Marshall University

Location: Huntington, West Virginia
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

Marshall University 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
  • Board of Governors Policy SA-1: Student Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    Standard 3: Marshall University students and student groups respect and honor the human rights, and dignity of other persons, groups, and organizations. Violations of this standard include but are not limited to: Harassment/Bullying: Any action or behavior directed towards another person, including but not ... Read More
  • Residence Hall Guide: Communication

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    Any form of bigotry, harassment, intimidation, or threat that jeopardizes the personal safety of another is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, text messages, comments, messages made on whiteboards, websites, social media, blogs.   Read More
  • Board of Governors Policy GA-1: Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Sexual & Domestic Misconduct, Stalking, and Retaliation

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    3.3.1 “Harassment” means conduct that creates a hostile environment, as defined below, and is based upon an individual’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, marital or family status, pregnancy, veteran status, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal ... Read More
  • Residence Hall Guide: Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    Harassment is strictly prohibited. Harassment is defined as committing, conspiring to commit, or causing to be committed any act which causes or is likely to cause physical or mental harm which tends to injure or actually injures, intimidates, stigmatizes, frightens, demeans, degrades, or disgraces any person or gro... Read More
  • Board of Governors Policy IT-01: Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    [T]his section outlines some of the more common forms of violations that occur. These examples should not be interpreted as an exhaustive list of violations. … 3.1.11. Sending abusive, harassing, or obscene messages 3.1.12. Viewing or listening to objectionable, obscene, pornographic, or harassing material in ... Read More
  • Student Affairs: Freedom of Speech Resources- Your Speech, Your Campus. A Community Guide for Freedom of Speech

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    • The person/organization or initiating assemblies on Marshall University campus are recommended to identify their group affiliation and state their purposes to the appropriate personnel in advance for safety and security of all University community members; • Areas may be reserved, if available, to accommodate the ... Read More
  • Board of Governors Policy GA-1: Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Sexual & Domestic Misconduct, Stalking, and Retaliation

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    “Sexual Harassment” means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following: … Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity; R... Read More
  • Marshall University: Microbiology Professor Fired for Hyperbolic Classroom Speech About COVID-19 and Trump Supporters

    January 12, 2022

    Jennifer Mosher is a tenured microbiology professor at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. On September 15, 2020, as students were logging on to her virtual lecture, one student made an offhand remark about “thinning the gene pool,” referring to individuals who were not following public health requirements on masking. Mosher agreed, joking that she hoped… Read more

  • Marshall University: Racially Restricted Orientation Classes

    November 4, 2006

    When FIRE learned that Marshall University had limited enrollment in several “University Studies 101” courses to “African American Students Only,” it letter to University President Stephen J. Kopp explaining that racially segregated courses are both unlawful and misguided. In Kopp’s response, he claimed that the courses were open to both white and African American students…. Read more

  • A Marshall University professor criticized unmasked Trump supporters. Then censorship spread.

    January 13, 2022

    It’s the hot-take heard round the world. Or at least round the conservative Twitterverse. “… I’ve become the type of person where I hope they all get it and die,” says Marshall University microbiology professor Jennifer Mosher in a recording from a lecture covering COVID-19 and preventative measures. “I’m sorry, but that, I am so… Read more

  • Changing Campus ‘Civility’ Policies: Q&A with Caitlin Grimes

    June 11, 2015

    Caitlin Grimes is a graduate of Marshall University in West Virginia, where she worked to reform the school’s speech codes. [iframe src=””] Like many universities, Marshall maintains policies that sacrifice free speech in the name of “civility.” Its policies on harassment and intolerance contain language so vague that nearly everyone on campus could be found… Read more

  • FIRE’s Will Creeley Speaking at Marshall University This Evening

    February 17, 2014

    Students and FIRE supporters in the Huntington, West Virginia, area are invited to hear FIRE Director of Legal and Public Advocacy Will Creeley speak at Marshall University tonight at 7 p.m. in Corbly Hall, 117. Marshall University currently has a “red light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database, but the president of Young Americans for Liberty’s… Read more

  • Students Create Free Speech Walls to Celebrate First Amendment

    September 27, 2013

    Students at colleges across the country are encouraging their peers to exercise their right to free speech by building “free speech walls” on their campuses—displays where students can write or draw whatever they want.  Free speech walls are a great way for students to share ideas in a public way. For example, student group Dorm… Read more

  • This Week in the News: Greg’s Dirty Dozen Causes Big Vibrations, and Syracuse Drops Investigation of Alleged Blogger

    February 4, 2011

    This has been quite the week for FIRE. No less than 21 articles mentioned our involvement in defending free speech on campus! Greg’s Huffington Post article, "The 12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech," was noted by numerous news sources across the country. Marshall University garnered the most numerous citations by far. Davin White, writing for… Read more

  • Numerous Unconstitutional Speech Codes Place Marshall University on Our List of ’12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech’

    February 3, 2011

    Marshall University stands out from the other institutions on Greg’s list of the “12 Worst Colleges for Free Speech” in The Huffington Post in that its policies alone, rather than specific cases of First Amendment violations, put it on the list. This distinction has not gone unnoticed, with the writers of an editorial in The Parthenon,… Read more

  • FIRE in ‘The Huffington Post’ on America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech

    January 27, 2011

    Today, The Huffington Post published FIRE’s list of America’s 12 Worst Schools for Free Speech. An expansion of FIRE’s Red Alert List of the “worst of the worst” schools for student and faculty rights, this “dirty dozen” slideshow includes the schools that come onto FIRE’s radar screen again and again for their repeated and egregious violations of fundamental rights, as… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: Marshall University

    January 3, 2011

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for January 2011: Marshall University. This public university in West Virginia has so many restrictive speech codes that it is difficult to choose just one for our Speech Code of the Month. But for now, we concern ourselves with Standard 3 of Marshall’s Code of Student Rights… Read more

  • Associated Press Covers Marshall Victory

    August 11, 2006

    The Associated Press reported on FIRE’s victory at Marshall University, where the school offered three orientation courses for “African-American students only.” Marshall dropped the racially exclusive language after FIRE sent the university a letter warning that such classes violated state and federal law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The article reports that Marshall… Read more

  • Marshall University Dissolves Racially Restricted Orientation Classes

    August 9, 2006

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va., August 9, 2006—Marshall University has taken the advice of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and removed racial restrictions from an orientation course for first-year students. Last year’s listing for University Studies 101 (UNI 101) stated that certain sections were limited to “African American Students Only.” Thanks to FIRE’s intervention, several… Read more