Jackson State University

Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Website: http://www.jsums.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Jackson 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

  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 11, 2016

    Regardless of sexual gender, personal affiliation, and/or affiliation with the University, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome and unsolicited sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal, visual or physical conduct or communication with sexual overtones that the victim deems offensive. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to unsolicited, deliberate, or repeated sexual flirtation, advances or propositions; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; display of sexually suggestive pictures or objects; and/or offensive or abusive physical contact of a sexual nature.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Decorum Policy

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: November 11, 2016

    The Jackson State University Student Handbook sets forth expectations and guidelines for appropriate student decorum, and this policy is put in place as a supplement to clarify and extend the dress code as well as the proscription against the use of inappropriate language. … This Decorum Policy shall be applied without discrimination in regard to the viewpoint embodied in a student’s dress or language, and it shall be applied to all students on an equal basis. Further, this policy is limited in time and place to University functions and educational facilities, specifically including classrooms. It is strongly encouraged, but not required, that these guidelines be followed elsewhere in an effort to provide a positive representation of ourselves and the University to the best of our abilities.

    Prohibited Language

    This policy does not prohibit language based on the expressive viewpoint of one’s ideas, but rather proscribes certain language based on the disruptive or destructive manner and context in which such language is used. This includes, but is not limited to words used to provoke and altercation and profanity.

    Lewdness and Obscenity

    Lewd and obscene language is prohibited.

    Fighting Words

    Language that by its very utterance tends to incite an immediate breach of the peace or imminent lawless action is prohibited. These words include those which when directed to the person of the hearer would naturally tend to provoke violent resentment. Such words also include those personally abusive epithets which, when addressed to the ordinary citizen, are, as a matter of common knowledge, inherently likely to provoke violent reaction.

    Profanity

    Profane, vulgar, and curse words are prohibited in limited contexts although their use is widely discouraged by the University. The proscription against profanity shall only regulate the manner of such speech rather than the content of any message conveyed. Profanity may subject a person to discipline when it lacks any artistic or literary value in connection with a University curriculum, it inherently tends to provoke a violent reaction, and it substantially interferes with the educational environment.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Violations & Sanctions

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: November 11, 2016

    2.30 DISORDERLY CONDUCT, OBSTRUCTION, AND/OR DISRUPTION. Disorderly conduct is any offensive or annoying act that disrupts the peace. … It includes, but is not limited to any person that assembles on campus for the purpose of causing a riot, destruction of property or a disorderly diversion, which interferes with the normal operation of the University; rowdy behavior, indecent language, excessive noise or drunken or drug induced behavior; disorderly and/or obscene conduct or a breach of the peace on any University property or public function affiliated with the University.

    3.30 INDECENT, OBSCENE, IMMORAL BEHAVIOR, AND/OR PROFANITY.

    Conduct, which is disorderly, lewd, and/or indecent taking place on the premises of the University or at University sponsored or supervised activities will not be tolerated. Such acts include the use of obscene gestures, improper body exposures, stripping, and harassing conduct directed toward or in the vicinity of students, staff members, administrators, or faculty or visitors of the University.

    3.40 MORAL TURPITUDE.  A disorderly or disruptive act of baseness, vileness or depravity which brings shame to the University and is in contradiction to the letter and spirit of the University’s Code of Conduct, good citizenship and ethics.

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  • Student Handbook: Philosophy of Student Conduct and Discipline

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: November 11, 2016

    Behavior, which is not in keeping with standards acceptable to the University community, is often symptomatic of attitudes, misconceptions, and emotional crises; addressing these attitudes, misconceptions, and emotional crises through education is an essential part of the disciplinary process.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: November 11, 2016

    As an academic community, Jackson State University exists for the pursuit of learning and truth, for the development of students as scholars and citizens, and ultimately, for the well being of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals.

    Students at Jackson State University are both private citizens and members of the University community. As U.S. citizens, students enjoy the same freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, and right of petition that other citizens enjoy.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: November 11, 2016

    The University provides forums for the assembly and expression of ideas and opinions, such as the following:

    1. “Traditional public forums” include the University’s public streets, sidewalks, and similar common areas. These areas are generally available for expressive activity, planned or spontaneous, for the individual or small groups at any time without the need for reservation or prior approval. In such setting sound amplification are not permitted. Additionally, said individuals or small groups are not permitted to obstruct or otherwise block the routine regular flow of pedestrian or transit traffic in the University’s public streets, sidewalks, and similar common areas.

    2. “Designated public forums” include other parts of the campus that may become temporarily available for expressive activity as designated by the University. To facilitate the free exchange of ideas, the University has established high visibility areas on campus as designated public forums that may be used by any individuals or small groups, including students and other campus guests. As with traditional public forums the individuals or small groups are not permitted to obstruct or otherwise block the routine regular flow of pedestrian or transit traffic in the University’s public streets, sidewalks, and similar common areas.

    Designated public forums include: a) Tiger Park b) The Pavilion

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 11, 2016

    2.90 HARASSMENT (Verbal and/or Physical). The excessive physical interference with, or abuse of, any person on University-owned or controlled property or while on the premises of, or while in attendance of University-sponsored or supervised events. This policy also applies to social media use. Harassment includes conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that a reasonable person with the same characteristics of the victim would be adversely affected to a degree that interferes with his or her ability to participate in or to realize the intended benefits of a University activity, opportunity, or resource. When part of a pattern of conduct that rises to the level of this standard, harassment may include language to physical acts which degrades, insults, taunts, or challenges another person by any means of communication, so as to provoke a violent response, communication of threat, or defamation of character. It includes the use of profanity, verbal assaults, derogatory comments or remarks, sexist remarks, racist remarks or any behavior that places another member of the University community in a state of fear or anxiety.

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At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • In Mississippi, ‘The Clarion-Ledger’ Reports on Dangers of State Colleges’ Speech Codes

    August 16, 2010

    In today’s edition of The Clarion-Ledger, the Jackson, Mississippi newspaper reports on speech codes maintained at public colleges statewide. Spurred by FIRE’s recent victory at nearby Hinds Community College, reporter Elizabeth Crisp writes: Students at Mississippi universities may have to watch what they say more than those in other states because of policies that free-speech advocates say are oppressive. At Ole Miss, someone could theoretically get in trouble for sending an e-mail about how much they “hate” rival Mississippi State. Jackson State students could be punished for unsolicited flirting. Speaking freely outside so-called “free-speech zones” on most of the campuses […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Jackson State University

    August 1, 2008

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for August 2008: Jackson State University in Mississippi. Jackson State’s harassment policy provides, in relevant part, that: The scope of any form of harassment includes language to physical acts which degrades, insult, taunt, or challenges another person by any means of communication, verbal, so as to provoke a violent response, communication of threat, defamation of character, use of profanity, verbal assaults, derogatory comments or remarks, sexist remarks, racists remarks or any behavior that places another member of the University community in a state of fear or anxiety. Got that? Yeah, me neither. […]

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