Bemidji State University

Location: Bemidji, Minnesota
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 8th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Bemidji State University has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

This school does not have any cases at this time.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, or harassment of a person including but not limited to stalking, defamation, intimidation or harassment through other persons, or use of electronic or other communication devices such as video, computers or telephones.

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  • Minnesota State Colleges and Universities: Acceptable Use of Computers and Information Technology Resources 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Users must not engage in inappropriate uses, including: … Storage, display, transmission, or intentional or solicited receipt of material that is or may be reasonably regarded as obscene, sexually explicit, or pornographic, including any depiction, photograph, audio recording, video or written word, except as such access relates to the academic pursuits of a system student or professional activities of a system employee; and “Spamming” through widespread dissemination of unsolicited and unauthorized e-mail messages.

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  • Student Handbook: Political Activity 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes

    “Political activity” means action by a person or persons promoting the candidacy of an individual or group of individuals or favoring a particular position on a public issue. Such activity may include:

    1. Distribution of political literature including handbills, cards, buttons and pamphlets;
    2. Requests to sign petitions;
    3. Discussions of candidates or issues.

    Use of available public areas in University facilities for political activity is encouraged and must be scheduled with the appropriate director of the Building or area involved.

    No person or group shall have the right to place political signs, posters, banners or similar material on or in University property. Political student organizations which are recognized under the appropriate University regulations may post signs announcing meetings of the organization.

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  • Student Handbook: Peaceful Demonstrations and Protests 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    Sponsors of demonstrations or protests must secure a registration permit from the Director of Student Union or designee at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled activity.

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  • Student Handbook: Computer Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    [S]tudents are expected to act in accord with the following general principles based on the acceptable law as well as common sense, common decency and civility applied to the networked computing environment.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Statement of Responsible Behavior. … Students will speak and listen to others with care, seeking personal understanding and maintaining respect and civility. … Behaviors that violate these responsibilities and may result in Student Conduct action are contained within the following Student Code of Conduct ….

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Harassment & Discrimination 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Discriminatory harassment is defined as verbal or physical conduct that is directed at an individual because of his her protected class, and that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to have the purpose or effect of creating a hostile work or educational environment.

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  • Being ‘offensive’ is not enough basis to limit speech

    June 13, 2013

    by Bob Kellogg OneNewsNow   A Minnesota university wants to not only restrict offensive speech but even speech that is loud or boisterous and may raise alarm. This is an abuse of the First Amendment. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has announced that the organization’s Speech Code of the Month focus has been directed on Bemidji State because of its code that prohibits language that might offend others. Robert Shibley of F.I.R.E. explains the problem with that policy. “The fact that nobody can easily determine what is offensive conduct is at the heart of the problem with this code,” he […]

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  • Minnesota’s Bemidji State Axes ‘Speech Code of the Month,’ Sheds ‘Red Light’ Rating

    June 20, 2013

    This press release was sent to local Minnesota media outlets this afternoon: MINNEAPOLIS, June 20, 2013—Free speech is safer today at Bemidji State University (BSU), which has revised a policy identified by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a free-speech watchdog group, as violating the First Amendment. The revisions came after FIRE named the policy its "Speech Code of the Month" for June 2013.  FIRE defines a "speech code" as any university regulation or policy that prohibits expression that would be protected by the First Amendment in society at large. Each month, FIRE features a particularly restrictive speech […]

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  • Bemidji State Revises ‘Speech Code of the Month,’ Sheds ‘Red Light’ Rating

    June 18, 2013

    On June 5, FIRE announced that Minnesota’s Bemidji State University was our June 2013 Speech Code of the Month for language in its student conduct code prohibiting "offensive" speech. Happily, less than a week later, Bemidji State tweeted at FIRE a notification that it had revised the objectionable language in its code.   When we named it Speech Code of the Month, the relevant section of Bemidji State’s conduct code prohibited engaging in any offensive, obscene or abusive language, or in boisterous or noisy conduct reasonably tending to arouse alarm, resentment, or anger in others on University-owned or controlled property or […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Bemidji State University

    June 5, 2013

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for June 2013: Bemidji State University in Minnesota. Bemidji State’s Student Code of Conduct prohibits: engaging in any offensive, obscene or abusive language, or in boisterous or noisy conduct reasonably tending to arouse alarm, resentment, or anger in others on University-owned or controlled property or at University sponsored or supervised activities. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, speech and expression cannot be prohibited simply because others find it offensive. In Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397, 414 (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court held that "[i]f there is a bedrock […]

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