Southern Methodist University

Location: Dallas, Texas
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Southern Methodist 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.

This school does not have any cases at this time.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: SMU Policy on Sexual Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, such behavior as unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward a student, member of the faculty or staff, or an applicant seeking to join the University community, particularly when any of the following circumstances is present: … The behavior described has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for work or learning, or unduly interfering with an individual’s work performance. For purposes of this policy, “undue interference” is defined as improper, unreasonable, or unjustifiable behavior going beyond what is appropriate, warranted, or natural.

    EXAMPLES … Subtle pressure for sexual activity (i.e., “How would you like to go to a conference in Minneapolis with me?”) … Pattern of conduct (not legitimately related to office business or the subject matter of a course) that causes humiliation or discomfort, such as sexually explicit or sexist comments, questions, anecdotes, or jokes.

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  • Residence Life & Student Housing: Community Standards- Disruptive Behavior 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    I understand that any activity that has a negative impact on others will not be tolerated.

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  • Student Handbook: Code of Conduct- Computing and Communications 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Violating the University’s Computing and Communications Policy (University Policy 12.3). This includes, but is not limited to transmitting unsolicited information that contains obscene, indecent, lewd, or lascivious material; using University resources for any commercial venture; or violating the Copyright law in any manner.

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  • Residence Hall Policies and Expectations: Bulletin Board Posting Policies 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Bulletin boards are for the use of the Residence Hall Staff. Information authorized by the Department of Residence Life & Student Housing will be posted by the hall staff. Postings will be authorized only when there is clear evidence of University or student organization sponsorship. Authorization may be refused for postings deemed inappropriate under University policies and regulations or if found to be in bad taste/blatantly offensive to any group on campus including signs which display harassment or promote alcohol consumption.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Code of Conduct – Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Engaging in harassment, whether physical, psychological, verbal, written or digital-based, which is beyond the bounds of protected free speech, and directed at a specific individual(s), and likely to cause an immediate breach of the peace; conduct which threatens the mental health, physical health or security of any person or persons including stalking, intimidation, or threat that unreasonably impairs the security or privacy of another member of the university community.

    Due to the University’s commitment to freedom of speech and expression, harassment is more than insensitivity or conduct that offends or creates an uncomfortable situation for certain members of the community.

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  • Censorship Fail at Southern Methodist

    June 13, 2011

    A debate over censorship of Southern Methodist University’s (SMU’s) student newspaper, The Daily Campus, has generated some friction between newspaper staff and SMU administrators. The Daily Campus operates without administrative oversight all year—except for the mail-home summer edition. To obtain the addresses of all incoming freshmen so they can mail the paper to them, The Daily Campus has apparently agreed to administators’ demand of prior review over the content of that issue. This year, the administration reportedly approved all articles except for a piece by Politics Editor Jessica Huseman about a lack of transparency for SMU’s Board of Trustees. When asked […]

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  • Episode One: The Phantom Blogger

    May 11, 2005

    Check out this very interesting article by Scott Jaschik in today’s Inside Higher Education about the Phantom Blogger who may have lost her job because of her online frankness. Rita Kirk, the department chairwoman, says that she received complaints about the blog from students and parents, and that she consulted with university lawyers about what to do about it. Kirk describes herself as a strong First Amendment supporter, but she says she worries that the blog violated students’ privacy rights and upset some students. “People need to remember that words can hurt,” Kirk says. We will be looking into this […]

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  • YCT stresses importance of free speech

    September 24, 2004

    As president of the SMU chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, Brad Julsonnet is on a mission to protect First Amendment rights for students. He and the other members of YCT want SMU students to feel free to express themselves. To encourage freedom of speech, YCT members will be on the west bridge of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center today between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., handing out fliers to accompany 25 stake signs scattered across campus. YCT stresses the importance of being able to use symbolic speech to express opinions. The signs show two images, one of a burning […]

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  • Burning the Cookies: SMU wrong to halt ‘affirmative action sale’

    September 26, 2003

    Famed First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams told a national group of editorial writers last week that threats to the First Amendment these days come more often from the left than the right. It was a provocative statement from Mr. Abrams, himself a man of the left. Yesterday’s action by Southern Methodist University seems to back it up. On Wednesday, SMU officials shut down an “affirmative action bake sale” sponsored by Young Conservatives of Texas. It was a theatrical form of political protest, in which the group sold pastries whose prices were determined by the ethnicity or gender of potential customers. […]

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