Location: Athens, Alabama
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit
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.
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
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.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
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.
As defined by this policy, sexual harassment includes but is not limited to: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, graphic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment occurs 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 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.
Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
Violations of the Code include, but may not be limited to: … Behaving in a manner that a reasonable person would find alarming, intimidating, or harassing, including but not limited to slander, libel, making threats, bullying, or stalking.
Student Organization Handbook: Regulations for Posting and Distributing Organization Materials 13-14
Speech Code Category: Posting Policies
All materials to be posted or distributed must be approved and officially stamped by the Office of Student Activities.
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 […]» Read More
March 6, 2015
By Johnny Kampis at MississippiWatchdog.org 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 […]» Read More
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 […]» Read More
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, […]» Read More