Rice University

Location: Houston, Texas
Website: http://www.rice.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit

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Speech Code Rating

Rice 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

  • Rice University General Policy No. 832-99: APPROPRIATE USE OF COMPUTER RESOURCES

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: March 15, 2017

    [U]nauthorized use includes, but is not limited to the following types of activities. Harassment or threats to specific individuals, or a class of individuals: * Transmitting unsolicited information that contains obscene, indecent, lewd or lascivious material or other material which explicitly or implicitly refers to sexual conduct. * Using e-mail or newsgroups to threaten or stalk someone. * Transmitting unsolicited information that contains profane language or panders to bigotry, sexism, or other forms of prohibited discrimination.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Code of Student Conduct: Proscribed Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 15, 2017

    Intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict mental or bodily harm on any person, including the charged student; taking any reckless action, or showing reckless disregard, from which mental or bodily harm could result to any person, including the charged student. This includes, but is not limited to, actual or attempted behavior that includes physical abuse of all types, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, sexual harassment… and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the physical or mental health or safety of any person.

    » Read More

  • Code of Student Conduct: Proscribed Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: March 11, 2016

    [U]se of computational facilities to send obscene, abusive, harassing or threatening messages or to engage in stalking behavior or to repeatedly send unwanted email to individuals.

    » Read More

  • Rice University General Policy No. 802-82: Use of University Facilities and Scheduling Campus Events

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: March 15, 2017

    1. For these events, the use of a Residential College facility requires the approval of the Master of that College.* The use of the facilities of the Athletic Department for an athletic event requires the approval of the Director of Athletics. The use of any other University facility for an event requires the approval of the Director of Student Activities.

    2. A request for the use of a University facility (made in accordance with Section A-6 below) will be approved provided that a) the facility requested is available, adequate and appropriate for the proposed use at the time requested; b) the proposed use excludes fund solicitation or commercial solicitation other than the sale of official University items; c) the campus organization making the request is able to meet the financial obligations to be incurred by the proposed use; d) the proposed use will not constitute an immediate and actual danger to the peace or security of the University, its members, or participants in the use; e) the proposed use does not violate any federal, state or local law.

    […]

    6. Requests for the use of a facility are to be made in person or in writing to the Master, the Director of Athletics or the Director of Student Activities, as appropriate (see Section A-1 above), no less than seven (7) days prior to the date of the proposed use.

    » Read More

  • Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 15, 2017

    Unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: … Such conduct is reasonably regarded as offensive and has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the educational or work opportunities of students, staff, faculty or colleagues, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational or working environment. If it takes place in the teaching context, it must also be persistent, pervasive, and not germane to the subject matter.

    Examples of the kinds of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: … Unwelcome verbal or written expressions of a sexual nature, including graphic sexual commentaries about a person’s body, dress, appearance, or sexual activities; the unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendoes; unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene phone calls. … Sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videotapes, audio recordings or literature, placed in the work or study area, that may offend individuals.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Privileges and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: March 15, 2017

    Members of the Rice community are entitled to the following privileges: … Freedom of speech and action: Rice students may express their beliefs, feelings and opinions so long as the manner of expression does not violate another community member’s rights.

    » Read More

  • Rice University General Policy No. 820-75: PICKETING, DEMONSTRATIONS, AND NON-UNIVERSITY SPONSORED MEETINGS

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: March 15, 2017

    One of the University’s functions is to provide a forum for the orderly expression and discussion of various points of view. Members of the University Community, acting as individuals and not in the name of the University or any of its component parts, have the right to express their opinions, to picket, and to hold demonstrations or meetings on campus so long as such activities do not violate local, state, or federal laws, and so long as University functions are not disrupted and access to any part of the campus is not impeded. The University reserves the right to limit the locations on campus where picketing, demonstrations or meetings may be held when such action is necessary for the preservation of order and safety.

    » Read More


At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • Speech Code Countdown: ‘U.S. News’ Top 25 College Rankings, Numbers 19-11

    October 6, 2016

    FIRE’s U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” Countdown continues today. We’re giving you a school-by-school analysis of just how well America’s “Best Colleges” do when it comes to protecting free speech on campus. Unfortunately, in today’s crop of top campuses, troubling speech codes abound. As part of FIRE’s fresh look at U.S. News’ top-ranked colleges, we used information from our Spotlight speech code database as well as information on other headline-making free speech news that applicants should know about before they apply to a given school. FIRE rates schools’ speech codes using a traffic light-inspired system. A “red light” […]

    » Read More
  • Rice University Student Stands Up for Free Speech in ‘The Rice Thresher’

    November 22, 2011

    Pro tip: If your speech silences someone else’s speech, there’s a good chance that your speech is no longer protected. That is the subject of an op-ed last week in The Rice Thresher by Rice University student Anthony Lauriello, titled “Eric Cantor protests at Rice University an affront to open discourse and free speech.” According to the column, protestors at a recent speaking engagement from Congressman Eric Cantor on Rice’s campus began shouting down the congressman as he reached the podium to speak. The protestors were escorted from the event, and Rice President David Leebron stood up to note that […]

    » Read More
  • Rice Editorial Misses the Point on Free Speech

    March 27, 2009

    An editorial in Rice University’s student newspaper, The Rice Thresher, recently took FIRE to task for giving Rice a “red-light” rating for maintaining policies that censor student speech. As FIRE explained in the blog post that drew the Thresher‘s attention, Rice’s red-light rating is because of its policy on Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources. That policy prohibits, among other things, “[t]ransmitting unsolicited … material which explicitly or implicitly refers to sexual conduct” and “[t]ransmitting … unsolicited information that contains profane language or panders to bigotry, sexism, or other forms of prohibited discrimination.” FIRE noted that such a policy could […]

    » Read More
  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Rice University

    March 9, 2009

    Throughout the spring semester, FIRE is drawing special attention to the state of free speech at America’s top 25 national universities (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). Today we review policies at Rice University, which FIRE has given a red-light rating for maintaining a policy that clearly and substantially restricts free expression on campus. Like so many private universities, Rice presents itself as an institution that values individual freedoms. Rice’s Student Handbook provides: One of the University’s functions is to provide a forum for the orderly expression and discussion of various points of view. Members of the University […]

    » Read More

Policies are rated on their inclusion of 10 due process safeguards. Each policy may receive 2 points for fully including that safeguard, 1 point for partial inclusion, and 0 points for no meaningful inclusion. Most, but not all, institutions have separate policies for sexual misconduct and all other misconduct. See FIRE’s Spotlight on Due Process report for more information.

Grades

Non-Sexual Misconduct

D
7/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous

Sexual Misconduct

D
7/20
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Adequate and timely notice
  • Adequate time to prepare
  • Conflicts of interest prohibited
  • Right to challenge fact-finders
  • Access to all evidence
  • Right to face accuser and witness
  • Active participation of counsel
  • Meaningful right to appeal
  • Expulsion must be unanimous