Indiana University – Bloomington

Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit

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Speech Code Rating

Indiana University – Bloomington 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
  • Policy UA-03: Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct or behavior of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence (see definition). Both violent and non-violent sexual harassment is prohibited. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, nonverbal, written, electronic (e.g. by e-mail, text, social media, etc.), or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment occurs when: …  such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent to limit or deny a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or affects employment, creating a hostile environment.

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  • Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct: Student Rights- Right to Freedom from Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    Discriminatory harassment is defined as conduct that targets an individual based upon age, color, religion, disability, race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or veteran’s status and that adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s education, housing, or participation in a university activity; or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for academic pursuits, housing, or participation in university activities.

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  • Dean of Students: Bias Incident Reporting

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    What is a bias incident?

    A bias incident targets an individual based on their age, color, religion, disability (physical or mental), race, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, or veteran status, as identified in the student code of conduct.

    What are we talking about?

    We’re talking about intolerance, discrimination, hostility, harassment, hate, mistreatment, prejudice, bigotry, injustice, favoritism, homophobia, xenophobia, racism, tendency, ageism, privilege, marginalization, retaliation, bullying, incivility, stereotyping, and microaggressions.


    Guiding Principles

    • To give attention to the targeted individual or community impacted to ensure safety and well-being.
    • To give attention to the alleged offender. All parties will be treated fairly.

    Possible Responses to an Incident

    • A notice to the community about the incident to create awareness and influence change
    • Educational conversations, workshops, seminars, and trainings
    • Removal of graffiti and flyers
    • Mediation and facilitated dialogue
    • Support and assistance to affected individuals and/or communities
    • Resolution agreements (i.e. behavioral contracts)
    • Cataloging of incident(s) to monitor for patterns and trends
    • Verbal warnings, redirection, student protection …

    » Read More

  • Residence Hall Rules and Regulations: Activities Resulting in Damage, Distress, or Disturbance

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    Writing offensive and/or inappropriate language or symbols on dry erase boards, walks, or other areas frequented by the public is prohibited.

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  • Residential Programs & Services: Statement on Diversity

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    [W]e will not tolerate any form of bigotry, harassment, intimidation, threat, or abuse, whether verbal or written, physical or psychological, direct or implied. … We will respond to such behavior in an appropriate manner, recognizing that education is our most powerful tool.

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  • Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct: Purpose of the Code

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    A student who accepts admission to Indiana University agrees to: … behave in a manner that is respectful of the dignity of others, treating others with civility and understanding …

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  • Student Incident Reporting

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: July 9, 2018

    Understand what incidents to report

    Trust your best judgment. If you believe a student’s safety, body, beliefs, or rights have been violated, report it.

    Read the following definitions to know how to identify incidents.


    A form of discriminatory behavior consisting of physical or verbal conduct that is directed at an individual or group because of their age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status.

    Hate Incident

    An offense motivate by hostility or prejudice base on a disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status.

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  • Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct: Student Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    Verbal abuse of another person, including the following:

    a. An express or implied threat to:

    (1) Interfere with an individual’s personal safety, academic efforts, employment, or participation in university-sponsored activities and that under the circumstances causes the person to have a reasonable apprehension that such harm is about to occur; or

    (2) Injure that person, or damage his or her property; or

    b. “Fighting words” that are spoken face-to-face as a personal insult to the listener or listeners in personally abusive language inherently likely to provoke a violent reaction by the listener or listeners to the speaker.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct: Student Rights- Right to Freedom of Association, Expression, Advocacy and Publication

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    In accordance with the state and federal Constitution and university policy, the university recognizes the rights of all students to engage in discussion, to express thoughts and opinions, and to assemble, speak, write, publish or invite speakers on any subject without university interference or fear of university disciplinary action.

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  • Student Organization Handbook: Free Speech, Demonstrations, and Political Campaigns

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: June 29, 2018

    Expressive activities may be undertaken in most outdoor areas of campus. Historically, Dunn Meadow (Assembly Grounds), outside Sample Gates, and all perimeter sidewalks maintained by the City of Bloomington are available for expressive activity. Students, faculty, staff, and visitors may want to offer a supportive or contrary opinion proximate to any campus program or activity. IU encourages civil dialogue and expression and sharing of opinions and beliefs that do not pose a threat of physical harm to any student, faculty, staff, or visitor.

    » Read More

  • Talk, Not Tear Gas: Colleges Soften Their Approach to Student Protests

    November 12, 2014

    By Mary Bowerman and Peter Schmidt at  The Chronicle of Higher Education When students staged a sit-in at Colgate University’s admissions office in September to protest racial intolerance on campus, perhaps the biggest news was what didn’t happen. No students were arrested or removed from the building. No one accused the campus police of heavy-handedness or administrators of trampling free-speech rights. Instead, the sit-in ended with an agreement between protesters and administrators on a 21-point plan to make the institution more welcoming for minority students. “We tried to relate to the students on a human level,” says Suzy M. Nelson, vice president and dean of […]

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  • Leadership roundup: How college leaders are answering questions about free speech

    April 25, 2017

    Controversy around free speech on college campuses seems to only be escalating: Charles Murray’s disastrous visit to Middlebury College, the violent response to Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to the University of California, Berkeley, the shutting down of Heather Mac Donald’s Claremont McKenna College event, and just last week, Berkeley’s attempt to shut down Ann Coulter’s visit to the birthplace of the free speech movement, which has already prompted a lawsuit. After a free speech controversy engulfs a college community, campus leaders are often left with questions from students, faculty, alumni, and the press about where the school stands on the issues. […]

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  • More Campus Leaders Address Free Speech Following Election

    November 21, 2016

    For the past few months, we’ve been covering the statements campus leaders make about free speech at their colleges or universities. In the weeks following this month’s presidential election, campus leaders have addressed their students’ reactions to the results in various ways—some “good,” and others “bad” for freedom of expression. The Good Central Washington University (CWU) CWU President James Gaudino made a post-election statement November 9 encouraging his students to continue to “debate and disagree”: President Obama today encouraged us all to move forward with faith in our fellow citizens and urged us all to hold on to our dreams. […]

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  • Due Process Legal Update: More Students’ Lawsuits Move Forward

    April 11, 2016

    Since OCR issued its April 4, 2011, “Dear Colleague” letter, more than 90 students have brought lawsuits alleging they were denied a fair hearing in campus sexual assault proceedings. When I wrote my first update on how these lawsuits were faring, I characterized them as an “uphill battle” for plaintiffs. While the atmosphere for these plaintiffs is still uncertain, however, the landscape has begun to change for the better. Just last month, I wrote about several new decisions that allowed accused-student plaintiffs’ claims against their universities to move forward. And in the five weeks since that writing, there have been […]

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  • Victory: Indiana U. Dismisses Conduct Charges Based on Student’s Single Email

    March 19, 2014

    FIRE has successfully defended the First Amendment rights of Indiana University – Bloomington student Andrew Hsu, who was charged with “Personal Misconduct” on the basis of a single email sent to a faculty member. After FIRE intervened on Hsu’s behalf, making clear the university’s unconstitutional application of its misconduct policy to Hsu’s protected expression, the university dismissed all charges against Hsu and permanently closed his case. FIRE commends IU for taking prompt corrective action.

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  • Student at IU Attempts to Censor Fellow Students by Vandalizing Pro-Life Display

    October 1, 2013

    FIRE often exposes how colleges censor students—but last week, it was a student at Indiana University who decided to engage in some vigilante censorship by vandalizing a pro-life display. According to a student account, new student organization Students for Life at IU intended to have a peaceful demonstration on campus as part of an organized protest dubbed the “Planned Parenthood Project.” The trouble reportedly began when a student approached the demonstration, removed wooden crosses meant to represent the number of abortions performed daily by Planned Parenthood from the ground, and threw them into a trash can. (The student report includes a photo of this.) […]

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  • Faced With Hateful Protest and Calls for Censorship, Indiana U. Admins Reaffirm Free Speech Rights

    September 6, 2013

    There is little that will make a full-time free speech advocate prouder of his university than when the school comes out strongly in defense of free expression. Last week, in response to a protest by the campus’ registered chapter of the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN), administrators at my alma mater, Indiana University (IU), did just that. Though reports from my old stomping ground maintain that the group’s protest outside of a local bookstore was hateful and offensive, IU Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs James Wimbush correctly noted that members of TYN have a right to publicly express […]

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  • No Charges Filed Against Indiana University Student Arrested for Sarcastic Tweet

    April 18, 2013

    At the behest of Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB) Provost Lauren Robel, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office in Bloomington, Indiana, announced on Tuesday that it will not file felony intimidation charges against IUB student Alex Carlisle.  Carlisle turned himself in to police last week after a tweet he posted was interpreted as a death threat against Robel. The tweet, which read “Kill Provost Robel,” came alongside a retweet from the Twitter handle @IUonStrike. At first glance I could see how Carlisle’s tweet could raise some eyebrows. But for anyone who follows happenings at IUB closely, it should become quickly apparent that, in […]

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  • FIRE Speakers on Campuses for Constitution Day

    September 17, 2012

    What better way is there to celebrate Constitution Day than to go see a FIRE speaker? None, I say!  Today, Associate Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Azhar Majeed will be at Indiana University-Bloomington to talk with Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). The YAL chapter is holding a free speech wall event, and Azhar will be speaking afterwards in Ballantine Hall, room 005 at 7:00 p.m. Those of you in or near Chapel Hill, North Carolina can also catch a FIRE speaker tonight. Senior Vice President Robert Shibley will be delivering a lecture at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC) […]

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  • The Benefits of Listening to Other Views

    April 19, 2012

    Writing for the Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University (IU) student and former FIRE intern Nico Perrino comments on a recent episode in which IU students heckled a campus speaker, Pastor Douglas Wilson, and prevented others from hearing him speak. The students evidently found his views so noxious that they were deemed unfit for airing at all on IU’s campus. This mob censorship seems to have been, as Nico puts it, “prejudice revealed by a crowd of people who have adopted a viewpoint and let it ferment for so long without going unchallenged that they regard themselves as maintaining a monopoly […]

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  • Will IU’s ‘Free Speech Zone’ Fall Next? A Former FIRE Intern Investigates

    March 1, 2012

    In the Indiana Daily Student this week, former FIRE intern and senior Nico Perrino writes about free speech issues at his school, Indiana University-Bloomington (IU). His piece discusses the recent lawsuit filed by students at the University of Cincinnati challenging that campus’s restrictive “Free Speech Zone.” As Nico points out, IU has similar restrictions on how students can use public spaces on campus, limiting “free speech” to just two areas on campus and spontaneous events to just one. He writes compellingly about the confusion sown by contradictory and unevenly enforced policies: While it might seem like IU does not always […]

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  • IU Students Advocating for Speech Code Reform Profiled in ‘Indiana Daily Student’

    September 16, 2011

    In the Indiana Daily Student this week, reporter Bailey Loosemore chronicles the ongoing efforts of Indiana University – Bloomington (IU) students to reform speech codes on their campus. Nico Perrino, an IU senior and former FIRE intern, started a committee with three other students last fall to challenge restrictive speech codes on IU’s campus. The article explains: One IU policy lists Dunn Meadow as a spontaneous free speech zone. Another states organizations must register to use the space 24 hours in advance. Yet another policy calls for registration 10 days prior. “Policies that force you to register ahead of time […]

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  • Indiana University Eliminates Discriminatory Funding Policy Against Religious Groups

    February 28, 2011

    The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) reports today that Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB) has eliminated a policy that had prevented the Christian student group Impact Movement from receiving student activity fee funds to help pay for its attendance at a national conference. Previously, groups at IUB had been excluded from receiving funds for activities that involve “religious proselytizing” or for “sectarian events.” According to ADF’s press release: In December of last year, Impact Movement sought activity funding to send some of its members to its national conference. The university permits partial funding of conference attendance for members of registered student groups and […]

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  • ‘Indiana Daily Student’ Highlights Problems with Speech Codes at IU

    February 4, 2011

    Connor Caudill at the Indiana Daily Student published a column this week highlighting FIRE’s recent memo explaining problematic speech codes at Indiana University-Bloomington (IU). Caudill was surprised to learn that “[m]any of the policies at IU that govern our free speech rights as students are prohibitive.” The article explains two major problems with IU’s policies. Caudill first discusses the Code of Students Rights and Responsibilities, noting that the IU definition of acceptable speech does not pass constitutional muster and that its “civility” language is mandatory rather than aspirational. (Public universities cannot constitutionally mandate that their students be “civil” at all […]

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  • Free Speech (in the Free Speech Zone, after Paperwork) at Indiana University

    December 6, 2010

    The Indiana Daily Student, a student newspaper at Indiana University-Bloomington (IU), has run an interesting series on the history of Dunn Meadow, described as “[a] right-angled triangle, 925 feet long by 407 feet wide, intersected by a natural stream,” which since 1962 has been a designated free speech area for the IU campus. Articles published throughout the week in the Daily Student have chronicled Dunn Meadow’s role in aiding the Vietnam War protesters in the 1960s, as well as the women’s and gay rights movements in recent decades. An interactive timeline shows images of various rallies, concerts, and vigils having […]

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  • Indiana University Students Push for ‘Green Light’ FIRE Rating

    August 5, 2010

    After the student newspaper at Indiana University-Bloomington (IU) ran an article recently about IU’s “yellow light” speech code rating, members of the IU student government have expressed their intention to work towards reforming IU’s speech codes and earning a “green light” rating from FIRE. This is wonderful news. Murat Kacan, chief of communications for the Indiana University Student Association (IUSA), told the Indiana Daily Student that IUSA vehemently opposes any University code or rule that seeks to restrict or infringe on any student’s rights to assemble, advocacy and expression. We hold the First Amendment to be amongst our greatest rights and have no tolerance towards […]

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  • ‘Indiana Daily Student’ on FIRE’s Big Ten Spotlight Ratings

    July 26, 2010

    The Indiana Daily Student, the student newspaper for Indiana University-Bloomington (IU), published an article this week about the university’s yellow-light rating in Spotlight, FIRE’s speech code database. The article highlights several restrictive speech policies at IU, including the policy establishing a free speech zone. Reporter Nathan Miller quotes Samantha Harris, FIRE’s Director of Speech Code Research, who wrote that “The right to engage in spontaneous expressive activity is an important aspect of the right to free speech, and this policy is unnecessarily restrictive.” Miller also cites the preamble to IU’s Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct as another yellow-light […]

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  • Johns Hopkins Still Under Fire

    January 12, 2007

    Even though Johns Hopkins University reduced Justin Park’s punishment and he now considers the matter resolved, the university is still taking hits in the press. Today, the Indiana Daily Student published an opinion piece criticizing Hopkins for ignoring the free speech rights of its students. Columnist Edward Delp discussed the Hopkins case and other similar incidents at neighboring schools by using FIRE’s Spotlight as a resource. He concluded by stating exactly why freedom of speech on college campuses is so important: Institutions of higher education are supposed to promote the free exchange of ideas, but nowadays there seems to be […]

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