Athens State University

Location: Athens, Alabama
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Athens State University 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.

Red Light Policies

  • Computer Technology Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 12, 2016

    Such unacceptable use includes, but is not limited to, the following: … Creating, displaying, transmitting or making accessible threatening, racist, sexist, and offensive, annoying or harassing language and/or material.

    » Read More

  • Harassment and Discrimination Policy and Procedure

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 12, 2016

    For the purposes of this policy, harassment is any conduct consisting of words or actions that are unwelcome or offensive to a person in relation to race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, disability, religion, genetic information, or veteran status. Harassment occurs when it is known, or ought reasonably to be known, that the comments or conduct are unwelcome.

    Examples of harassment include but are not limited to: gestures, remarks, jokes, taunting, innuendo, display of offensive materials, threats, imposition of academic penalties, hazing, stalking, shunning or exclusion related to the discriminatory or harassing grounds. Harassing words or comments may be in verbal, printed, or electronic form.

    » Read More

  • Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 12, 2016

    For the purposes of University policy, sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to verbal or non-verbal conduct that is intimidating, demeaning, hostile, or offensive with an inappropriate focus on gender or sexual history, individual characteristics or individual orientation; unwelcomed verbal or physical advances; attempts to subject a person to unwanted sexual attention or to coerce a person into sexual relations; and/or intimidation or retaliation for refusal to comply with sexual demands. In particular, sexual harassment occurs when submission to, or rejection of, the conduct is either an explicit or implicit condition of an individual’s employment or educational experience, or when the conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance, or when the conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment. Sexual harassment can occur between individuals of the opposite sex, or between individuals of the same sex. The person claiming harassment does not have to be the individual who is harassed, but may be anyone whose employment or educational experience is adversely affected by the conduct.

    Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of situations, including but not limited to:


    4. Continued or repeated sexual jokes, kidding, teasing, flirtation, advances, or propositions.

    5. Verbal or written abuse of a sexual nature.

    6. Graphic verbal or written commentary or questions concerning an individual’s body, clothing, sexual activity, or sexual orientation.

    7. Sexually degrading or vulgar words to describe an individual.

    8. Leering, whistling, or suggestive, insulting, or obscene comments or gestures.

    9. Derogatory or demeaning comments about gender, whether sexual or not.

    10. Harassment consistently targeted at only one sex, even if the conduct is not sexual, such as name calling, gossip, comments, or jokes that are derogatory toward a particular sex.

    11. Display in the workplace or in an academic environment of inappropriate sexually suggestive objects, images, posters, cartoons, graffiti, or the like.

    » Read More

Yellow Light Policies
  • Alert Lets Colleges Know Of Need For Change In Speech Policies

    March 20, 2015

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow Unconstitutional speech policies at a couple of southern universities are being tagged with “red light” ratings from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Azhar Majeed of FIRE says the prohibitive policy at Athens State University in Alabama prevents students from transmitting anything online deemed to be “threatening,” “sexist,” “offensive,” or even “annoying.” “And so these are very broad terms,” Majeed says. “These are broad regulations and they cut out and make punishable a great deal of student speech that’s protected by the First Amendment.” As a result of the letter sent by FIRE, Majeed […]

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  • Alabama, Mississippi Colleges Cited For Free Speech Infringement Policies

    March 6, 2015

    By Johnny Kampis at CULLMAN, Ala. — At Athens State University in Alabama, students can’t transmit online anything deemed “threatening,” annoying” or “offensive.” At the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, student organizations must register with the Office of Student Activities a month in advance before conducting protests or demonstrations. These policies earned those schools a “red light” rating this year from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which issues an annual report examining free speech on the nation’s college campuses. Seventy percent of colleges and universities in Alabama and Mississippi examined by the Philadelphia-based FIRE received red light ratings — 10 […]

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  • Unfree Speech on Campus

    December 12, 2014

    at The Wall Street Journal Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky famously postulated that the test of a free society is the ability to express opinions in the town square without fear of reprisal. Most American colleges wouldn’t pass that test, according to a new report by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (Fire). The foundation reports that 55% of the 437 colleges it surveyed this year maintain “severely restrictive” policies that “clearly and substantially prohibit protected speech.” They include 61 private schools and 180 public colleges. Incredibly, this represents progress from Fire’s survey seven years ago when 75% of colleges maintained restrictive […]

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  • FIRE Report Finds Very Restrictive Speech Codes at American Universities

    January 21, 2014

    by Alec Torres The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) released its annual report on college-campus speech codes last week finding that while the percentage of colleges that seriously infringe upon students’ free-speech rights has diminished in recent years, many universities still burden students with overbearing and sometimes ridiculous speech regulations. Here’s a look at some of the most egregious speech codes that FIRE found: The University of Connecticut requires that “every member of the University shall refrain from actions that intimidate, humiliate, or demean persons or groups, or that undermine their security or self-esteem.” At Athens State University in Alabama, […]

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At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.