Location: University, Mississippi
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit
University of Mississippi has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Sexual Harassment: Harassment of a sexual nature that is so objectively offensive, pervasive, or severe that it effectively denies the victim access to the University’s resources and opportunities, unreasonably interferes with the victim’s work or living environment, or deprives the victim of some other protected right.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
Students at The University of Mississippi have the rights of free inquiry, expression, and assembly as guaranteed by the Federal and State constitutions.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
The University has some basic expectations that govern the special nature of interpersonal relationships within the community. These are reasonable expectations that students should have for one another while sharing space in an apartment. The Residence Hall/Apartment Bill of Rights outlines these expectations: … The right to feel secure against physical harm or emotional distress that is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with one’s access to the University’s resources and opportunities.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
To facilitate robust debate and the free exchange of ideas, the University has established high visibility areas on campus as “Speaker’s Corners” that may be used by any person including by non-students and other campus guests. This use may be without permission from the University so long as the area has not been previously reserved or scheduled for a particular function, no sound amplification is used, and the participants do not violate other University policies. Designated Speaker’s Corners include:
a) the edge of the Union Plaza adjacent to the Grove,
b) the area surrounding the flagpole in the Lyceum Circle, and
c) the plaza in front of Fulton Chapel.
Although it is not necessary for a person using one of the designated Speaker’s Corners to obtain prior permission from the University, the University encourages such persons to contact the Office of the Dean of Students for scheduling purposes to minimize possible conflicts.
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as limiting the right of student expression elsewhere on the campus so long as the expressive activities or related student conduct do not violate any other applicable University policies.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
You must not upload, post, or transmit content that is threatening, harassing, defamatory, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy. This includes but is not limited to social networking sites, blogs, e-mail or other electronic correspondence.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
For conduct to violate this policy, the conduct must be more than merely offensive; it must be so objectively offensive, pervasive, and/or severe that if repeated it would effectively deny the victim access to the University’s resources and opportunities, unreasonably interfere with the victim’s work or living environment, or deprive the victim of some other protected right. Examples of conduct prohibited by this policy include, but are not limited to, the following: intentionally inflicting severe emotional distress or harm; fighting words (words that actually tend to provoke immediate violent reaction); obscene, lewd, or lascivious conduct; defaming another (a false statement that harms the reputation of another); and speech or conduct based upon race, color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information that is so objectively offensive to effectively deny the victim access to the resources and opportunities of the University.
March 2, 2014
by Harvey Silverglate in Minding the Campus Question: When is an obnoxious expression of a point-of-view a crime in our supposedly free society? Answer: When college administrators and federal law enforcement officials find it in their career interests to appeal to political correctness and play holier-than-thou, all at the expense of liberty, as the latest controversy at the University of Mississippi demonstrates. On February 16th, three Ole Miss fraternity brothers allegedly placed a noose and a Confederate flag on the campus statue of James Meredith. Meredith, a hero in the civil rights movement, enrolled at then-segregated Ole Miss in October 1962 with the aid of […]» Read More
December 30, 2012
by James Varney The Times-Picayune Here’s a New Year’s wish for 2013: this year, on the 222nd anniversary of the Bill of Rights’ ratification, Louisiana colleges and universities will honor the freedom of speech. Thus far, unfortunately, defending the First Amendment is not a resolution many Louisiana schools of higher learning have kept. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education grades schools nationwide in terms of their commitment to free speech, a thing that, in theory anyway, would need no protection in a genuine marketplace of ideas. In Louisiana, not one of 7 public and 1 private colleges and universities analyzed […]» Read More
December 20, 2012
by Bob Unruh at WND More than six of 10 colleges and universities across the United States have yet to figure out the First Amendment, because their “speech codes” conflict with the Constitution, according to a new report from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “FIRE surveyed 409 schools for this report and found that over 62 percent maintain severely restrictive, ‘red-light’ speech codes – policies that clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech,” said the executive summary. “That this figure is so large is deeply troubling, but there is good news: for the fifth year in a row, the percentage of schools maintaining […]» Read More
September 11, 2012
As college football enters its third week, the Southeastern Conference continues its stranglehold on the national polls, claiming three of the top seven spots in two separate polls. But it turns out, the SEC has some other rankings to brag about this week. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its second annual list of Best Colleges for Free Speech, and FIRE’s top seven list includes, you guessed it, three SEC universities. Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville may not be the poster children for SEC football, but they are at the […]» Read More
September 6, 2012
By Joshua Rhett Miller at FoxNews.com Just as college students head off to campus, a list of schools that hold the First Amendment above political correctness is out – with a slew of Southern schools leading the way. The list, released Wednesday by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), cites James Madison University, the College of William & Mary, the University of Mississippi, Mississippi State University, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania for protecting free speech on campus and maintaining policies honoring freedom of expression. “It’s easy for students to get caught up […]» Read More
August 16, 2010
Students at Mississippi universities may have to watch what they say more than those in other states because of policies that free-speech advocates say are oppressive. At Ole Miss, someone could theoretically get in trouble for sending an e-mail about how much they “hate” rival Mississippi State. Jackson State students could be punished for unsolicited flirting. Speaking freely outside so-called “free-speech zones” on most of the campuses could get students in trouble, even though a federal court has deemed that unconstitutional. Adam Kissel, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said the nonprofit group hears from hundreds of college […]» Read More
April 14, 2004
In far too many instances, what passes as college life and education today is no less than shameful. Under the name of diversity and political correctness, billions of taxpayer dollars and donor contributions are used to promote what might be charitably called enlightened racism, uniformity of thought and political proselytizing. Let’s look at some of it.The student code of Shippensburg University, in Pennsylvania, said that students had a “right to express a personal belief system” but only if such expression did not “demean,” “annoy” or “alarm” others. Thus, if a student expressed a distaste for race or sex preferences in […]» Read More
March 3, 2014
FIRE Chairman and co-founder Harvey Silverglate reminds readers in an article for Minding the Campus today that “in the eyes of the First Amendment, speech that promotes hate is as protected as speech that promotes love.”» Read More
November 13, 2012
In the wake of a racially charged protest last week, students at the University of Mississippi have responded by demonstrating exactly why the best way to counter speech one finds offensive is with more speech. On election night, some students at Ole Miss gathered to protest the re-election of President Obama. What originally began as “30 or 40 students” protesting grew into a crowd of over 400 people, and news outlets reported that, in addition to campaign slogans and school chants, some protesters shouted racial slurs. Obviously, this news has disturbed a number of people, particularly given the university’s history […]» Read More
September 28, 2012
This year FIRE was proud to add two new schools to our list of institutions that have “green light” policies for free speech: Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi. We also were happy to add both of those schools to our Seven Best Schools for Free Speech list published in The Huffington Post last month. Online student-written news site The College Fix has a good writeup about the list and its new members. Check it out!» Read More
September 12, 2012
Mississippi news outlets continue to celebrate the state’s good record for freedom of speech on its flagship campuses, with both Ole Miss and Mississippi State listed among the top seven colleges for free speech on campus by FIRE. The Dispatch is the latest to remark upon the Magnolia State’s high ranking for freedom of speech, with (of course!) an SEC football angle: As college football enters its third week, the Southeastern Conference continues its stranglehold on the national polls, claiming three of the top seven spots in two separate polls. But it turns out, the SEC has some other rankings […]» Read More
March 16, 2012
In The Virginia Advocate, an independent student newspaper at the University of Virginia, Wendy Morrison writes a brief column noting with pleasure the university’s rank as a “green light” school after having seen FIRE’s latest national survey of campus speech codes, “This ranking was no faint praise,” Morrison writes, “when you compare UVA to other top tier Universities like Yale, who were given yellow lights and whose profiles cited many examples of seemingly unreasonable censorship.” Indeed, it is no faint praise, though it is praise we give out far less often than we’d like. Currently only sixteen colleges nationwide (with […]» Read More
August 16, 2010
In today’s edition of The Clarion-Ledger, the Jackson, Mississippi newspaper reports on speech codes maintained at public colleges statewide. Spurred by FIRE’s recent victory at nearby Hinds Community College, reporter Elizabeth Crisp writes: Students at Mississippi universities may have to watch what they say more than those in other states because of policies that free-speech advocates say are oppressive. At Ole Miss, someone could theoretically get in trouble for sending an e-mail about how much they “hate” rival Mississippi State. Jackson State students could be punished for unsolicited flirting. Speaking freely outside so-called “free-speech zones” on most of the campuses […]» Read More
December 3, 2008
Ray Nothstine, Associate Editor at the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Acton Institute, has authored a thoughtful and illuminating article on the prevalence of speech codes and their chilling effects on campus freedom, as well as FIRE’s efforts to expose them and rid them from America’s colleges and universities. Echoing FIRE co-founders Alan Charles Kors and Harvey Silverglate’s 1998 book The Shadow University, Nothstine articulates the dangers of an establishment steeped in censorship: Limits on free speech [are] uniquely troubling for the future health of a free society. Students become accustomed to having their rights limited, and will be more lethargic in […]» Read More
May 25, 2007
As Torch readers know, each month, FIRE features a college or university with a particularly egregious speech code as its Speech Code of the Month. We use Speech Code of the Month to educate the public about the ever-present problem of speech codes on campus, but the feature also helps put public pressure on these schools to encourage revisions of these repressive policies. An article in our new issue of The FIRE Quarterly discusses the changes in policies FIRE has witnessed in four institutions that have been named Speech Code of the Month in the past. Since June 2005, Albertson […]» Read More
April 13, 2007
FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month program has been an important vehicle for change. Since June 2005, five universities—Albertson College of Idaho, the University of Nevada at Reno, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Jacksonville State University, and the University of Mississippi—have changed their policies after being named Speech Code of the Month. In addition, the president of Western Michigan University has stated that his institution will revise a policy that was named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for March 2007. Thanks to a new feature, visitors to FIRE’s website can now see our Speech Codes of the Month together […]» Read More
October 3, 2006
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for October 2006: University of Mississippi. The University of Mississippi’s General Telephone Policy provides that, on calls made to and from campus telephones, “offensive language is not to be used. All reported incidents of anyone using offensive language is referred to the Campus Police for further action.” I’m happy to hear that Ole Miss is such a safe campus that the Campus Police have the time to take action on every incident of offensive language being used over the telephone. But the Campus Police should be aware that it is this policy—and […]» Read More