Kansas State University

Location: Manhattan, Kansas
Website: http://www.ksu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Kansas 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

  • Department Heads’ Resource Page: Sexual Harassment- Types of Sexual Harassment Covered by the Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Hostile environment sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other conduct of a sexual nature or disparaging comments that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or learning or creating an intimidating, hostile, abusive or offensive work or learning environment. This includes:

    1. Gender harassment: generalized sexist statements and behavior that convey insulting or degrading attitudes about women. Examples include insulting remarks, offensive graffiti, whistling at someone, cat calls, obscene jokes or humor about sex or women in general.

    Sex-related comments or gestures: comments or gestures with sexual content or sexual implications: Examples include sexual teasing, jokes, remarks or questions, personal questions about sexual life, kissing sounds, howling and smacking lips, simulating sexual acts, facial expressions, winking, throwing kisses or licking lips, spreading rumors or telling lies about a person’s personal sex life or performance; touching oneself sexually or talking about one’s sexual activity in front of others; turning discussions to sexual topics, asking about sexual fantasies, preferences or history, making sexual gestures with hands or through body movements, staring, looking a person up and down (elevator eyes).

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Organizations On-Campus Event Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    [E]vents that are scheduled by registered student organizations which may be controversial in nature or include involvement from high profile public figures will also be expected to adhere to the following policy … The necessity of a full-time police officer shall be determined by the facilities representative at the Pre-Planning Meeting. Should full-time officers be required for the event, they will be expected to monitor inside and outside the event as deemed necessary by the Campus Police Representative at the Pre-Planning Meeting. Additional officers may be required for an event based on past history of the group and/or event and anticipated turnout of people. The sponsoring organization will be responsible for the costs incurred from hiring campus police, unless determined otherwise at the Pre-Planning Meeting.

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  • Student Conduct Code 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    The following described behaviors constitute misconduct in which disciplinary sanctions will be imposed.

    3. Conduct that threatens or endangers the mental or physical health or safety of any person, including, but not limited to, physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, and coercion.

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  • Use of KSU Buildings and Grounds 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    The use of buildings and grounds for other than regularly scheduled academic classes and functions will be considered special and will be subject to these guidelines. … A Facilities Request for Use of University Buildings and Grounds form (Attachment 200) shall be completed and submitted to the Assistant Vice President for Facilities at least ONE WEEK IN ADVANCE of the requested activity.

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Green Light Policies
  • Information Technology Usage Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Though not exhaustive, the following list is provided to emphasize that these activities are NOT allowed on KSU networks or computer systems: … unlawfully harassing others … posting or mailing obscene materials ….

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  • Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence, and Procedure for Reviewing Complaints 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    In this Policy, the term “harassment” can have two different definitions, depending on where the alleged conduct takes place and its context. Harassment meeting either of these definitions is considered discrimination.

                1.   In the work, on-campus housing, or other non-academic environments, “harassment” is:

    Conduct toward a person or persons based on race, color,ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, genetic information, military status, or veteran status that:

          (1) has the purpose or effect of:

                      (a) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment or on- campus housing environment for the person(s); or

                      (b) unreasonably interfering with the work, or on-campus housing, of the person(s); and

          (2) is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the terms, conditions, or privileges of a person’s employment, use of on-campus housing, academic opportunities or participation in university-sponsored activities.

                2.   In the academic environment, “harassment” is:

    Conduct toward a person or persons based on race, color,ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, genetic information, military status, or veteran status that:

          (1) has the purpose and effect of:

                      (a) creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment for the person(s); or

                      (b) unreasonably interfering with the academic performance or participation in any university-sponsored activity of the person; or

                      (c) threatening the academic opportunities of the person; and

          (2) is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the terms, conditions, or privileges of the person’s academic opportunities or participation in university-sponsored activities.

    Whether conduct is sufficient to constitute “harassment” is evaluated under the totality of the circumstances, including the frequency of the conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or merely an offensive utterance.  These factors are evaluated from both subjective and objective viewpoints, considering not only effect that conduct actually had on the person, but also the impact it would likely have had on a reasonable person in the same situation.  The conduct must subjectively and objectively meet the definition to be “harassment” under this Policy.  Repeated incidents, even where each would not, on its own, constitute harassment, may collectively constitute harassment under these definitions.

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  • Publicity Regulations 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies

    Eligible groups may distribute literature on campus or in any campus building (with the approval of the authority of that building), provided such distribution does not unreasonably interfere with the movement of traffic, classes, or other scheduled activities.

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  • 10th Circuit tosses suit challenging Kan. State adviser’s ouster

    August 8, 2007

    A federal appeals court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by two former Kansas State University journalism students over the removal of the campus newspaper’s adviser, saying the two do not have a First Amendment claim because they are no longer students at the university. Ron Johnson was removed as director of student publications and adviser to reporters and editors on the Kansas State Collegian in 2004. He and two student editors, Katie Lane and Sarah Rice, sued Todd Simon, then director of the journalism school, and Stephen E. White, the dean of arts and sciences. Johnson, who was assigned other […]

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  • Critical Speech Chilled at Kansas State

    November 18, 2014

    It’s sometimes difficult to tell just how pervasive a chilling effect on speech is, since would-be audience members might never know what they’re missing. But an article published in The Topeka Capital-Journal yesterday about a controversy at Kansas State University (KSU) makes clear that KSU and the Kansas Board of Regents have contributed to an atmosphere in which many community members feel unsafe speaking out against university decisions. KSU athletic director John Currie met with KSU student-athletes’ parents on November 9 to talk about KSU’s decision to end the university’s equestrian program after the 2016 season. Parents in attendance “voiced […]

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  • Kansas Board of Regents Approves Self-Contradictory, Unclear Social Media Policy

    May 15, 2014

    Yesterday afternoon, the Kansas Board of Regents approved a revised policy on the “improper use of social media” by faculty and staff at the state’s public colleges and universities. The widely criticized policy asserts a commitment to freedom of speech yet authorizes punishment for constitutionally protected speech, and it still leaves professors unsure of what speech a university might sanction them for.

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  • Kansas Faculty Workgroup Plans to Rewrite Overbroad Policy

    January 27, 2014

    Earlier this month, the Kansas Board of Regents created a “workgroup” to review its overbroad and vague new policy on “improper use of social media” by faculty at Kansas public colleges and universities. As my colleague Will Creeley reported last Thursday, the Board refused to suspend the policy during review, leaving faculty still at risk of being fired for posts that “impair[] … harmony among co-workers” or are “contrary to the best interest of the university,” among other things. But happily, the workgroup has already shown greater respect for faculty free speech rights—the Lawrence Journal-World reported Friday that the group plans to “disregard th[e] policy and […]

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  • ‘Free Speech Week’ Celebrated on Campuses Nationwide

    April 13, 2012

    FIRE celebrated Free Speech Week last week by teaming up with Students For Liberty to send FIRE speakers and materials to student groups across the country. We’re pleased to announce it was a great success!   To mark the occasion, 72 student groups distributed FIRE materials and pocket-sized Constitutions on campus. More than 20 student groups also organized expressive events. Many decided to build Free Speech Walls at schools including American University, Boston University, Harvard University, Kansas State University, Winthrop University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Texas San Antonio. FIRE’s Campus Freedom Network (CFN) also worked with […]

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  • K-State Student Sheds Light On Speech Codes In ‘Collegian’

    October 10, 2011

    Here at FIRE, we focus much of our attention on informing students of their rights on campus and how university policies can often be barriers to free expression. In a column in last Friday’s issue of the Kansas State Collegian titled “K-State’s speech code unconstitutional,” Kansas State University student Caleb Greinke brought attention to those concerns. FIRE currently gives Kansas State a “red light” rating, as the university maintains two red-light policies that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech (in addition to three yellow-light policies). Caleb’s column mentions one of the biggest issues with restrictive speech codes on campus—the chilling […]

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  • Lane v. Simon Update: Tenth Circuit Denies Rehearing

    August 23, 2007

    The Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reports that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied plaintiffs’ petition for an en banc rehearing of Lane v. Simon. The court’s denial ignores the troubling precedent set by the court’s initial ruling late last month, a concern voiced in an amicus brief filed by FIRE, the SPLC, and seven other journalism associations earlier this week. The disappointing decision leaves Katie Lane and Sarah Rice, former editors of the Kansas State Collegian and plaintiffs in the case, little recourse but to petition the Supreme Court to hear the case. Lane, Rice and their […]

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  • FIRE Joins Lane v. Simon Amicus Brief

    August 21, 2007

    Yesterday afternoon, FIRE joined the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) in filing an amicus brief on behalf of appellants Katie Lane and Sarah Rice, requesting that the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals grant a panel rehearing or rehearing en banc in the case of Lane v. Simon, Nos. 05-3266 & 05-3284 (10th Cir. 2007). In the brief, FIRE and the SPLC urge the Tenth Circuit to revisit last month’s decision that the First Amendment claims made by Lane and Rice, former editors of Kansas State’s student newspaper, were moot because the students had graduated while their case was under review. […]

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  • First Amendment Center and Associated Press Report on Dismissed Kansas State Lawsuit

    August 8, 2007

    Our friends at the First Amendment Center have posted an article based on reports from the Associated Press and their own staff about the disappointing decision from the Tenth Circuit that Will reported on in his post last week. The federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit brought by two former Kansas State University journalism students, declaring their suit moot since they graduated while their case was under review. The basis of the students’ claim was that KSU tried to censor their student newspaper by dismissing their adviser in response to criticism of the paper’s coverage. FIRE joined an amicus brief […]

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  • Tenth Circuit to Student Editors: Once Graduated, No Relief Available for Possible First Amendment Violations

    July 30, 2007

    In a disappointing development for student press rights, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that a First Amendment suit brought by two Kansas State University (KSU) students was moot because the students had graduated while their case was under review. Prior to appeal, the students’ case (Lane v. Simon, Nos. 05-3266 & 05-3284 (10th Cir. 2007)) had been dismissed at the district court level for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Technically, the Tenth Circuit’s ruling vacates the district court’s dismissal, but effectively reinstates it on mootness grounds. As the Student Press […]

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  • WVU Newspaper on Presidential Candidate’s Free Speech Record

    April 10, 2007

    Bravo to The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University (WVU)’s student newspaper, whose editorial board voiced its concern over WVU presidential candidate M. Duane Nellis for free speech issues at Kansas State University (KSU), where Nellis currently serves as provost.   In 2005, FIRE joined an amicus brief denouncing the removal of student publications adviser Ronald Johnson after KSU administrators determined that the student newspaper had “quality issues.” Never mind that the paper won the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award at least once as well as two Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Crown awards. Whatever the case, Johnson’s dismissal was widely […]

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  • Same Time, Next Year: Tenth Circuit Has Chance to Break Away From Hosty

    October 2, 2006

    About this time last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit handed down its widely debated Hosty v. Carter decision, which allowed university officials in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin to censor student publications for publishing material they disliked. Hosty severely curtailed the free press rights of student journalists in the Seventh Circuit and provided fodder for the debate of whether other appellate circuits would follow the Seventh Circuit’s poor example. Now, the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) reports that the first college press case to reach appellate review since last year’s troublesome Hosty decision will go before […]

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  • Will Student Press Freedom Survive in Kansas?

    December 16, 2005

    From FIRE’s homepage yesterday comes the news that FIRE joined an amicus brief in a newspaper censorship case called Lane v. Simon: FIRE has joined an amicus brief supporting freedom of the press at Kansas State University. Advisor Ronald Johnson was removed after administrators determined, in part based on its level of “diversity” coverage, that the award-winning paper had “quality” issues. While the move was widely recognized as a punishment of the newspaper, the court went so far as to determine, incomprehensibly, that the “content analysis” of the paper that led to the removal did not represent an attempt by […]

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