Bridgewater State University

Location: Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Website: http://www.bridgew.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Bridgewater 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Free Expression Policy

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    As defined below, public forum areas are generally available for speeches and demonstrations between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Except as further provided below, the use of these areas for speaking, demonstrating, and other forms of expression must be approved at least 24 hours in advance by the university’s chief of police or his or her designee.

    Other areas of the campus and other times are occasionally used for speeches and demonstrations. Such activities in these limited forum areas must be approved by the chief of police or designee at least 48 hours in advance.

    Traditional public forums include the university’s lawns, sidewalks, malls, and similar common areas such as the Boyden Quadrangle and the Maxwell Library Mall.

    These facilities shall be available to any person, but members of the university community and their organizations shall have preference in the use of the facilities.

    … Exceptions to the advance approval requirement may be made in the case of spontaneous speech-related events which are occasioned by news or affairs coming into public knowledge less than 24 hours prior to such event. In such a case, responsive expressional activities in the public forum areas of the campus require no advance notice.

    No speech or demonstration may create a clear and present danger of the commission of unlawful acts, or include “fighting words,” which are those words that by their very utterance tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.

     

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  • Student Handbook: Free Expression Policy

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    With the approval of the chief of police or designee at least 24 hours in advance, non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines, and other written materials may be distributed on a person-to-person basis in open areas on campus that are at least 10 feet from the entrances or exits of university buildings. Outdoor recreation areas, such as playing fields, courts, and grounds adjacent to private residences, such as residence halls and staff housing, are not included in the definition of “open areas.”

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  • Sexual Violence Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is prohibited when:

    • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or
    • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or
    • such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating a sexually intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.

    Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:

    • repeatedly pressuring another person for sexual activity;
    • making sexist remarks about an individual’s clothing, body or sexual activities;
    • unnecessary touching, patting or pinching another person;
    • demanding sex from a subordinate while making threats concerning the subordinate’s job;
    • demanding sex from a student while making implied threats concerning the student’s grade;
    • electronically transmitting derogatory, demeaning or pornographic materials;
    • posting explicit sexual pictures on an exterior office door or on a computer monitor; and
    • sexually assaulting another person.

    Examples of gender-based harassment include, but are not limited to:

    • using derogatory comments and terms toward a male or female who do not act in ways that align with their gender stereotype, such as a male being called names for being interested in the arts or a female being called names for being interested in construction;
    • telling someone to use a restroom that does not align with that person’s gender identity; and
    • making generalized derogatory comments about one gender, such as “all females” are ______ or “all males” are _______.

    The State Universities are committed to protecting, maintaining and encouraging both freedom of expression and full academic freedom of inquiry, teaching, service and research. Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to penalize a member of the University community for expressing an opinion, theory, or idea in the process of responsible teaching and learning. Any form of speech or conduct, no matter how offensive, unpleasant or even hateful, which is protected by the principles of academic freedom or the U.S. Constitution, is not subject to this policy.

     

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    “Bullying” means the severe or repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal, or electronic expression, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another individual that has the effect of: causing physical or emotional harm to the other student or damage to the other student’s property; placing the other student in reasonable fear of harm to him/herself or damage to his/her property; creating a hostile environment at school for the other student; infringing on the rights of other students on campus; materially and substantially altering the education process or the orderly operation of the University.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    The following list of behaviors is intended to represent the types of acts that constitute violations of The Student Code. Although the list is extensive, it should not be regarded as all­inclusive. All community members are responsible for knowing and observing all Policies.

    Harming behavior, which includes, but is not limited to: the true threat of or actual physical force or abuse or bullying. In determining whether an act constitutes bullying, The Office of Community Standards will consider the full context of any given incident, giving due consideration to the protection of the members of the University community, and the individual rights, freedom of speech, academic freedom and advocacy required by law. Please note that not every act that might be offensive to an individual or a group necessarily will be considered a violation of The Student Code.

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  • Student Handbook: Responsible Use of Information Technology

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    Use only computer accounts and communication facilities which you are duly authorized to use and use them for the purposes for which they were intended; for example, you should not use University information technology to run a private business for financial gain or to solicit others for commercial ventures, religious or political causes or outside organizations.

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  • Student Handbook: Free Expression Policy

    Speech Code Category: Security Fee Policies
    Last updated: May 23, 2017

    The need for university staff support, including police support, in conjunction with any use of facilities or areas, shall be determined by the chief of police or designee, in coordination with the chief of police. Users may be required to sign an agreement to reimburse the university for any out-of-pocket costs arising from staff support. In the event of unforeseen or extraordinary staff support needs arising from the particular nature of the event, the university reserves the right to bill users of campus facilities whether or not such staffing support has been agreed to in advance.

     

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  • Massachusetts State Universities Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 24, 2017

    Discriminatory harassment. A form of unlawful discrimination including verbal and/or physical conduct based on legally protected characteristics and/or membership in a protected class that: 1. has the purpose or effect of creating an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment; 2. has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational opportunities; or 3. otherwise unreasonably adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.

    Examples of discriminatory harassment, all of which are prohibited by this Policy, include, but are not limited to: …

    • Directing epithets, slurs, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes or stories at an individual or group because of that person or persons’ membership in a protected class.
    • Displaying hostile, derogatory and/or intimidating symbols/objects, such as offensive posters, cartoons, bulletins, drawings, photographs, magazines, written articles or stories, screen savers, or electronic communications, to an individual or group because of that person or persons’ membership in a protected class.

    [A]ny form of speech or conduct that is protected by the principles of academic freedom or the First Amendment to the United States Constitution is not subject to this Policy.

    Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is prohibited when:

    • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or
    • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or
    • such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating a sexually intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.

    Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:

    • repeatedly pressuring another person for sexual activity;
    • making sexist remarks about an individual’s clothing, body or sexual activities;
    • unnecessary touching, patting or pinching another person;
    • demanding sex from a subordinate while making threats concerning the subordinate’s job;
    • demanding sex from a student while making implied threats concerning the student’s grade;
    • electronically transmitting derogatory, demeaning or pornographic materials;
    • posting explicit sexual pictures on an exterior office door or on a computer monitor; and
    • sexually assaulting another person.

    In order for conduct to constitute sexual harassment under this Policy, a reasonable person under similar circumstance would have to conclude that the behavior was harassing or discriminatory.

    The Universities are committed to protecting, maintaining and encouraging both freedom of expression and full academic freedom of inquiry, teaching, service and research. Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to penalize a member of the University community for expressing an opinion, theory, or idea in the process of responsible teaching and learning. Any form of speech or conduct, no matter how offensive, unpleasant or even hateful, which is protected by the principles of academic freedom or the U.S. Constitution, is not subject to this policy.

    » Read More


At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • ‘Boston Globe’ Defends Bridgewater State Newspaper

    May 4, 2012

    Recently, we’ve highlighted the threats to freedom of the press regarding The Comment, a student newspaper at Bridgewater State University (BSU) in Massachusetts, after it published the name and some other identifying information of a BSU student who had spoken publicly about her experiences as a victim of sexual assault at a BSU “Take Back the Night” rally. The controversy has drawn critics as well as defenders of the journalistic choices of The Comment, and The Boston Globe is one of the latest defenders. Despite the fact that the student volunteered her story in front of a crowd of roughly […]

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