Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit
Tennessee State 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: Harassment Policies, StatementGenerally, racial harassment is defined as any person's conduct that unreasonably interferes with an employee's or student's status or performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment. Harassment on the basis of race, color, or national origin includes offensive or demeaning treatment of an individual, where such treatment is based typically on prejudiced stereotypes of a group to which that individual may belong. It includes, but is not limited to, objectionable epithets, threatened or actual physical harm or abuse, or other intimidating or insulting conduct directed against the individual because of his/her race, color, or national origin. Title VII requires employers to take prompt action to prevent bigots from expressing their opinions in a way that abuses or offends their co-workers.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, StatementThe right to be free from fear of intimidation, physical and emotional harm.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementSome men and women are confused as to what behaviors constitute sexual harassment. The following questions may be especially helpful in assessing one’s own behavior: ... Do I tell jokes or make "funny" remarks involving the opposite sex and/or sexuality? (Such jokes may offend many people.) If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the chances of the behavior being considered sexual harassment are very high. Because such behavior is likely to be high risk, if you have to ask, it is probably better not to do it.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, StatementGenerally, sexual harassment may be defined as unwelcome
sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal
or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one of the
following criteria is met: ... such conduct has the purpose or effect of
unreasonably interfering with an individual's work
performance or educational experience or creating
an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, StatementTennessee State University assumes the position that dissent, when carried out in the prescribed form (being registered in advance with the associate vice president for student affairs in order to ensure that the event is held at an acceptable time and appropriate site), will be protected.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, StatementAcademic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well being attainment of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals.
Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, Statement"Student Government Assocation and TSU administrators decided
to ban the site from school servers.
Michael Freeman, vice-president for
Student Affairs, believed that the move was
in the best interest of the university and the
students it serves.
After Freeman received a phone call
from a parent concerned about the Web
site, and after discussing the matter with
SGA president Patrick Walker-Reese and
other concerned students, he met with other
administrators and had the site blocked from
December 23, 2008
This year, FIRE has seen a number of colleges take steps to regulate online speech. The Internet makes it easier than ever for people to communicate with one another, and thus presents a whole new world for would-be censors of campus speech. FIRE has kept a close watch on the developing relationship between colleges and online speech in order to prevent the establishment of deleterious, and potentially unconstitutional, practices. The most recent online FIRE case involved Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) attempt to regulate its students’ and faculty’s use of e-mail. MSU found a student government leader guilty of spamming for […]» Read More
December 5, 2008
While FIRE awaits the results of this week’s disciplinary hearing of Michigan State University (MSU) undergraduate Kara Spencer—who faces possible suspension for sending “spam” e-mails to 391 MSU professors—word of the case and FIRE’s involvement has quickly spread throughout the East Lansing, Michigan, campus and beyond. Shortly following the sending of FIRE’s letter to MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, an article in MSU’s paper, The State News, alerted the campus community to the university’s outrageous overreaction to Spencer’s e-mails, which conveyed relevant information about impending changes to the school’s academic calendar. Word of MSU’s threats against Spencer has also […]» Read More
November 20, 2008
It was only a matter of time before some university decided to ban the gossip website JuicyCampus.com from its network, and now one has: Tennessee State University in Nashville. According to a November 12 letter from Vice President for Student Affairs Michael A. Freeman (see page 6 of the November 17 edition of The Meter, Tennessee State’s student newspaper), Tennessee State blocked the website from access through campus networks because it “does not fit with the legacy, spirit, and reputation of Tennessee State University.” Nashville’s The Tennessean ran a short article on the ban today. Before I address Tennessee State’s […]» Read More