Location: Houston, Texas
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit
University of Houston 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
Harassment — Defined as subjecting an individual on the basis of her or his membership in a Protected Class to unlawful severe and pervasive treatment that constitutes: * Humiliating, abusive or threatening conduct or behavior that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual or group; * An intimidating, hostile or abusive learning, living or working environment or an environment that alters the conditions of learning, living or working; or * An unreasonable interference with an individual’s academic or work performance.
Harassment that satisfies this legal standard includes, but is not limited to, epithets or slurs, negative stereotyping, threatening, intimidating or hostile acts, denigrating jokes and display or circulation (including through e-mail) of written or graphic material in the learning, living or working environment.
(a) Intentionally inflicting mental or bodily harm upon any person; (b) taking any action for the purpose of inflicting mental or bodily harm upon any person; (c) taking any reckless, but not accidental, action from which mental or bodily harm could result to any person; (d) engaging in conduct, including, but not limited to stalking, that causes a person to believe that the offender may cause mental or bodily harm; (e) any act which demeans, degrades, or disgraces any person and that causes, or would be reasonably likely to cause, mental or bodily harm.
The University expects that persons engaging in expressive activities will demonstrate civility, concern for the safety of persons and property, respect for University activities, respect for those who may disagree with their message, and compliance with University policies and applicable local, state, and federal laws.
The following constitute examples of Computer Harassment: Intentionally using the computer to annoy, harass, terrify, intimidate, threaten, offend or bother another person by conveying obscene language, pictures, or other materials or threats of bodily harm to the recipient or the recipient’s immediate family….
The display of offensive material in any publicly accessible area is likely to violate University harassment policy.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that includes verbal, written or physical behavior of a sexual nature, directed at someone, or against a particular group, because of that person’s or group’s sex, or based on gender stereotypes, when that behavior is unwelcome, severe or pervasive, and where it meets either of the following criteria: … The behavior has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with another’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating or hostile environment for employment, education, on-campus living or participation in a University-affiliated activity. Examples of this type of sexual harassment can include, but is not limited to:
1) Persistent unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;
2) Unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities;
3) Unwanted sexual attention;
4) Repeatedly engaging in sexually-oriented conversations, comments or horseplay, including the use of language or the telling of jokes or anecdotes of a sexual nature in the workplace, office or classroom, even if such conduct is not objected to by those present; or
5) Gratuitous use of sexually-oriented materials not directly related to the subject matter of a class, course or meeting even if not objected
to by those present.
Student Code of Conduct: Violation of Established Student Housing and Residential Life Policies, Procedures and/or License Agreements 13-14
Displaying pornographic or discriminatory literature or other materials or any materials that cause, or would be reasonably likely to cause, mental harm to another.
University of Houston students, faculty, and staff who wish to engage in an expressive activity (including literature distribution) that is not an official University activity, and does not meet this policy’s definition of an organized expressive activity (i.e., where an expressive activity is designed to attract an audience of less than 25 people), may engage in such expressive activity in the University’s common areas (e.g., University parks and sidewalks) without prior registration or approval.
The University of Houston has designated 19 areas for outdoor organized expressive activities. These areas are indicated on the campus map titled “Areas for Organized Expressive Activities on Campus” (Addendum A). Thirteen areas do not require a reservation for use while the remaining six areas require advance reservation.
January 4, 2007
Last week, the Daily Southtown (Ill.) published an editorial criticizing the trustees of Joliet Junior College for adopting a new free speech zone policy. Although the new policy seems to be improved because it moves these zones closer to where students actually gather, the editorial board rightly questions why the policy wasn’t completely abolished. The editorial correctly notes that “designating a ‘zone’ and setting up rules for how to use it doesn’t encourage free speech, it limits and discourages it.” Free speech zones are nothing more then a ruse used by college administrators to suppress the free exchange of […]» Read More
August 10, 2005
Fully understanding that geographical distance is no reason not to weigh in on affronts to the most crucial liberties, the editorial board of The Daily Cougar, the University of Houston’s student newspaper, has written a superb piece on FIRE’s case at William Paterson University. After summarizing the facts of the case, the editorial board correctly points out: As a student and employee, it stands to reason that Daniel should have the right to express his views to the faculty and staff of the publicly funded institution, especially considering he didn’t even begin the exchange. His message was in no way […]» Read More