Location: University Center, Michigan
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
Saginaw Valley 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.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies, StatementUsers must not promote ... material that negatively affects the University, or distribute copyrighted, pornographic or licensed software or material.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, StatementStudents have the right to assemble lawfully and express their concerns in ways that do not interfere with others or with the normal functions of the university. Demonstrations and assemblages on the campus must be held in such a place and manner so that the public peace of the campus is maintained. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, or the University Police, is authorized by the university to advise an assemblage or demonstration that they are violating the public peace of the campus.
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies, StatementFlyers and posters are temporary advertising and communication tools used by students, registered
student organizations, University departments and other approved groups at Saginaw Valley State
University for non-commercial purposes. Approval must be obtained by Student Life by submitting a
General Posting Request Form. Student Life staff will approve and post all materials.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementNo student shall engage in verbal assaultive
behavior or communicate the intent to engage in assaultive
behaviors (including written or electronic transmissions), verbal
threats, self-destructive behaviors or gestures or other conduct to
cause danger to the personal, mental or physical health, safety or
welfare of members of the University community or visitors to
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementThe law defines "sexual harassment" as unwelcome sexual advances,
request for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual
nature when (a) submission to or rejection of such advances,
requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or
condition of employment, education, housing or participation in any
University activity; or (b) such advances, requests or conduct have
the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s
employment, education, housing or participation in any University
activity by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually
offensive environment. It is the University’s policy to vigorously
enforce these prohibitions.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementStudents, as members of the
academic community, enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful
assembly, and right of petition that other citizens enjoy.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementNo student shall engage in any
conduct involving harassment of another individual that would
cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened,
intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, or that actually
causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated,
threatened, harassed, or molested.
December 23, 2012
A Saginaw Valley State University student whose profanity-laced posters were not allowed to be posted on campus bulletin boards is claiming the school is violating his First Amendment rights. Daniel Chapman, who is involved in student government at SVSU, has attempted to display posters that use profanity to protest a new policy at the university that requires all postings to meet the approval of the Student Life Office. The policy states that postings must be in good taste, free from profanity, nudity or sexually suggestive graphics/phrasing and not include discriminatory or derogatory statements or graphics. Chapman, citing a 1971 Supreme […]» Read More
December 27, 2012
In an article titled “University Utilizing Faulty Irony Detector Censors Flyer Protesting Its Censorship Policy” published today on popular technology blog techdirt, Tim Cushing comments on FIRE’s ongoing case at Saginaw Valley State University. Cushing points out the continuing oddity of higher education’s insistence on treating adult students as “overly sensitive children who need to be kept in a protective, non-offensive bubble during their stay on campus.” The whole article is worth a read (warning, some “swear words” are used), as it makes many of the same points FIRE President Greg Lukianoff makes in his book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship […]» Read More
December 7, 2012
by Lindsay Knake MLive KOCHVILLE TOWNSHIP, MI — A Saginaw Valley State University student says the school is inhibiting his freedom of speech, but university officials say otherwise. Daniel Chapman wants to put up a sign with a two-word slogan; the first word is an expletive and the second is “censorship.” According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a nonprofit organization Chapman contacted for help, he’s protesting a university policy that states the Student Life office must review and approve all materials posted throughout the university. “SVSU is using its unlawful censorship policy to censor student criticism of its […]» Read More
December 7, 2012
DETROIT, December 7, 2012—Blatantly ignoring the First Amendment, administrators at Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) in Michigan’s Tri-Cities area have repeatedly censored a student’s posters—ironically, posters that protest a new, unconstitutional SVSU policy that allows the school to censor student postings. SVSU student Daniel Chapman has come to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “You read that right: SVSU is using its unlawful censorship policy to censor student criticism of its unlawful censorship policy,” said FIRE Senior Vice President Robert Shibley. “SVSU administrators have displayed no understanding of the First Amendment or why free speech is […]» Read More
February 25, 2008
SVSU has received the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE) most severe rating for its speech code. On its Web site, www.thefire.org, FIRE says that the University has “at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.” Last November, FIRE included SVSU’s speech policy as its “Speech Code of the Month.” Its mission statement on the site states, “The mission of FIRE is to defend and sustain individual rights at America’s colleges and universities. These rights include freedom of speech, legal equality, due process, religious liberty, and sanctity of conscience.” The foundation has taken issue […]» Read More
November 6, 2007
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for November 2007: Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU). SVSU, a public university in Michigan with approximately 8,000 undergraduates, maintains a Policy on Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Racial Harassment that provides: Physical acts or threats or verbal slurs, invectives or epithets, taunting or verbal abuse, degrading comments or jokes referring to an individual’s race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital or familial status, color, height, weight, handicap or disability are strictly prohibited. (Emphasis added). As Speech Code of the Month readers no doubt know by now, “harassment” is an exacting legal […]» Read More