Middle Tennessee State University

Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Website: http://www.mtsu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit

Tell Middle Tennessee State University to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Middle Tennessee 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

  • 27: Misconduct, Discrimination, and Harassment Based on Sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity/expression)

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 1, 2017

    Sexual Harassment. Includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, including sexual assault, where a tangible employment or educational action is conditioned upon submission to or rejection of unwelcome sexual advances, or where conduct is so severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive that the individual is effectively denied equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities. Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, can involve persons of the same or opposite sex.

    Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Sex-based harassment includes sexual harassment, which is further defined below, and non-sexual harassment based on stereotypical notions of what is female/feminine v. male/masculine or a failure to conform to those gender stereotypes.

    Consistent with the law, this policy prohibits two (2) types of sexual harassment: …

    2.  Hostile Environment. A hostile environment based on sex exists when harassment is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to effectively deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or harassment that creates a hostile environment (hostile environment harassment) violates this policy. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in a University program or activity (i.e., administrators, faculty members, students, and even campus guests). Mere offensiveness is not enough to create a hostile environment. Although repeated incidents increase the likelihood that harassment has created a hostile environment, a single serious incident, such as a sexual assault, even if isolated, can be sufficient.

    Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following. The examples listed below are not exclusive, but simply represent types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment.

    3. Suggestive or inappropriate communications, email, notes, letters, or other written materials displaying objects or pictures which are sexual in nature that would create hostile or offensive work, living, or educational environments;

    4. Sexual innuendoes, comments, and remarks about a person’s clothing, body, or activities;

    5. Suggestive or insulting sounds;

    6. Whistling in a suggestive manner;

    7. Humor and jokes about sex that denigrate men or women;

    8. Sexual propositions, invitations, or pressure for sexual activity;

    9. Use in the classroom of sexual jokes, stories, remarks, or images that are in no way or only marginally relevant to the subject matter of the class;

    10. Implied or overt sexual threats;

    11. Suggestive or obscene gestures;

    12. Patting, pinching, and other inappropriate touching;

    13. Unnecessary touching or brushing against the body;

    14. Attempted or actual kissing or fondling;

    15. Suggestive or inappropriate acts, such as comments, innuendoes, or physical contact based on one’s actual or perceived sexual orientation and/or gender identity/expression;

    16. Graphic or written statements (including the use of cell phones and the internet), or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful, or humiliating in a manner related to sex.

    » Read More

  • Office of Student Conduct: Sexual Violence- Helpful Definitions

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 1, 2017

    Sexual Harassment — Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature including sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

    » Read More

  • 26: Discrimination and Harassment Based on Protected Categories Other Than Sex

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 1, 2017

    B.  Harassment. Harassment is conduct that is based on a person’s race, color, religion, ethic or national origin, disability, age (as applicable), status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law, that:

    1.  Adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or participation in MTSU’s activities or learning or working environment;

    2.  Is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to effectively deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in, or benefit from, the University’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or

    3.  Is used as a basis for, or a factor in, decisions that tangibly affect that individual’s employment, education, or participation in MTSU’s activities or learning or working environment.

    Examples of such conduct include, but are not limited to, verbal or physical conduct relating to an employee’s national origin, race, surname, skin color or accent; offensive or derogatory jokes based on a protected category; racial or ethnic slurs; unwelcome comments about a person’s religion or religious garments; offensive graffiti, cartoons, or pictures; or offensive remarks about a person’s age.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • 100: Use of Campus Property and Facilities Scheduling

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: November 1, 2017

    Except as set forth below, affiliated entities/individuals may gather and use the outdoor University spaces designated as “standard” on the Event Coordination Forms website, on a space available basis, without submitting an application pursuant to this policy. Even if not required, affiliated entities/individuals who wish to reserve space may do so pursuant to the procedures set forth herein.

    Affiliated entities/individuals are required to submit an application pursuant to this policy for the following uses of outdoor space:

    (1)  Large Events. Any use of outdoor space that will involve twenty-five (25) or more participants, including expected participants and audience;

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  • 930: Electronic Mail Acceptable Use

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: November 1, 2017

    The following list, although not all-inclusive, provides some examples of unacceptable uses: … Transmission of incendiary statements which incites violence or describes or promotes the use of weapons or devices associated with terrorist activities;

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  • The College System of Tennessee: General Regulations on Student Conduct and Disciplinary Sanctions

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: November 1, 2017

    Misusing and/or abusing campus resources including but not limited to the following: … Use of computing resources and facilities to send abusive or obscene correspondence …

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  • Office of Student Conduct: Statement of Community Standards of Civil Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience, Statement
    Last updated: November 1, 2017

    The choice to associate one’s self with this fellowship of scholars is freely made by each participant but obligates those who do join to observe the following expectations for civilized conduct within the MTSU community: … disdain for bigotry and hatred expressed in any form or medium and directed toward identifiable groups or individuals in the community; tolerance for the convictions and opinions of others, even when not in agreement with one’s own beliefs …

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At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • Unconstitutional Security Fee Defeated at Middle Tennessee State University

    February 3, 2010

    The Alliance Defense Fund has announced a victory for free speech against yet another unconstitutional security fee. Pro-Life Collegians, a student group at Middle Tennessee State University, was required by the university to pay a fee for campus security to place exhibits through “Justice for All,” a pro-life advocacy group. According to ADF, no university policy requires a group to obtain such security and other groups holding comparable events were not charged a security fee. ADF makes the case for the unconstitutionality of such a fee: In the letter submitted to MTSU officials, ADF attorneys argue that such a vague […]

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