Framingham State University

Location: Framingham, Massachusetts
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Framingham 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.

Red Light Policies

  • Ram Student Handbook: FSU Policy Against Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment and Retaliation

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 28, 2016

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

    • Physically harassing another individual or group because of that person’s or persons’ membership in a protected class by assaulting, touching, patting, pinching, grabbing, staring, leering at them, making lewd gestures, invading their personal space, blocking their normal movement, or other physical interference.
    • Encouraging others to physically or verbally abuse an individual (or group of individuals) because of that person or persons’ membership in a protected class.
    • Threatening to harm an individual or group because of that person or persons’ membership in a protected class.
    • 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

    » Read More

Yellow Light Policies
  • Ram Student Handbook: Prohibition Against Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, GenderBased Harassment, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking and Retaliation

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 28, 2016

    Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is prohibited when: … 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:

    1. repeatedly pressuring another person for sexual activity;

    2. making sexist remarks about an individual’s clothing, body or sexual activities;

    3. unnecessary touching, patting or pinching another person;

    4. demanding sex from a subordinate while making threats concerning the subordinate’s job;

    5. demanding sex from a student while making implied threats concerning the student’s grade;

    6. electronically transmitting derogatory, demeaning or pornographic materials;

    7. posting explicit sexual pictures on an exterior office door or on a computer monitor; and

    8. sexually assaulting another person.

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

    1. 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;

    2. telling someone to use a restroom that does not align with that person’s gender identity; and

    3. making generalized derogatory comments about one gender, such as “all females” are ______ or “all males” are _______.


    » Read More

  • Ram Student Handbook: Student Conduct Code- General Student Conduct Code Regulations

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 28, 2016

    Intimidation, invasion of privacy, verbal abuse, or any conduct constituting harassment, abuse or threats to the well-being of a person or group, including, but not limited to, communication via electronic means.

    » Read More

  • Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: November 28, 2016

    College policy and local, state and federal law do prohibit some forms of communication, including: … anonymous or repeated messages designed to annoy, abuse or torment.

    » Read More

  • Ram Student Handbook: Bias Incident Protocol

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: November 28, 2016

    A hate or bias incident occurs when behaviors (verbal or non-verbal) by an individual or group are perceived to be malicious (hate) or discriminatory (bias) toward another individual or group based on actual or perceived characteristics such as race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital status, parental status, veteran status, or any situation in which inter-group tensions exist based on such group characteristics. Hate and bias acts may be violations of criminal law, such as hate crimes. All hate crimes are considered bias incidents, but not all bias incidents are considered hate crimes.

    Framingham State University encourages the immediate reporting of all bias incidents that occur on campus, University-owned property, or at University-sponsored events occurring off-campus.

    The names of students alleged to have committed bias incidents that may violate the University Student Code of Conduct will be referred to the Student Conduct Office for further action. The names of faculty, staff, and/or administrators alleged to have committed bias incidents that may violate University policy will be referred to the Equal Opportunity Office for further action.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Ram Student Handbook: Picketing Code

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: November 28, 2016

    All students, undergraduate and graduate, have a right to demonstrate on University premises provided, however, that no such demonstration shall be permissible, which for any reason of time, place, or type of behavior, materially disrupts class work or other University business, or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others. Campus buildings are for University business. Any form of demonstration that interferes with University business in office or classroom spaces is a violation of this Code. Students are prohibited from blocking free entry to or free exit from buildings, interfering with free movement, or presenting obstacles to regular University activities. “Interfering with free movement” is defined as any physical denial or restriction of a person’s ability to freely reach or leave a given geographical area, or harassment as defined in the Code of Student Conduct. “Obstacles” are defined as physical devices, bodies, or signs which cause interferences with free movement, or sounds which prevent normal communication. There shall be no interference with demonstrations on the grounds of content of speech, except for any speech or demonstration which incites immediate, violent action and represents a clear and present danger to the campus community, which shall be a violation of the Code. No student shall intentionally and substantially interfere with the freedom of expression of another person on University premises or at University sponsored activities. Failure to cease any activity in violation of the Code immediately following either written or oral notice by a University official shall also be a violation of this Code. Any violation of the Code may subject a student to expulsion from the University or such lesser sanction(s) as may be deemed appropriate by the University.

    » Read More

  • Ram Student Handbook: Student Conduct Code- Introduction

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: November 28, 2016

    Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of the whole student, and the betterment of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals.

    » Read More

  • Ram Student Handbook: Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: December 2, 2015

    As an educational institution, Framingham State University supports the constitutional right of free speech.

    » Read More

  • College Students Were 2012’s Unsung Heroes for Free Speech

    January 4, 2013

    by Azhar Majeed Policymic   Students at our nation’s colleges and universities won a number of important victories for freedom of speech and the First Amendment over the past year. They vindicated their core expressive rights, fought back against repressive university practices, and taught us all valuable lessons about living in a free society. The victories on campus weren’t limited to instances where student speech was censored or punished in application, however. At a number of institutions, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE, where I work) convinced the administration to proactively protect free speech by reforming illiberal and unconstitutional policies before they […]

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  • Framingham State U. Police to Student: Facebooking About Halloween Costume ‘Goes Beyond … Freedom of Speech’

    November 21, 2014

    According to Framingham State University’s (FSU’s) student newspaper The Gatepost, campus police officers questioned several FSU students over their public comments about two of their peers’ Halloween costumes depicting domestic violence. Gatepost editors aptly pointed out that such questioning is not acceptable at FSU, a public university in Massachusetts bound by the First Amendment. FSU junior Victoria Dansereau is already speaking with the American Civil Liberties Union and considering taking legal action after she was interrogated on cyberbullying charges for a post she made to Facebook. In response to an Instagram photo of a female student with a fake black […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Framingham State University

    May 2, 2012

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for May 2012: Framingham State University. This public university has a student policy on “Freedom of Expression” which provides that Recognized student clubs or organizations desiring to sponsor a religious display must consider the following: such displays may not promote or hinder one religion over another, must be secular in purpose, and may not intertwine University affairs with religious promotion. This policy confuses the university’s institutional obligation not to promote religion with the expressive rights of individual students and student groups, in a way that completely ignores binding Supreme Court precedent and […]

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  • Censorship Doesn’t Pay

    May 11, 2007

    Some students at Framingham State College are finding out the hard way that newspaper theft and censorship don’t pay off in the end. According to The Boston Globe, seven students attended a lacrosse match with letters of a friend’s name painted across their midriffs to show support for him. A student reporter saw these women and thought it would make an excellent picture for the next edition of the campus paper. The editors must have agreed and decided to run the picture on the front page. After the paper was distributed on campus, two of the students in the picture […]

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