FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for July 2015: Florida State University (FSU).
FSU’s Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement provides that “[b]ehavior that may be considered offensive, demeaning, or degrading to persons or groups will not be tolerated.” This language is so broad that you could drive a truck through it, leaving the university with unfettered discretion to punish virtually any speech or expression it finds undesirable. Seeming to realize just that, the policy explicitly makes the university’s complaint procedures “available to all who believe their experience on any of our campuses has been less than appropriate.”» Read More
This extraordinarily broad policy leaves faculty and students at risk of punishment—up to and including “dismissal from the University”—for sending virtually any message the content of which offends another person.» Read More
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for May 2015: Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in Michigan.
LSSU’s Posting Policy, found in the Student Handbook, requires that all postings be approved by the university’s Campus Life Office and provides that “[p]ostings deemed offensive, sexist, vulgar, discriminatory or suggestive will not be approved.” The potential sanctions for violating the policy include not only removal of one’s flyers, but also “disciplinary sanctioning of the individual(s) involved.”» Read More
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for April 2015: Florida A&M University (FAMU).
According to FAMU’s Student Code of Conduct, “disorderly conduct” includes not only things like public drunkenness, but also the “use of profanity in public” and the use of “insulting” language. This policy is a clear violation of FAMU students’ First Amendment rights.» Read More
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2015: Marquette University.
If you’ve been following higher ed news or reading The Torch recently, you are probably aware that Marquette University is no friend of free speech. In fact, FIRE recently named Marquette one of the ten worst abusers of free speech for its “chilling campaign to revoke the tenure of political science professor John McAdams due to writings on his private blog.”» Read More
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2015: Lyndon State College (LSC) in Vermont.» Read More
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for January 2015: Georgia Southern University (GSU).
As we begin a new year, we want to keep the focus squarely on the incursions on free speech by the federal government—specifically, by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).» Read More
Each month, FIRE singles out a particularly reprehensible campus speech code for our Speech Code of the Month designation. While all of 2014’s Speech Codes of the Month flagrantly violated students’ or faculty members’ right to free expression, two of them were so egregious that they deserve special mention as 2014’s Speech Codes of the Year.» Read More
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2014: Pennsylvania State University (Penn State).
At Penn State, “Sexual Harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is unwanted, inappropriate, or unconsented to.” This is a staggeringly broad definition that includes a tremendous amount of protected speech. According to the plain language of this policy, a single off-color joke or comment is sufficient to constitute sexual harassment if someone subjectively finds it inappropriate, or merely doesn’t consent to hearing it. This is a clear violation of students’ First Amendment rights, which Penn State—as a public university—is legally bound to uphold.» Read More
FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for November 2014: the University of Central Missouri.
While restrictive speech codes are on the decline nationwide, the University of Central Missouri (UCM) adopted several new, unconstitutional speech codes last year—a move that earned UCM FIRE’s worst, “red light,” rating for severely restricting students’ free speech rights.» Read More