Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit
University of Tulsa 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.
February 12, 2015
The University of Tulsa suspended Trey Barnett and banned him from from the TU campus until 2016 because of Facebook posts written by his husband.» Read More
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Any form of inappropriate conduct that constitutes Prohibited Harassment (see following definition) of or by any participants in the Campus Community is prohibited by this policy.
Verbal Prohibited Harassment may occur in person, by telephone or other audio means. Physical Prohibited Harassment may be conduct such as assault, impeding or blocking movement or any physical interference with normal activities or movement. Visual forms of Prohibited Harassment may include notes, email, blogging or other electronic means, derogatory posters, cartoons, graffiti or drawings.
Prohibited Harassment related to an individual’s reputation may include any form of inappropriate conduct which is defamatory, demeaning, intimidating, threatening, or otherwise places an individual in fear of harm to his or her person or reputation on or off campus.
Sexual harassment is defined by law and also constitutes Prohibited Harassment; generally under the law, it includes any unwanted or unsolicited sexual gesture, physical contact, or statement which, when viewed from the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated, is offensive, threatening, humiliating, or interferes with a person’s ability to perform his or her job, educational pursuit, or participation in campus life.
In assessing whether a particular act or acts constitute Prohibited Harassment under this policy, the standard shall be the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated.
Prohibited Harassment includes any conduct or behavior of an inappropriate nature where: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working, educational or campus living environment;
Some examples of Prohibited Harassment include, but are not limited to: … c. verbal or written comments or statements that are intimidating, threatening, demeaning, humiliating, sexually suggestive, insulting, vulgar, or lewd; … the inappropriate use or display of materials such as posters, photos, cartoons or graffiti that are demeaning or offensive; inappropriate comments, communicated by any means, that demean, intimidate, threaten or harm an individual’s reputation….
University Student Conduct Policies & Procedures: Student Code of Conduct- General Standard of Conduct 14-15
Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
Examples of violations of the General Standard of Conduct may include, but are not limited to, the following: … The use of threatening or obscene language toward another.
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
Two types of events require the appropriate Vice President’s approval. These are: 1) In the case of an event which a reasonable person would understand to be a protest or demonstration defined as a person or assembly of persons engaged in a rally, march, sit-in, fast or other public manifestation of welcome, approval, protest or disapproval but not social or athletic exhibitions or events; and 2) In the case of an event that might be reasonably expected to draw more than 200 members of the public and/or present The University with parking, safety or health problems.
[I]n order to balance rights and responsibilities, it is appropriate to require a reasonable and orderly scheduling of University facilities, resources, and personnel. In some cases and at The University’s sole discretion, this may involve the sponsoring organization hiring security personnel through The University’s Campus Security Department at the sponsoring organization’s expense.
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
The electronic communication facilities are not to be used for the transmission of commercial or
personal advertisements, solicitations, promotions, destructive programs, political material, or any
other unauthorized or personal use.
Use of the electronic communication facilities (such as electronic mail, telephone mail, or systems
with similar functions) to send fraudulent, harassing, obscene, indecent, profane, intimidating, or
other unlawful messages is prohibited.
University Student Conduct Policies & Procedures: Statement on Rights, Freedoms, and Responsibilities 14-15
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
The University of Tulsa exists to promote the academic and social development of its students, the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, and a sense of responsibility toward self and society. A deep respect for the fundamental rights of expression, assembly and petition is indispensable to the attainment of these goals.
The rights of free inquiry and free expression, both public and private, are essential to the learning process and must be protected by the responsible and mutually supporting efforts of all segments of the University community. These rights shall not be infringed upon.
Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
The University recognizes that students have the rights and privileges granted to all citizens in the Bill of Rights – specifically freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of dissent.
February 18, 2015
By Tim Cushing at Techdirt Nothing generates bad press quite like overreaction, and Tulsa University (OK) is busy making itself look vindictive and stupid. How does it handle critical Facebook posts directed at its staff? Bypunishing the student who didn’t write them and following that up with an attempt to silence critics of its terrible disciplinary decision. In a triple blow to free speech, due process, and freedom of the press, the University of Tulsa (TU) arbitrarily banned a student from campus until 2016 for Facebook posts that someone else admitted to writing and then attempted to intimidate student journalists […]» Read More
February 13, 2015
By Jake New at Inside Higher Ed The University of Tulsa has suspended a student over offensive Facebook posts that were written by his husband. George “Trey” Barnett was banned from campus last semester until 2016 over the posts, which criticize two faculty members and insult a fellow student. If he returns to campus after his suspension, according to the university’s final decision in the case, he will not be permitted to complete his theater degree, nor will the university allow his existing credit hours to transfer to another institution. He was 16 credit hours short when he was suspended. […]» Read More
U of Tulsa Suspends Student For Husband’s Facebook Post, Censored School Newspaper For Reporting On It
February 13, 2015
Ashley Dobson at Red Alert Politics This situation at the University of Tulsa is unbelievable. The school has decided to ignore all constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of the press and due process as they prevent a student from graduating for Facebook posts written by someone else. “The University of Tulsa’s speech police are putting in some serious overtime on this case,” Peter Bonilla, Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said in a statement on the organization’s blog. “Punishing someone for the speech of a friend or relative might be par for […]» Read More
February 12, 2015
By Robby Soave at Reason Online The University of Tulsa has broken every free speech rule in the book in its treatment of student George “Trey” Barnett, according to theFoundation for Individual Rights in Education. Administrators suspended Barnett over statements his husband made on Facebook, banned Barnett from ever earning a degree in his field, broke TU’s own dispute resolution policies, and even threatened student newspaper reporters with sanctions for covering the case. It’s a whirlwind of unfairness propagated by a private, Christian university that purports to grant Constitutional rights to its students. The trouble began when Barnett’s husband posted […]» Read More
March 5, 2015
Imagine, for a moment, being accused of a serious offense and then finding out that the detective in charge of investigating your case would also be prosecuting it. Not only that, that same individual would also be deciding whether you are guilty and determining your sentence. You’d probably think that was a bit unfair. Unfortunately, that’s the reality that a growing number of college students face when they are accused of misconduct on campus—and it’s a trend the federal government is encouraging. Torch readers will remember the ongoing case of George “Trey” Barnett, who was suspended from the University of […]» Read More
Despite Administrative Pushback and Theft, University of Tulsa’s ‘Collegian’ Produces Exceptional Reporting
February 18, 2015
FIRE often celebrates examples of impressive student journalism, especially by student newspapers that face threats from their university administration or other students because of their reporting. During this year’s Free Press Week celebration, we’d like to focus on the University of Tulsa’s (TU’s) student paper, the Collegian, which has produced outstanding journalism in its coverage of TU’s unjust suspension of student Trey Barnett. Despite being threatened by TU with unnamed sanctions if the Collegian released “confidential information” (which, of course, TU administrators did not deign to identify or explain), Kyle Walker and Conor Fellin published a searing report last week […]» Read More
February 17, 2015
Administrators at the University of Tulsa (TU) have remained notably quiet since FIRE issued a press release last week covering the school’s vindictive treatment of student Trey Barnett, suspended for another person’s Facebook posts, and TU’s threats to the Collegian student newspaper for reporting on the story. Now it looks like TU wants everyone else to shut up about it, too. TU’s censors, apparently on a mission to eradicate any unflattering Facebook posts mentioning the university or its administration from the Internet, have begun to hide posts from TU’s own Facebook page. Although TU’s “About” page asserts the private university’s […]» Read More
February 16, 2015
As we begin Free Press Week here at FIRE, a study released last week by Reporters Without Borders brings some sobering news about the state of freedom of the press worldwide. According to the nonprofit organization’s “2015 World Press Freedom Index,” two thirds of the 180 countries examined for the report fared less well than in the previous year. This includes the United States, which—despite the crucial protections of the First Amendment and the guarantees it provides for journalists and media outlets—fell three spots from last year and places 49th in the world. Reporters Without Borders uses seven categories as […]» Read More
February 12, 2015
TULSA, Okla., February 12, 2015—In a triple blow to free speech, due process, and freedom of the press, the University of Tulsa (TU) arbitrarily banned a student from campus until 2016 for Facebook posts that someone else admitted to writing and then attempted to intimidate student journalists who were trying to cover the story. “The University of Tulsa’s speech police are putting in some serious overtime on this case,” said Peter Bonilla, Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). “Punishing someone for the speech of a friend or relative might be […]» Read More
March 4, 2009
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2009: the University of Tulsa. While the University of Tulsa is a private institution, it promises its students all of the same free speech rights they would have at a public university: “The University recognizes that students have the rights and privileges granted to all citizens in the Bill of Rights—specifically freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of dissent.” In order to keep this promise, the university must not prohibit speech protected by the First Amendment. Nevertheless, it does just that. The University of Tulsa’s harassment policy contains […]» Read More
November 17, 2006
Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reports another student newspaper theft, this time at University of Tulsa. Copies of The Collegian were taken from newsstands and then redistributed with unauthorized inserts. The additions to the paper included a picture of the paper’s managing editor extending her middle finger, as well as the website address of her online journal. Thursday Bram, the managing editor, said she believes fliers were put in about 700 copies of The Collegian’s 4,000 total distributed issues. Bram contends that the incident was retaliation for an article she wrote about allocation of students, in which […]» Read More