Rogers State University

Location: Claremore, Oklahoma
Website: http://www.rsu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Rogers State 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 here.

  • Rogers State University: First Amendment Violations

    August 30, 2010

    The Organization for Advocating the Rights of Students (OARS) faced a series of administrative restrictions while seeking to obtain status as a recognized student organization. OARS was told that it would not be allowed to circulate flyers on campus if the information on them was "not correct," a violation of the First Amendment and a misinterpretation of RSU’s own policies, and that all such flyers must receive prior RSU administrative approval. OARS also was told that RSU’s public relations department wanted to be in charge of all websites and social media applications run by student organizations. OARS finally received official […]

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Non-Academic Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2016

    Abusive conduct: Unwelcome conduct that is sufficiently severe and pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or employment and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, harassing, or humiliating. The frequency of the conduct, its severity, and whether it is threatening or humiliating are factors that will be considered in determining whether conduct is abusive. Abusive conduct includes verbal abuse, physical abuse, or holding a person against his or her will. Simple teasing, offhanded comments and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not amount to abusive conduct.

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  • Gender-Based Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2016

    Examples of Gender-Based Misconduct. Specific categories of gender-based misconduct and other important definitions used in this Policy are included in the Definitions section following the Procedures, along with scenarios illustrating specific instances of gender-based misconduct. For purposes of illustration, the following list sets forth examples of conduct that could constitute gender-based misconduct under those definitions:

    1. Coercion for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship
    2. Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging, or massaging
    3. Use of unwanted force in connection with sexual activity or attempted sexual activity
    4. Sexual contact with a person who has not clearly consented
    5. Unwelcome remarks about the private parts of a person’s body
    6. Belittling remarks about a person’s gender or sexual orientation based on gender-stereotyping
    7. Videotaping or photographing of activity of a sexual or private nature without the consent of the person(s) being videotaped or photographed
    8. Obscene gestures of a sexual or gender-based nature
    9. Derogatory posters, graffiti, cartoons, calendars, drawings, pictures, or text, whether disseminated through hard copy or electronically through e-mail, the Internet, or other digital mediums to facilitate any of the behaviors listed above…

    Gender-based Harassment.  Acts of aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility based on gender or gender stereotyping constitutes gender-based harassment. Gender-based harassment can occur if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic of their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. To constitute harassment, the conduct must unreasonably interfere with an individual’s education or educational activities or create an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive academic or living environment.

    Sexual Harassment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, or visual conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: … such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning, or offensive campus or living environment.

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  • Student Handbook: Racial and Ethnic Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2016

    In the educational context, racial/ethnic harassment is race discrimination which interferes with the students’ opportunities to enjoy the educational program offered by the University, prohibited by law under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    Remedies or corrective actions will be tailored to redress the specific problem and may range from apologies, mandatory attendance at specific training programs, reprimands, suspension, or demotion, to expulsion or termination.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 9, 2016

    Students of Rogers State University are guaranteed certain rights by the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Oklahoma and the Rogers State University Student Government Association.

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  • Student Handbook: Facility Use

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2016

    There are several public areas located on the University campus that are open to students and RSOs for free speech, protests, leafleting, etc. and require no reservation or notice (unless use also includes the placement of tables, booths, structures, large displays, vehicles, sound, audio or PA systems, or when assistance is needed from the University, in which case reservations as noted in Paragraph B below are required). Although not required, Student Affairs requests that RSOs/individual students notify the University of the use of such locations to ensure the space can accommodate such request, to ensure that no disturbance of the University‘s educational mission occurs, to ensure it is not in conflict with other prior requests for the area, and so that the University can assist in reserving the requested location. Notifications may be made by calling Student Affairs at 918-343-7579 or by email to studentaffairs@rsu.edu.

    The public areas for use by RSOs/Students include all sidewalks, and the following areas:

    1. Claremore Campus: Lawn to the west of the Centennial Center
    2. Claremore Campus: Lawn between Chapman Dining Hall and the University Village Club House<
    3. Claremore Campus: Lawn between Bushyhead Fieldhouse and the Will Rogers Auditorium
    4. Bartlesville Campus: Outdoor congregating areas do not currently exist on this campus
    5. Pryor Campus: Lawn between the circle drive and highway 69A

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  • Student Handbook: Computer Use

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 9, 2016

    Freedom of expression and an open environment to pursue scholarly inquiry and for sharing of information are encouraged, supported, and protected at Rogers State University. These values lie at the core of our academic community. Censorship is not compatible with the tradition and goals of the University.

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  • Student Handbook: Non-Academic Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 9, 2016

    Mental harassment: Intentional conduct that is so extreme and outrageous that a reasonable person would not tolerate it.

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  • Helping schools avoid dampening enthusiasm

    November 18, 2013

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month award goes to an Oklahoma university for its policy that appears to chill spontaneous expression. Students at Rogers State University wanting to hold a peaceful protest have to meet three days in advance with campus police and the Office of Student Affairs to facilitate such an event. But as Robert Shibley of The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) points out, that can dampen the enthusiasm of students fired up about an issue. “It’s simply a big chilling effect on speech,” he contends. “How many people care enough about things that […]

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  • Group Raises First Amendment Concerns About RSU’s Student Code

    November 5, 2013

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is criticizing Rogers State University’s policy on campus expression. The Philadelphia-based foundation is concerned about a statement in the RSU Student Code which addresses spontaneous protests on any of RSU’s campuses. The foundation says the policy is a “serious infringement on the First Amendment rights that the university is legally and morally obligated to uphold,” and says that is why it’s chosen RSU for its ‘November 2013 Speech Code of the Month‘ award. Here is the section of the RSU Student Code FIRE is singling out: “In order to protect the rights […]

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  • Student whistleblower keeps testing limits

    November 13, 2010

    CLAREMORE – The Rogers State University student who took her first amendment dispute to a national student rights group says RSU students are largely unaware of their rights or afraid to assert them to administrators. Because of views like that, Renee Morse-Heenan says she can draw up a sizable list of students she calls “Renee haters.” She admits it. She’s abrasive. She gets in the way. She’s opinionated. And she’s not done yet. The student who turned to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education over complaints about former student activities coordinator Lynn Brown now coordinates RSU’s first student rights […]

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  • RSU official gone after student rights controversy

    October 24, 2010

    CLAREMORE – A Rogers State University administrator has lost her job following a student rights dispute that grabbed the attention of a national advocacy group. The New York-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education accused Student Activities Coordinator Lynn Brown of violating students’ speech rights consistently after she was hired in June. A university official confirmed Friday that Brown left RSU Tuesday. “All I can say is that she no longer works for the university,” said Tobie Titsworth, vice president for student affairs. “We can’t comment on personnel matters.” He would not say whether Brown was forced to leave or […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Rogers State University

    November 4, 2013

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for November 2013: Rogers State University. The Student Code (PDF) at Oklahoma’s Rogers State University includes a policy on “Campus Expression” that provides, in relevant part: In order to protect the rights of all concerned individuals, any students or student organizations wanting to hold a peaceful protest must register with the Office of Student Affairs by filling out a “Campus Expression Form” at least three (3) days prior to the event. A meeting will be arranged with the event organizers, Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Campus Police to facilitate the event. Under […]

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  • ‘Claremore Daily Progress’ Highlights Advances for Student Rights at Rogers State, But Free Speech Still in Danger in Oklahoma

    November 23, 2010

    This month, Zack Stoycoff from the Claremore Daily Progress (Oklahoma) has devoted three articles to coverage of FIRE and our recent case at local Rogers State University (RSU). Torch readers might remember RSU stduent Renee Morse-Heenan’s struggle to earn recognition for her group, the Organization for Advancing the Rights of Students (OARS), at RSU this fall. These articles are a welcome update on Renee’s success and the considerable gains for student rights at RSU, but Stoycoff’s reports make clear that Oklahoma schools still need FIRE. First, the good news: OARS is now operating successfully at RSU, and administrators say that […]

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  • Rogers State Official Out after FIRE Intervenes in Controversy

    October 26, 2010

    Both The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and the Claremore Daily Progress (Okla.) are reporting that Rogers State University (RSU) Coordinator of Student Activities Lynn Brown is no longer employed at Rogers State. The articles connect the end of her employment with the fact that FIRE recently intervened in a students’ rights controversy at RSU in which Brown played a prominent part. The article in the Claremore Daily Progress, RSU’s hometown paper, begins this way: CLAREMORE – A Rogers State University administrator has lost her job following a student rights dispute that grabbed the attention of a national advocacy group. The New York-based […]

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  • Student Rights Group Recognized at Rogers State University, but Deficiencies in Recognition Process Remain

    October 12, 2010

    After a number of First Amendment hiccups, and an intervention from FIRE, the Organization for Advocating the Rights of Students (OARS) is now recognized at Oklahoma’s Rogers State University (RSU). Uncertainty remains, however, about the fairness of the processes by which student groups obtain recognition at RSU. FIRE was first contacted by OARS President Renee Morse-Heenan in August as OARS was confronted with a series of constitutionally questionable requirements for becoming a registered student organization recognized by RSU. Hoping to expedite the process so that OARS could begin recruiting members, Morse-Heenan asked RSU what further steps lay in the path […]

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