Florida State University

Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Website: http://www.fsu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Florida 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.

This school does not have any cases at this time.

Red Light Policies

  • A Summons to Responsible Freedom 13-14

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

    The university expects each individual to make a special effort to ensure that all are treated with dignity and respect and accorded the full opportunities of the University. Racism, whether in assumptions, attitudes, acts, or policies, is incompatible with the concept of responsible freedom as espoused by The Florida State University.

    » Read More

  • Student Conduct Code: Sexual Misconduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Conduct of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person. This includes unwanted, unwelcome, inappropriate, or irrelevant sexual or gender-based behaviors, actions or comments.

    » Read More

  • Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Behavior that may be considered offensive, demeaning, or degrading to persons or groups will not be tolerated.

    » Read More

Yellow Light Policies
  • Posting Regulation 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies

    Materials posted or distributed may not: glorify, edify, promote or support the use or sale of alcohol or illegal drugs; display trademarks and or brand names of alcohol or illegal drug products; contain material that is obscene or defamatory; be directed to incite or promote imminent lawless action.

    » Read More

  • Freedom of Expression Rights and Responsibilities, Open Platform Areas 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    3.  The green area on the east side of Moore Auditorium, pavilion on the south side of Moore Auditorium and north of the Legacy Walk sidewalk, and the football stadium outside gate D in the grassy area are designated “open platforms.” … Typically, the open platform areas are intended for individual expression made often on an unplanned basis. Planned use of campus areas and facilities by groups and individuals is generally governed by FSU Regulation FSU-2.007, Use of Campus Facilities.

    4.  Organized or prearranged outdoor assemblies shall be registered at least twenty-four hours in advance in the Oglesby Union Guest Services Office located in the University Union. Exceptions to the twenty-four hour notice requirement may be granted by the Union Director.


    » Read More

  • The Seminole Creed 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience

    As a member of this community, I promise the following: … I will learn from and about those who are different and work to make the University inclusive. … I will treat others in a fair manner and strive to make the University a community of justice. … I will act as a responsible citizen in the University and beyond, participating in those activities fostering citizenship.

    » Read More

  • Guide to Residence Living: Community Expectations 13-14

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

    University Housing respects and celebrates the diversity of residents housed therein. Acts of intolerance and/or harassment due to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation are neither appropriate nor tolerated.

    Students will refrain from harassment and verbal abuse of other students.

    » Read More

  • Sexual Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    3. Definition: Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature directed at an employee or student by another when:
    a. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, academic status, receipt of University services, participation in University activities and programs, or affects the measure of a student’s academic performance; or
    b. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for a decision affecting employment, academic status, receipt of services, participation in University activities and programs, or the measure of a student’s academic performance; or
    c. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with employment opportunities, work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.
    4. Examples of Sexual Harassment: Incidents of sexual harassment may involve persons of different or the same gender. They may involve persons having equal or unequal power, authority or influence. Though romantic and sexual relationships between persons of unequal power do not necessarily constitute sexual harassment, there is an inherent conflict of interest between making sexual overtures and exercising supervisory, educational, or other institutional authority. Decisions affecting an employee’s job responsibilities, promotion, pay, benefits, or other terms or conditions of employment, or a student’s grades, academic progress, evaluation, student status, recommendations, references, referrals, and opportunities for further study, employment or career advancement, must be made solely on the basis of merit.

    Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following, when they occur within the circumstances described in Section (3) above:

    a. Use of gender-based verbal or written language, including electronic communications offensive or degrading to a person of that gender, whether or not the content is sexual;
    b. Inappropriate display of gender-based pictorial images offensive or degrading to a person of that gender, including but not limited to sexual posters, photographs, cartoons, drawings, or other displays of sexually suggestive objects or pictures;
    c. Use of inappropriate gestures or body language of a sexual nature, including leering or staring at another;
    d. Unwelcome requests or demands for sexual favors or unwelcome sexual advances;
    e. Inappropriate nonconsensual touching of another’s body, including but not limited to kissing, pinching, groping, fondling, or blocking normal movement;
    f. Sexual battery. (Note: some acts of sexual harassment may also constitute violations of criminal law, e.g., sexual battery, indecent exposure, sexual abuse, etc. In such instances, please refer to the University’s Sexual Battery Policy.)

    » Read More

  • Student Conduct Code: Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    a. Conduct, (not of a sexual nature), that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for another person.

    b. Action(s) or statement(s) that threaten harm or intimidate another …

    d. Bullying behavior, defined as: the systematic and chronic infliction of physical hurt or psychological distress by teasing, social exclusion, threat, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, theft, harassment, or destruction of property.

    » Read More

  • Use of University Information Technology Resources 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    University IT resources may not be utilized:

    To harass another person. Users should not transmit to others or display images, sounds, or messages that might be perceived by a reasonable person as being, or have been identified as, harassing.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Student Conduct Code: Scope 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    The right of all students to seek knowledge, debate ideas, form opinions, and freely express their ideas is fully recognized by Florida State University. This Student Conduct Code applies to student conduct and will not be used to discipline the lawful expression of ideas.

    » Read More

  • FIRE Report Finds Very Restrictive Speech Codes at American Universities

    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
  • Civil Rights Experts: Florida Universities Prime Offenders Against Students’ Free Speech

    November 13, 2012

    by Eric Giunta Sunshine State News   Each of the 10 public colleges and universities in Florida evaluated by a major civil liberties organization has “some policies that could ban or excessively regulate protected speech,” and nearly all of them have “at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. That’s the verdict of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a nonpartisan civil rights organization dedicated, in its own words, “to defending core constitutional rights on university campuses.” Last week the foundation set its sights on Tallahassee’s own Florida State University in a memo addressed to […]

    » Read More
  • College Athletes Caught in Tangled Web

    May 24, 2006

    Four San Diego State students recently logged on to a computer and did what thousands of other college students do these days during their spare time. They were having fun on MySpace.com, posting personal party pictures and commentaries about life in college. Some included references to drinking alcoholic beverages and snide remarks about recent soccer practices, according to a student colleague of the four. But because the four students were athletes – in this case women’s soccer players – they suffered a penalty for it. When they didn’t heed their coach’s warning to stop posting on the site, they were […]

    » Read More
  • FIRE Staff Appearing on Campus in Honor of Constitution Day

    September 17, 2014

    FIRE staff members will be traveling to Florida State University (FSU) and North Carolina State University (NC State) to speak to student groups as a part of their Constitution Week celebrations. Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program, will be speaking at FSU on “Fighting Back Against Speech Codes and Free Speech Zones at Florida State.” Robert Shibley, FIRE’s Senior Vice President, will be speaking at NC State on “Liberty in Peril: Speech Codes on Our Nation’s College Campuses.” Students, faculty, and FIRE supporters in both areas are invited to hear the presentations.

    » Read More
  • FIRE’s Sevcenko: A Closer Look at Winston Case

    January 31, 2014

    College football’s 2013 season is over, but unfortunately the issue of sexual assault on campus is a year-round issue. A few days ago, The Michigan Daily reported that former kicker Brendan Gibbons was expelled from the University of Michigan, soon after he was no longer eligible to play football but years after an alleged sexual assault took place in 2009. Earlier this week, ESPN reported that the University of Missouri failed to investigate allegations of sexual assault against football players raised by a student who later committed suicide. And questions have been raised about whether sexual assault allegations against Florida State […]

    » Read More
  • ‘Tampa Bay Times’ on Potential for Civil Rights Violations at Florida State

    December 13, 2013

    For her most recent column, Tampa Bay Times columnist Robyn E. Blumner spoke with FIRE’s Robert Shibley about campus sexual misconduct hearings. Blumner discussed why universities are “stuck in the middle” between allegations that they are not doing enough to punish students accused of sexual misconduct and reminders from FIRE and other civil liberties organizations that they must grant students a fair hearing. As Blumner points out, these competing pressures could have significant ramifications for Jameis Winston, a Florida State University (FSU) football player accused of sexually assaulting a woman approximately a year ago. In late November, State Attorney Willie Meggs decided not […]

    » Read More
  • Ball State Student’s Tweets Receive Criticism, No Official Sanction

    September 13, 2013

    After Ball State University Student Government Association (SGA) president Malachi Randolph posted a series of derogatory tweets last week, the Ball State administration shared just the right message about the repercussions of such speech: “His remarks are not a violation of any university policy or law,” said Tony Proudfoot, a university spokesperson. “He is likely to find, however, that such remarks do have unintended social consequences beyond formal actions from the university.” The tweets in question included statements like “I hate when Chinese people make me write emails in Asian speak” and “Stereotypical Chinese

    » Read More
  • ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Racist Speech Raises First Amendment Concerns at Florida State

    September 6, 2013

    At Florida State University, a controversy has erupted in response to a student’s posting on the social media platform Vine. FSUNews.com reports: The student, Mandy Thurston, made racially-charged comments on the social media platform Vine, which ignited outrage from Florida State and Florida A&M University students alike. The statement was perceived as highly offensive and quickly received school-wide attention.  FSUNews.com also has a screen capture of the post.  The FSU administration has released a joint statement by Vice President for Student Affairs Mary Coburn and Student Government President Rosie Contreras in response to the controversy. The full statement can be […]

    » Read More
  • Students Strive to Open Florida State’s Campus to More Free Speech

    April 12, 2013

    If ever a major public university needed campus activism to prod along improvement of its policies regulating student speech, Florida State University does. Despite being legally bound by the First Amendment as a public institution of higher education, FSU has a whopping 11 speech codes, including two “red light” policies and nine “yellow light” policies.  One of these yellow light speech codes is a free speech zone policy (PDF) limiting student speech and expressive activity to three areas on campus. On a large public campus with a sizeable student body, this is simply insufficient. These types of policies are particularly […]

    » Read More
  • More Sunlight Needed to Disinfect Speech Codes in Florida

    November 13, 2012

    FIRE’s own Greg Lukianoff and Azhar Majeed highlight speech code problems at colleges and universities in the state of Florida in an interview with Eric Giunta in today’s Sunshine State News. As Azhar notes in the article: “The vast majority of Florida schools have at least one policy that clearly and substantially restricts free speech … That’s certainly a poor record, and it’s somewhere around average in terms of university performance in other states.” The article is wide-ranging, covering recent developments at speech-restrictive Florida State University as well as Greg’s new book, Unlearning Liberty. Check it out!

    » Read More
  • Still Looking for Answers from Phi Beta Kappa

    December 14, 2005

    FIRE recently wrote a letter to John Churchill, secretary of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, in which we ask the organization to stand behind its stated commitment to freedom of expression by addressing the issue of repressive speech codes at its member institutions. In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), Churchill responded that although Phi Beta Kappa is “interested in freedom of inquiry and freedom of expression,” the society does not “undertake that kind of investigative activity.” Apparently, the society has the resources to conduct a “rigorous three-year review” of prospective member institutions that includes […]

    » Read More
  • So, What I Hear You Saying Is—You Aren’t Offended

    August 29, 2005

    The NCAA controversy surrounding the supposedly “hostile” and “abusive” Native American team names is a reflection of more than a good idea gone bad—it’s a classic case of what happens when a body of administrators enacts policies that are too vague and subjective. As noted by my colleague Robert in a previous entry, the NCAA recently issued a new policy banning usage of team names derived from any ethnic/racial/national group that could be perceived as offensive. This includes mascots, school or team nicknames, and some team imagery as well. The policy is getting all kinds of reactions, and here is […]

    » Read More