Grambling State University: Ban on Core Political Expression


Grambling State University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On July 13, 2010, Grambling State University’s Media Relations department sent an email ordering the GSU community to delete all emails containing political campaign solicitations and not to forward them, saying that doing so might be interpreted as evidence of support for a particular candidate. FIRE wrote President Frank G. Pogue on September 1, explaining that this policy unduly restricted the right to freedom of speech. In response, Director of Public Relations Vanessa Littleton claimed that GSU does not prohibit political expression on campus, but cited GSU’s “Email Use Policy,” which substantially restricted freedom of speech. For example, it banned “joke emails” and those containing “offensive comments” about one’s political beliefs, among other things. FIRE wrote President Pogue again, this time regarding the university’s legally problematic email code. Pogue responded on October 8, promising to revise the policy. In August 2011, GSU adopted a new email use policy, which did not ban jokes, offensive comments, or political speech.