for Advocating the Rights of Students (OARS) faced a series of administrative restrictions while seeking to obtain status as a recognized student organization. OARS was told that it would not be allowed to circulate flyers on campus if the information on them was "not correct," a violation of the First Amendment and a misinterpretation of RSU’s own policies, and that all such flyers must receive prior RSU administrative approval. OARS also was told that RSU’s public relations department wanted to be in charge of all websites and social media applications run by student organizations. OARS finally received official […]» Read More
Prior to dissemination, publications by students or student organizations shall register with the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or his/her designee the name of the publication, its place of publication, name(s) of its principal agent(s) and, if sold, the price per issue or other rate established; provided, however, that this section shall not apply to publications containing the above
information in each issue for the purpose of recording.
In order to protect the rights of all concerned individuals, any students or student organizations wanting to hold a peaceful protest must register with the Office of Student Affairs by filling out a “Campus Expression Form” at least three (3) days prior to the event. A meeting will be arranged with the event organizers, Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Campus Police to facilitate the event. Under special circumstances exceptions to the three-day regulation may be granted by the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or his/her designee.
Violations of local, state, or federal laws including: … hazing or any action taken or situation created which is intended to produce mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment, ridicule, or suffering ….
Sexual harassment shall be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in the following context: … when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.
Conduct prohibited by this policy may include, but is not limited to: .1 unwelcome sexual flirtation; advances or propositions for sexual activity; .2 continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature, such as suggestive comments and sexually explicit jokes; .3 sexually degrading language to describe an individual; .4 remarks of a sexual nature to describe a person’s body or clothing .5 display of sexually demeaning objects and pictures ….
In the educational context, racial/ethnic harassment is race discrimination which interferes with the students’ opportunities to enjoy the educational program offered by the University, prohibited by law under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Remedies or corrective actions will be tailored to redress the specific problem and may range from apologies, mandatory attendance at specific training programs, reprimands, suspension, or demotion, to expulsion or termination.
Students of Rogers State University are guaranteed certain rights by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Oklahoma. Those documents are controlling and any questions of student rights must be decided on the language contained in those documents.
A student has the right to establish and/or disseminate publications free from any censorship or other official action controlling editorial policy on content.
Freedom of expression and an open environment to pursue scholarly inquiry and for sharing of information are encouraged, supported, and protected at Rogers State University. These values lie at the core of our academic community. Censorship is not compatible with the tradition and goals of the University.
November 18, 2013
by Bob Kellogg FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month award goes to an Oklahoma university for its policy that appears to chill spontaneous expression. Students at Rogers State University wanting to hold a peaceful protest have to meet three days in advance with campus police and the Office of Student Affairs to facilitate such an event. But as Robert Shibley of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) points out, that can dampen the enthusiasm of students fired up about an issue. ”It’s simply a big chilling effect on speech,” he contends. “How many people care enough about things that they want […]» Read More
November 5, 2013
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is criticizing Rogers State University’s policy on campus expression. The Philadelphia-based foundation is concerned about a statement in the RSU Student Code which addresses spontaneous protests on any of RSU’s campuses. The foundation says the policy is a “serious infringement on the First Amendment rights that the university is legally and morally obligated to uphold,” and says that is why it’s chosen RSU for its ‘November 2013 Speech Code of the Month‘ award. Here is the section of the RSU Student Code FIRE is singling out: “In order to protect the rights […]» Read More
November 13, 2010
CLAREMORE – The Rogers State University student who took her first amendment dispute to a national student rights group says RSU students are largely unaware of their rights or afraid to assert them to administrators. Because of views like that, Renee Morse-Heenan says she can draw up a sizable list of students she calls “Renee haters.” She admits it. She’s abrasive. She gets in the way. She’s opinionated. And she’s not done yet. The student who turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education over complaints about former student activities coordinator Lynn Brown now coordinates RSU’s first student rights […]» Read More
October 24, 2010
CLAREMORE – A Rogers State University administrator has lost her job following a student rights dispute that grabbed the attention of a national advocacy group. The New York-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education accused Student Activities Coordinator Lynn Brown of violating students’ speech rights consistently after she was hired in June. A university official confirmed Friday that Brown left RSU Tuesday. “All I can say is that she no longer works for the university,” said Tobie Titsworth, vice president for student affairs. “We can’t comment on personnel matters.” He would not say whether Brown was forced to leave or […]» Read More
‘Claremore Daily Progress’ Highlights Advances for Student Rights at Rogers State, But Free Speech Still in Danger in Oklahoma
November 23, 2010
This month, Zack Stoycoff from the Claremore Daily Progress (Oklahoma) has devoted three articles to coverage of FIRE and our recent case at local Rogers State University (RSU). Torch readers might remember RSU stduent Renee Morse-Heenan’s struggle to earn recognition for her group, the Organization for Advancing the Rights of Students (OARS), at RSU this fall. These articles are a welcome update on Renee’s success and the considerable gains for student rights at RSU, but Stoycoff’s reports make clear that Oklahoma schools still need FIRE. First, the good news: OARS is now operating successfully at RSU, and administrators say that […]» Read More
Student Rights Group Recognized at Rogers State University, but Deficiencies in Recognition Process Remain
October 12, 2010
After a number of First Amendment hiccups, and an intervention from FIRE, the Organization for Advocating the Rights of Students (OARS) is now recognized at Oklahoma’s Rogers State University (RSU). Uncertainty remains, however, about the fairness of the processes by which student groups obtain recognition at RSU. FIRE was first contacted by OARS President Renee Morse-Heenan in August as OARS was confronted with a series of constitutionally questionable requirements for becoming a registered student organization recognized by RSU. Hoping to expedite the process so that OARS could begin recruiting members, Morse-Heenan asked RSU what further steps lay in the path […]» Read More