University of Hawaii at Hilo

Location: Hilo, Hawaii
Website: http://hilo.hawaii.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Hawaii at Hilo 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

  • Student Conduct Code 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other behavior of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe or pervasive that it interferes with a person’s academic or professional performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or employment environment. The behavior can be verbal, non-verbal or physical. Examples include sexual innuendo, spreading sexual rumors, sexual put-downs and jokes, remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body, offensive written notes or emails, sexual propositions, insults or threats, leering, whistling, suggestive or insulting sounds and gestures, and touching someone’s body when unwelcome.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Policy on Sexual Harassment and Related Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Hostile environment sexual harassment is defined as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when such conduct is unwelcome to the person to whom it is directed or to others directly aware of it, and when such conduct is

    1. severe or pervasive; and

    2. has the purpose or effect of either:

    (a) unreasonably interfering with the employee’s work performance or student’s academic performance, or

    (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.

    The conduct must be both objectively and subjectively perceived as offensive. That is, the reporting party must view the conduct as offensive, and a reasonable person with the same fundamental characteristics as the reporting party (e.g., age, race, gender) must also view the conduct as offensive.

    Examples of behaviors that could constitute hostile environment sexual harassment include but are not limited to

    • unnecessary and unwanted touching, patting, hugging, or brushing against a person’s clothing or body;
    • remarks of a sexual nature about a person’s clothing or body;
    • remarks about sexual activity or speculations about previous sexual experience; pressure for sexual activity, an element of which may be nonverbal conduct, such as repeated and unwanted staring or sexually suggestive gestures;
    • display or distribution of sexually offensive literature, images, cartoons, or other audio-visual materials;
    • or gratuitous introduction into instruction, discussion, or conversation of material of a sexual nature, such as sexually explicit anecdotes, questions, or jokes.

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  • Housing Judicial Process 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Decorating & Room Alterations: … Residents may be required to remove materials that would be deemed offensive by the community ….

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  • Student Conduct Code 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Engaging in, or attempting to engage in, any of these behaviors subjects a student to the disciplinary process and sanctions of each campus. … Any conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person including but not limited to physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and stalking.

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  • Use and Management of Information Technology Resources 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Users may not engage in the transmission of unsolicited bulk email (“spamming”), regardless of how important it may seem to the sender. Email is a form of individual communication, not a public forum, and should not be used to express opinions or forward views to those who have not expressed a wish to engage in the dialog.

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  • Facilities Use Practices & Procedures 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    The lawn area between Student Services Building and the Theater (see Attachment C) is designated as the public forum area for the University where individuals may assemble and engage in public speech activities.

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  • Student Conduct Code 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Theft or other abuse of computer and other electronic facilities and resources, including but not limited to: … Use of computing facilities and resources to send obscene or abusive messages.

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  • Colleges: Drop Your Speech Codes

    August 8, 2014

    By David Moshman at The Huffington Post This summer, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) initiated four new First Amendment lawsuits against college censors. Additional lawsuits will follow, it announced, until unconstitutional speech codes, which are common across the nation, have been eliminated. How should college officials respond? Here’s some free advice: Join the quest for intellectual freedom in higher education. Eliminating a speech code costs nothing, will make you look good, may avoid a lawsuit and, best of all, is the right thing to do. I will elaborate on these four reasons below. But first, let’s look more closely at college […]

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  • University of Hawaii Reverses Course on ‘Free-Speech’ Zone

    May 30, 2014

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow Facing a lawsuit, a university in Hawaii has done an about-face and is doing away with its unconstitutional, restrictive speech zone. In addition to confining students to a tiny “free-speech” zone, University of Hawaii at Hilo officials prevented a student from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution, prompting the lawsuit. Reading from a university statement, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education spokesman Robert Shibley says the university will now “permit students to approach others on campus,” and allow them to distribute literature in areas used by students and others. “So that’s a really big step forward for […]

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  • Free-Speech Battle Hits the Big Island

    May 13, 2014

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow Two University of Hawaii-Hilo students filed a lawsuit in late April alleging that Campus Student Center director Ellen Kusano prevented them from leaving their tables to hand out copies of the Constitution during an outside event in January where student groups had set up tables to distribute literature. Robert Shibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says other students are now complaining Kusano interfered with student elections. “This latest complaint has to do with student elections and how the UH-Hilo authorities are preventing students from freely passing out election-related materials,” says the FIRE spokesman. “These are all very core […]

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  • Free Speech Zones on College Campuses Restrict Free Speech

    May 2, 2014

    By James D. Kellogg at Brenner Brief GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado, May 2, 2014 – Another university with a “free speech zone” policy faces a lawsuit for restricting the First Amendment rights of students. Two students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo filed a lawsuit in federal court on April 24, 2014, claiming administrators ordered them to stop handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution. The plaintiffs, Merrit Burch and Anthony Vizzone, are challenging the denial of their right to hand out literature and UH Hilo’s free speech zone policy. The complaint states that on January 16, 2014, Ms. Burch and Mr. Vizzone, members of the UH […]

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  • YAL Activists Sue University for Violating Their First Amendment Rights

    April 30, 2014

    By Jason Pye at United Liberty Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, student activists associated with Young Americans for Liberty, were stopped by administrators at the University of Hawaii-Hilo from passing out copies of the Constitution to their classmates, and now they’re suing the school for violating their First Amendment rights: The complaint alleges that on January 16, 2014, plaintiff Merritt Burch, who is president of the UH Hilo chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), and a fellow student YAL member were participating in an outdoor event where student groups set up tables to distribute literature. Observing other students walking around and handing out […]

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  • Students Sue University of Hawaii Over Constitution

    April 29, 2014

    At NewsFix HILO, HI – Is this a new low for a so-called institution of higher learning? Two members of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at University of Hawaii-Hilo are suing the school, claiming they had to say ‘aloha’ to their first amendment rights. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, the students were prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution at a recruitment event in January. The students say the university told them they could only distribute literature in the ‘Free Speech Zone,’ described by students as a muddy area on the edge of […]

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  • Hawaiian University Sued For Blocking Students From Passing Out Copies Of The Constitution

    April 26, 2014

    By Clarke Reilly at The Huffington Post Two students from the University of Hawaii at Hilo are suing the school, claiming their constitutional rights were violated when they were barred from handing out copies of the United States Constitution. In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone claim their First Amendment right to free speech was infringed upon during a January event where school officials stopped them as they passed out copies of the Constitution, according to Fox News. Burch and Vizzone, who were there to represent the campus’ chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, were told that campus […]

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  • ‘Free Speech Zones’ on Campus: Hawaii to Harvard Fear Tomorrow’s Free Thinkers

    April 26, 2014

    By Jacquie Kubin at Communities Digital News WASHINGTON, April 26, 2014 — What does the school  where you are sending your student and your money stand for? According to Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post, colleges are dens of liberal ideology: “By their own description, 72 percent of those teaching at American universities and colleges are liberal and 15 percent are conservative, says the study being published this week. The imbalance is almost as striking in partisan terms, with 50 percent of the faculty members surveyed identifying themselves as Democrats and 11 percent as Republicans.” A 2011 New York Times article by John Tierney suggests that those percentages […]

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  • Hawaii: Student Sues University System Over “Free Speech Zone” Violation

    April 25, 2014

    At PanAm Post After she was denied her right to distribute copies of the US Constitution on her college campus, University of Hawaii student Merritt Burch (joined by fellow student Anthony Vizzone) exercised another right on April 24: the right to sue university in federal court, with the assistance of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Burch is president of her Young Americans for Liberty chapter, a pro-liberty organization for US college campuses. On January 16, she and a fellow YAL member were walking around passing out copies of the Constitution and YAL information cards, when a UH administrator ordered the […]

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  • University of Hawaii (Hilo): Our Students are Easily Intimidated, Need to be Protected from People Handing out Literature

    April 25, 2014

    By Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post From the University of Hawaii (Hilo) Registered Independent Student Organization Handbook: When using a public venue, RISOs may not approach people to solicit them. Although we support a diverse intellectual and social atmosphere on campus, we also believe that each person should be able to freely choose whether to listen to your solicitation or not. And the university seems to be enforcing this, apparently ordering students to stop distributing copies of the Constitution. (“Solicit” here thus doesn’t mean just solicitation of funds, but also covers offering literature; see paragraphs 21-23 of the Complaint in the just-filed Burch […]

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  • College Administrators to Students: Stop Giving Away Free Copies of the Constitution

    April 25, 2014

    By Daniel Doherty at Townhall.com Remember when America’s colleges and universities used to be places of free inquiry, open dialogue, and intellectual development? I’m seriously beginning to wonder: are those days long gone? Apparently, even the First Amendment right to hand out free copies of the U.S. Constitution on college campuses is under assault. Thankfully, however, not every college student is backing down without a fuss (viaFIRE):  A student ordered by administrators to stop handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution at the University of Hawaii at Hilo has filed a lawsuittoday in federal court. Merritt Burch is suing the University […]

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  • University Students Sue for Right to Distribute Copies of the Constitution on Campus

    April 25, 2014

    By Richard Berkow at BizPac Review That pesky First Amendment keeps getting in the way of people who want to trample it. At the University of Hawaii, Hilo, two students were prevented from distributing copies of the Constitution – that wretched document guaranteeing freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly and stuff like that – and now they’re suing the university, reason.com reports. Merritt Burch, president of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at UH, and Anthony Vizzone, another member, were stopped by school officials on a campus information day, because, instead of staying behind their outdoor table, they joined others in walking around to distribute copies of America’s most […]

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  • Hawaii Students Sue University for Barring Distribution of Pocket Constitutions

    April 25, 2014

    By Andrew Johnson at National Review Online Two Hawaii college students are taking legal action against the state’s university system after administrators prevented them from distributing pocket-Constitution booklets on campus. The incident took place at an outdoor campus event in January at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, where students were handing out material were handing out material about their organizations, according to the plaintiffs, Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone. An administrator told Burch and Vizzone, both members of the university’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter, that they were not allowed to hand out the Constitutions. Later, the university would tell the students […]

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  • Students Sue UH-Hilo for Violating First Amendment Rights

    April 25, 2014

    At Big Island Video News HILO, Hawaii – Two University of Hawaii students are suing UH-Hilo for allegedly violating their First Amendment rights. Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone – both involved in the UH-Hilo chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, or YAL – say school officials stopped them from passing out copies of the Constitution during an event in January. A media release was issued by the nonprofit educational foundation FIRE – the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education – which is assisting the plaintiffs with the lawsuit. The complaint alleges that on January 16, 2014, plaintiff Merritt Burch, who is […]

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  • Students Sue Hawaii University Over Freedom of Speech

    April 25, 2014

    By Reuters at The New York Times  HONOLULU — Two students are suing a Hawaii university after they say they were told in January they could not pass out copies of the Constitution to fellow students, in a lawsuit accusing the school of violating their First Amendment rights to free speech. In a complaint against the University of Hawaii at Hilo, the students’ lawyers said the school “unconstitutionally restricts access to open areas on campus by requiring students to seek permission to speak at least seven business days in advance.” The complaint, filed on Thursday, added that the areas where […]

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  • Hawaii College Sued for Stopping Students from Handing out Constitution

    April 25, 2014

    At Fox News Two students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo are suing the school over alleged First Amendment violations after they were told by a campus official that they couldn’t approach fellow students to hand out copies of the Constitution. Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, members of the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty, filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court, alleging that administrators violated their constitutional rights by stopping group members from passing out copies of the document during an outdoor event in January where student organizations had set up tables to distribute literature. The students […]

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  • Hawaiian Students Challenge ‘Censorship Swamp’ in First Amendment Lawsuit

    April 24, 2014

    By Greg Lukianoff at The Huffington Post Back in January, two students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo were told by a campus official that they couldn’t approach their fellow students to give them copies of the Constitution. Just a week later, one of the same students was told that if she wanted to engage in political protest, she should go to UH Hilo’s tiny “free speech zone,” which covers just 0.26 percent of campus. Worse still, the free speech zone is far away from where most students congregate (I’ve seen it in person) and occupies a muddy, sloping plain […]

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  • Hawaiian Student Sues After Being Ordered to Stop Handing Out Pocket Constitutions

    April 24, 2014

    By Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason Online The always formidable defenders of free speech at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) filed a lawsuit in federal court today on behalf of a student who committed the heinous crime of handing out wee copies of the U.S. Constitution at the University of Hawaii at Hilo: The complaint alleges that on January 16, 2014, plaintiff Merritt Burch, who is president of the UH Hilo chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), and a fellow student YAL member were participating in an outdoor event where student groups set up tables to distribute literature. Observing other students walking around […]

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  • ANOTHER University Stops Students from Handing out Constitution

    April 24, 2014

    By Robby Soave at The Daily Caller Two students are suing the University of Hawaii for violating their First Amendment rights after administrator prevented them from distributing copies of the U.S. Constitution — demonstrating a frightening lack of knowledge about the very legal document they were attempting to censor. Students Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone, members of the Young Americans for Liberty chapter at UH-Hilo, were prevented from handing out copies of the Constitution at a recruitment event in January. A week later, they were again informed by a censorship-minded administrator that their First Amendment-protected activities were in violation of […]

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  • U. of Hawaii at Hilo Suspends Restrictive ‘Free Speech Zone’ While Lawsuit Proceeds

    May 16, 2014

    Facing a federal lawsuit from a student who was ordered to stop handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution on campus, the University of Hawaii at Hilo has announced that it will immediately take interim steps to stop requiring students to limit their spontaneous political expression to a tiny “free speech zone.” FIRE coordinated last month’s lawsuit against the university for this and other First Amendment violations on behalf of students Merritt Burch and Anthony Vizzone.

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  • Where There’s Smoke, There’s FIRE: Two More Allegations of Rights Violations at Hawaii-Hilo

    May 2, 2014

    Last week, two students, supported by FIRE, filed a lawsuit against the University of Hawaii at Hilo for violating their rights to free expression. Since the lawsuit was filed, other students have come forward alleging violations of their rights.

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  • Students Filing Suit against University of Hawaii at Hilo Make a Media Splash

    April 28, 2014

    News of the lawsuit at University of Hawaii at Hilo has spread far and wide, even appearing in a Reuters article that appeared in dozens of outlets around the country, including ‘The New York Times.’ Be sure to check out these outlets for their coverage of the suit!

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  • Lawsuit! Another Student Ordered to Stop Handing Out Constitutions on Campus Files Suit in Hawaii

    April 24, 2014

    A student ordered by administrators to stop handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution at the University of Hawaii at Hilo has filed a lawsuit today in federal court. Merritt Burch is suing the University of Hawaii System for violating her First Amendment rights. She is joined as a plaintiff by fellow student Anthony Vizzone.

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  • FIRE and Student Press Law Center File Brief in ‘Oyama v. University of Hawaii’

    December 12, 2013

    On Monday, FIRE and the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) filed a brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit as amici curiae (“friends of the court”), asking the appeals court to reverse the district court’s erroneous and dangerous decision in the case of Oyama v. University of Hawaii. The brief was prepared by noted First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh in conjunction with the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law’s First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic. The relevant facts are fairly straightforward. Mark Oyama was a student in the University of Hawaii’s (UH’s) teaching certification program, where he was required to complete a student […]

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