Boise State University

Location: Boise, Idaho
Website: www.boisestate.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Boise 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

  • Student Code of Conduct: Proscribed Conduct- Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    A violation may include conduct by any means that is severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment that would cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress and undermine his or her ability to work, study, learn or participate in regular life activities or in the activities of the university, and actually does cause the person substantial emotional distress and undermines his or her ability to work, study, learn or participate in regular life activities or in the activities of the university. Harassing conduct may be verbal, written, visual, electronic or physical in nature, and include only one instance to be considered harassment.

    Violations of this section include, but are not limited to:

    1. Verbal abuse or hostile behavior such as insulting, name calling, teasing, mocking, degrading or ridiculing another person or group, this may include comments distributed via or published on the internet;

    2. Conduct that is physically offensive, harmful, threatening or humiliating such as impending or blocking movement, leering or staring;

    3. Unwelcome or inappropriate physical contact such as kissing, hugging, pinching, patting, groping;

    4. Physical assault or stalking; or

    5. Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual advances, flirtations, propositions, requests for sexual favors, comments, questions, epithets or demands.

    » Read More

  • Boise State University Policy #1060: Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    Harassment consists of unwelcome behavior that is based upon a person’s protected class. Harassment includes conduct that demeans or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his or her protected class and is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for academic pursuits, employment, or participation in University sponsored activities.

    Harassing conduct may be verbal, written, visual or physical in nature. It includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Verbal abuse or hostile behavior such as insulting, name calling, teasing, mocking, degrading or ridiculing another person or group;
    2. Conduct that is physically offensive, harmful, threatening or humiliating such as impending or blocking movement, leering or staring;
    3. Unwelcome or inappropriate physical contact such as kissing, hugging, pinching, patting, grabbing;
    4. Physical assault or stalking;
    5. Unwelcome or inappropriate sexual advances, flirtations, propositions, requests for sexual favors, comments, questions, epithets or demands;

    » Read More

  • Office of Institutional Compliance & Ethics: Title IX- Sexual Harassment and Assault

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can happen regardless of the sex or gender of the parties involved.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Code of Conduct: Proscribed Conduct- Disorderly Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    A violation may include, but is not limited to: 1. Conduct that a reasonable person would find offensive such as lewd, indecent, obscene, or profane actions.

    » Read More

  • Statement of Shared Values

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    Membership in the campus community is a privilege and requires its members to conduct themselves ethically with integrity and civility.

    In a culture of intellectual inquiry and debate, where the search for knowledge and discovery flourish, campus community members are expected to demonstrate civility, abide by norms of decorum, and adhere to the principles of civil discourse.

    » Read More

  • Student Organization Handbook: Soliciting, Fundraising and Publicity

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    Soliciting, fundraising and general publicity may take place only at designated, reserved locations. These reservations can be made through University Conference Services. Distribution, solicitation or fundraising will not be allowed away from the assigned location. Fundraising and/or solicitation for donations by recognized student organizations require approval from the Student Involvement & Leadership Center. Complete a Fundraiser Request, available online via OrgSync, to get approval for your solicitation.

    » Read More

  • Boise State University Policy # 1065: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    Harassment – A form of discrimination consisting of unwanted conduct that is so severe, pervasive, or persistent that it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment that would cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress and undermine the ability to work, study, learn, or participate in regular life activities or in the activities of the University, and actually does cause the harassed person(s) these difficulties. Harassing conduct may be verbal, written, visual, electronic or physical in nature.

    Hostile Environment – An environment created through conduct that is so severe, pervasive, or persistent that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from Boise State’s programs and services. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical. A single or isolated incident of sex or gender-based harassment or discrimination may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. Additionally, use of personal social networking programs may create a hostile environment if the use is intimidating or offensive and is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with an individual’s ability to participate or benefit from programs and services.

    […]

    Sexual Harassment – Harassment on the basis of sex or gender includes, but is not limited to:

    • an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship;
    • to repeatedly subject a person to unwelcome sexual attention, unwanted comments, or communications or jokes of a sexual nature or about their sexual experiences or orientation;
    • to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual request;
    • to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances;
    • stalking, if predicated on a target’s sex or gender;
    • threatened or actual sexual violence; and
    • bullying someone on the basis of sex or gender including for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity, including repeated use of degrading words, gestures, or sounds to describe a person.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Code of Conduct: Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: October 1, 2015

    As members of the University, students enjoy the same freedoms of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that all citizens enjoy.

    » Read More

  • Boise State University Policy # 8000: Information Technology Resource Use

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    The First Amendment rights of academic freedom and freedom of expression, including the responsibilities associated with those rights, apply to the use of University IT Resources.

    […]

    University IT resources shall not be used for:

    Visiting, viewing or distributing Internet sites or materials that contain obscenity, as defined under applicable federal and state law; and publishing, displaying, transmitting, retrieving or storing such obscene material.

    Creating or distributing defamatory material or true threats, as defined under applicable law or other illegal activity, including but not limited to stalking as defined under applicable law.

     

    » Read More

  • Boise State University Policy # 1100: Use of University Space

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 23, 2016

    Boise State University is a state institution of higher education supportive of the right of free expression and Speech Activities by the University Community and others.

    […]

    So long as it does not constitute Disrupting Activity, pamphlets, signs, notices, brochures, banners, handouts, flyers, and other free-expression materials may be freely distributed in Public Areas.

    So long as it does not constitute a Disrupting Noise or violate the University’s anti-harassment policies, speech-making, demonstrations, and other forms of oral presentation are allowed in all areas of the University. Sound amplification, including by use of equipment designed or used for sound production, reproduction, or amplification, which creates Disrupting Noise is not permitted on campus.

    » Read More


  • Could SEC Recruiting Rules Have Prevented Sexual Assault at Baylor? (+video)

    June 1, 2016

    By Max Lewontin at The Christian Science Monitor As Baylor University in Waco,Texas, grapples with allegations that university officials mishandled sexual assault cases against members of its football team, another powerful athletic conference in the South is strengthening its recruiting rules on students disciplined for sexual assault… Read more here.

    » Read More
  • Conservative And Libertarian Messages Require High ‘Security Fees’ On Campus

    June 10, 2015

    By Matt Lamb at The College Fix ANALYSIS Restrictions on student speech, such as free speech zones, often hit groups across the ideological spectrum in roughly the same way. Conservative and libertarian groups, however, sometimes get an odd choice from campus administrators: You can speak, but it’ll cost you. Messages that could theoretically provoke violence because they stir up such strong emotions seem to be a favorite target of the pay-to-play option on campus. It’s only when watchdog groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervene that administrators back down, according to […]

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  • Boise State University to Pay $20,000 to Pro-Life Group After Backtracking on Censorship

    June 6, 2015

    By Ray Nothstine at The Christian Post Boise State University has agreed to revise its speech policy after Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit last year on behalf of a pro-life student group that was censored on the Boise, Idaho, campus in 2014. ADF and Boise State mutually agreed to end the suit after the school agreed to pay $19,900 in legal fees to Abolitionists4Life and $100 in damages. In April and May of 2014, Abolitionists4Life hosted two events titled “Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust” and “What Has Roe Done for Us?” An official at the University demanded that the […]

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  • Trending: Conservatives, Christians Take Campus Battles to Court – And Win

    August 11, 2014

    By Jennifer Kabbany at The College Fix They’ve been ordered not to hand out copies of the U.S. Constitution. They’ve been denied promotions because of their faith. They’ve been forced to help pay for abortion-inducing birth control. They’ve been judged solely by the color of their skin. And they’re fighting back. And they’re winning. Conservative and Christian students and professors who have been denied free speech or faced discrimination and religious persecution because of their beliefs have recently enjoyed a string of courthouse victories in what’s amounting to something of a banner year for such causes. There’s been at least six […]

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  • Boise State Gives Back ‘Security Fee’ to Group That Hosted Gun-Rights Speaker

    July 21, 2014

    By College Fix Staff at The College Fix Boise State University will give back the $465 “security fee” it charged its Young Americans for Liberty chapter to host an event with 2nd Amendment speaker Dick Heller, the Associated Press reported. The school faced heavy criticism across the ideological spectrum for the move, with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education calling the fee – which was sprung on the group less than a day before the event – a “heckler’s veto” over unpopular speech. Boise State isn’t changing its event policies, though, as requested by Idaho Freedom Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, university attorney […]

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  • Forced to Pay Security Fee for Gun-Rights Event, Students Demand Refund

    July 14, 2014

    By Christopher White at The College Fix Boise State University took unconstitutional actions by charging security fees to a student group that hosted a Second Amendment event featuring the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s 2008 Heller decision, the students allege – adding they want their money back. The students are supported by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which jumped into the fray last week, following the lead of several Idaho groups. FIRE told the university in a letter that it violated the First Amendment rights of BSU’s Young Americans for Liberty chapter. Federal courthouse security guard Dick Heller prevailed in his challenge […]

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  • Boise State U. Charged Libertarian Students Gigantic ‘Security Fee’ to Host Pro-Gun Speaker

    July 7, 2014

    By Robby Soave at Reason Online Boise State University trampled a libertarian student club’s free speech rights by forcing the group to pay a large fee before administrators would permit a gun rights activist to speak on campus, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. The Young Americans for Liberty invited Dick Heller, one of the plaintiffs in the landmark Supreme Court Case District of Columbia v. Heller, to discuss his pro-Second Amendment views at an even in May. A mere 24 hours before the event, Boise State told YAL that the group would have to pay a $465 “security […]

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  • BSU Faces Lawsuit over Limits on Campus Protests

    June 30, 2014

    By Kimberlee Kruesi at SFGate BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Boise State University‘s use of “speech zones” to contain student protests violates First Amendment rights, an anti-abortion group claims in a recent lawsuit. Student-group Abolitionists4Life filed the lawsuit against the university last Friday after the university put restrictions on two of their protests earlier this year. Currently, the university has 11 speech zones designated as protest areas on its campus which make up less than 1 percent of the 175-acre campus. Students must reserve the space in 72-hours in advance on a first come, first served basis, put up advisory signs if the university determines […]

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  • Boise State Revises Speech-Restrictive Policies to Settle First Amendment Lawsuit

    June 4, 2015

    Last June, student group Abolitionists4Life filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Boise State University for restricting members’ flyer distribution to one of eight “speech zones” that total less than 1 percent of the Boise State campus and for demanding that the group provide warning signs around their displays because they were “controversial.” Aided by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the group argued that it was targeted because of its viewpoint, while other student groups were not subject to the same warning requirement. This week, the case was settled, and Boise State has revised its policies in order to allow students to […]

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  • Boise State Works Toward Revising Some Restrictive Policies

    September 15, 2014

    Sometimes, the enforcement of an unconstitutional speech policy can be an eye-opening experience for college administrators, leading to a greater understanding of the need for precise language that appropriately protects speech rights on campus. This appears to be the case at Boise State University (BSU), which late last week formally agreed to work toward revising some of its policies in order to ensure that they comply with the First Amendment and the ideals of higher education. The impetus for this announcement comes from a dispute that began in May 2014, when the Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapter at BSU […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Boise State University

    September 10, 2014

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for September 2014: Boise State University.
    Boise State’s Information Technology Resource Use policy (PDF) prohibits the use of university IT resources for “displaying, transmitting, retrieving, or storing inappropriate or offensive material,” unless “identified and pre-approved in writing by the [Vice President for] Academic Affairs and Provost as part of legitimate research, teaching, or academic pursuits.”

    » Read More
  • Concern Mounts Over Boise State’s Speech Policies

    July 15, 2014

    Earlier this month, FIRE intervened at Boise State University (BSU), where administrators saddled the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) with an unconstitutional security fee for hosting an event featuring gun rights activist and former Supreme Court litigant Dick Heller. BSU attempted to justify the fee by pointing to alleged concerns about a non-student encouraging attendees to openly carry firearms at the event—despite the fact that YAL had publicly cautioned that such behavior was prohibited. We warned BSU that its policies allowing the imposition of security fees on speech based on the potential reaction of listeners violate the Supreme Court’s longstanding First Amendment jurisprudence.

    » Read More
  • Gun Rights Activist’s Speech Draws Unconstitutional Security Fees at Boise State

    July 7, 2014

    BOISE, Idaho, July 7, 2014—The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has intervened at Boise State University after the college charged a student group hundreds of dollars in unconstitutional security fees for hosting a speech by a gun rights activist. Boise State forced the campus chapter of Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) to pay the fees or else face the last-minute cancellation of an event featuring Dick Heller, the named plaintiff in a well-known 2008 Supreme Court case regarding the possession of firearms. “You could hardly ask for a clearer violation of a student group’s First Amendment rights,” said Peter […]

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  • Victory for Free Speech and Religious Liberty at Boise State University

    August 11, 2009

    The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) and Christian Legal Society (CLS), after filing suit against Boise State University over its discriminatory exclusion of religious organizations from the ability to receive funding from student fees, announced yesterday that Boise State has rewritten its policies to give religious groups equal access to the funds along with other student organizations. This is a strong victory for freedom of speech and legal equality. As the CLS complaint and brief (both PDFs) in Cordova v. Laliberte point out, Boise State was the sole institution of higher education in the State of Idaho relying—erroneously—on the Idaho Constitution’s […]

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