Portland State University

Location: Portland, Oregon
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

Portland 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

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 203 colleges ranked Read more
  • Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Red
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 19, 2021

    Discriminatory Harassment: Discriminatory Harassment means verbal comments, graphic or written statements, or physical conduct by a student, faculty, staff, or other PSU community member based on Protected Class(es) that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a student, employee, vol... Read More
  • Code of Student Conduct and Responsibility: Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 19, 2021

    Harassment is a course of conduct directed at a specific individual or individuals that causes or is intended to cause emotional or physical distress and serves no legitimate purpose. Read More
  • Bias Review Team

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: October 19, 2021

    Portland State University is committed to addressing bias incidents on campus and in our community and will provide individuals with resources and support when someone experiences a traumatizing event. Bias is harmful to individuals and the community. When you are hurt, the community is hurt. … The goals of th... Read More
  • Housing Handbook: Civility

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: October 19, 2021

    Civility Abusive or adverse treatment of residents, guests, or staff members, or any behavior that results in a hostile work, living, or academic environment is prohibited. Many behaviors or actions could warrant conduct action, such as harassment, bullying, etc. Such behaviors that constitute a potential violation ... Read More
  • Housing Handbook: Bias Related Behavior

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: October 19, 2021

    Bias incidents are behaviors/actions directed towards an individual or group based upon actual or perceived identity characteristics or background (e.g., skin color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity and expression, age, or physical, mental, or emotional disability)... Read More
  • Prohibited Discrimination & Harassment Policy: Title IX Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: October 19, 2021

    Title IX Sexual Harassment procedures apply to: … unwelcome sexual conduct that is so severe, persistent, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to recipient’s educational program or employment. Read More

FIRE surveyed roughly 44,000 students at 203 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. See the full report on FIRE’s 2022 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 39

Rankings / out of 203 colleges ranked

Overall Ranking 147
Openness 23
Tolerance (Liberals) 44
Tolerance (Conservatives) 187
Administrative Support 159
Comfort 6
Disruptive Conduct 133

Administrative Behavior

Supported Scholars 0
Sanctioned Scholars 1
Successful Disinvitations 0


Speech Climate BELOW AVERAGE
Speech Code RED
  • FIRE names America’s 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2020

    January 29, 2020

    These 10 colleges represent the worst campus censors over the last year Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute receives Lifetime Censorship Award PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 29, 2020 — Who are the worst campus censors? The competition is stiff, but today the nonpartisan Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released its annual list of America’s 10 Worst Colleges for Free… Read more

  • 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech: 2020

    January 29, 2020

    Since 2011, FIRE has named and shamed 65 individual colleges and universities as America’s worst for free speech. Some — we’re looking at you Harvard, DePaul, and Syracuse — are regulars and have appeared four or five times. Others have slunk away in embarrassment after being listed. But all have one thing in common: They… Read more

  • So to Speak podcast: ‘The Grievance Studies Affair’

    August 8, 2019

     Last fall, three writers and scholars announced they had submitted 20 fake papers to academic journals to test whether — as they suspected — certain fields of study lacked scientific and academic rigor. Of the 20 papers they submitted before revealing their hoax, seven were accepted, four published, seven were “still in play,” and… Read more

  • Campus police no match for heckler with cowbell who hijacked speech at Portland State

    March 12, 2019

    Police officers let a disruptive protester derail a College Republicans event It’s not the first time: In January, campus police preemptively cancelled a meeting of a student socialist group after a vocal political activist said he would show up Take Action: Tell PSU leaders they must uphold the First Amendment and protect campus expression PORTLAND,… Read more

  • ‘Sokal Squared’ hoax paper prof facing discipline for not having research reviewed by institutional review board

    January 8, 2019

    Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian, who was one of the three participants in the project commonly known as “Sokal Squared” or the “Grievance Studies Affair” last year in which several academic journals were fooled into publishing fabricated papers, is now facing discipline for his involvement. On Saturday, his collaborators, James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose,… Read more

  • 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… Read more

  • Oregon Appeals Court Rules for Student Expelled for Purported Threat

    October 4, 2016

    Four years ago, FIRE reported on the case of Henry Liu, a former graduate student who was expelled from Portland State University (PSU) for purportedly threatening to shoot two faculty members. On September 28, the Court of Appeals of the State of Oregon ruled that in the adjudicative hearing that resulted in Liu’s expulsion, PSU… Read more

  • Portland State University Admins Demonstrate Support for Controversial Student Speech

    June 13, 2013

    The Portland State Vanguard reported last week on a controversy at Portland State University (PSU) between PSU’s College Republicans and the school’s Muslim Students Association (MSA). The MSA and other students criticized two events sponsored by the College Republicans in May—a visiting speaker’s lecture and a movie screening—as being anti-Islam, and they asked the PSU… Read more

  • Associated Press and ‘Oregonian’: Portland State Student Expelled for Alleged “Threat”

    July 27, 2012

    This week, FIRE was quoted in two newspaper articles covering the story of a Portland State University graduate student, Henry Liu, who was expelled from the university last month for allegedly constituting a campus threat. As The Oregonian reports, Liu was expelled for allegedly expressing frustration about a faculty member to a classmate and mentioning firearms in… Read more

  • Victory: Portland State University Rescinds Charges Against Student over Phone Call with Employee

    October 17, 2011

    I’m pleased to announce that Portland State University (PSU) student Rachel Cain’s record has been wiped clean after she was initially found guilty of charges of “disruption” and “failure to comply” due to the content of a telephone conversation between Cain and an employee of PSU’s library system. Her case—like others we’ve seen at FIRE—is… Read more