California State University – Chico

Location: Chico, California
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

California State University – Chico 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

  • Residence Life Handbook: Our Commitment to Community Respect 14-15

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

    By choosing to work and/or live at Chico State, student residents and staff agree to use language and display behavior that demonstrates commitment to the following principles … Bigotry has no place within our community; and so we do not have the right to denigrate others on the basis of age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, race, gender, or religious affiliation. We will never tolerate physical, verbal, or written abuse, threats, intimidation, violence, or other forms of harassment against any member of our community. … Such behavior will be subject to the severest of disciplinary actions, which may include but are not limited to immediate removal from University Housing, suspension from the University or forfeiture of employment.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Division of Student Affairs: Description of Sexual Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment is defined as including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, repeated derogatory sexist remarks, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed toward a student or employee from a person with power or authority.

    According to guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, behavior constitutes sexual harassment in an academic setting when: … The person’s behavior is an attempt to interfere, or has the effect of interfering, with your work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.

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  • Standards for Student Conduct 14-15

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

    The University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy living and learning environment for students, faculty, and staff. Each member of the campus community must choose behaviors that contribute toward this end. Students are expected to be good citizens and to engage in responsible behaviors that reflect well upon their university, to be civil to one another and to others in the campus community, and contribute positively to student and university life.

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  • Policy on Use of Computing and Communications Technology 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Users may not use campus computing or network services to threaten, harass*, defame, or otherwise interfere with the legal rights of others. (*Harassment is defined as the creation of an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment.)

    Users should take care not to display on screens in shared facilities images, sounds, or messages which could create an atmosphere of discomfort or harassment to others. Users should make arrangements for a private work area if an assignment requires them to access such materials.

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  • Executive Order 1095: Implementation of Title IX, VAWA/Campus SaVE Act, and Related Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Legislation 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual Harassment, a form of Sex Discrimination, is unwelcome verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that includes, but is not limited to Sexual Violence, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and indecent exposure, where:

    b. Such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that its effect, whether or not intended, could be considered by a reasonable person in the shoes of the student, and is in fact considered by the student, as limiting the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or opportunities offered by the University; or

    d. Such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that its effect, whether or not intended, could be considered by a reasonable person in the shoes of the University employee or third party, and is in fact considered by the University employee or third party, as intimidating, hostile or offensive.

    Sexual Harassment also includes acts of verbal, non-verbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility based on gender or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

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Green Light Policies
  • Policy on Time, Place, and Manner of Expression 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of a democratic society and is essential to the educational process. Universities have a special obligation not only to tolerate but also to encourage and support the free expression of ideas, values and opinions, even where they may be unpopular or controversial. California State University, Chico (herein after the University) accepts and embraces this obligation, recognizing that such expression may take a variety of forms, such as speeches, signs, written materials, public assemblies, parades, demonstrations and artistic representation.

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  • Policy on Time, Place, and Manner of Expression 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    Freedom of expression extends to the right to demonstrate, protest, and advocate through public assemblies, marches, and demonstrations.

    These activities must comply with the General Limitations set forth in this policy (See General Limitations and Time, Place and Manner Guidelines).

    To address public safety issues (routes of march, necessary public safety staffing, etc.), where possible groups contemplating holding public assemblies, marches, or demonstrations are strongly encouraged to notify the University Police, preferably at least 48 hours in advance.

    In addition, to avoid conflicts with other scheduled University events, and to utilize other necessary support services and to ensure event success, where possible organizers of public assemblies, marches, or demonstrations are also strongly encouraged to notify the Facilities Reservations Office.

    Where facilities or equipment are required, formal scheduling protocols and reservation procedures for booking equipment must be followed. (See Appendix A.2).

    The University President has delegated oversight of campus demonstrations to the Vice President for Student Affairs to ensure protection of freedom of expression and constitutional rights.  This Vice President will cooperate with University Police, if needed, to implement dispersal procedures only when participants have exceeded the limits of their constitutional rights or exceeded the general limitations of this policy (See General Limitations).

    Nothing in this section should be construed as prohibiting spontaneous speech events which arise from news or affairs that reach public awareness less than 48 hours prior to the event.

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  • How Free Speech Died on Campus

    November 16, 2012

    At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—”a bizarre, parallel dimension,” as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. Mr. Lukianoff, a 38-year-old Stanford Law grad, has spent the past decade fighting free-speech battles on college campuses. The latest was last week at Fordham University, where President Joseph McShane scolded College Republicans for the sin of inviting Ann Coulter to speak.  […]

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  • Free Speech “Zones

    November 30, 2011

    Whenever I think Valdosta State University, Texas Tech, and Citrus College once had small designated campus “free speech zones,” which implied that the rest of the campus was off-limits to protest and other forms of speech. All those school got rid of their free speech limits after they were mocked in the media. I then naively assumed that the college bureaucrats had been permanently embarrassed. I was wrong. One reader just sent me this email: …had to send you this photo I took 2 years ago on the campus of Chico State University. I thought it was ironic to have […]

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  • Victory for Free Speech: California’s Chico State Scraps Unconstitutional ‘Speech Code of the Year’

    January 4, 2012

    Today’s press release announces a welcome victory: After FIRE named California State University-Chico’s definition of sexual harassment one of two “Speech Codes of the Year” for 2011, the university has scrapped the language in question. As of mid-December 2011, Chico State maintained an informational page on sexual harassment stating that faculty members committed sexual harassment if they “implicitly devalue[d] students for their gender or sexual orientation.” Examples of such harassment included “reinforcement of sexist stereotypes through subtle, often unintentional means,” including the use of “stereotypic generalizations” and the “continual use of generic masculine terms such as to refer to people […]

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  • Speech Codes of the Year: 2011

    December 27, 2011

    Each month, FIRE singles out a particularly reprehensible campus speech code for our Speech Code of the Month designation. While all of 2011’s Speech Codes of the Month flagrantly violated students’ and faculty members’ right to free expression, two of them were so egregious that they deserve special mention as 2011’s Speech Codes of the Year. University of Florida. According to the University of Florida’s Student Rights and Responsibilities policy, “Organizations or individuals that adversely upset the delicate balance of communal living will be subject to disciplinary action by the University.” If there has ever been a textbook example of […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: California State University – Chico

    March 3, 2011

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2011: California State University – Chico. We frequently talk about the impact of speech codes on student speech. But speech codes can affect faculty members, too, and the ability of faculty to teach controversial or sensitive material without fear of punishment is critical to the functioning of a university. That is why CSU Chico’s definition of sexual harassment [.pdf] is so profoundly troubling: Teachers who make disparaging remarks about or implicitly devalue students for their gender or sexual orientation can undermine students’ academic, professional, and personal growth just as much as those […]

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