Tennessee State University

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

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

Speech Code Rating

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

  • Guideline P-080: Discrimination and Harassment – Complaint and Investigation Procedure

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 4, 2019

    Harassment is conduct that is based on a person’s race, color, religion, creed, ethic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation/gender identity/expression, disability, age, as applicable, status as a covered veteran, genetic information, or any other category protected by federal or state civil rights law, that …  [h]as the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive environment of the individual;

    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, pressure for dates or sexual favors, unwelcome comments about a person’s religion or religious garments, offensive graffiti, cartoons or pictures, or offensive remarks about a person’s age.

    Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following …

    • 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 or living environments;
    • Sexual innuendoes[sic], comments, and remarks about a person’s clothing, body or activites[sic];
    • Suggestive or insulting sounds;
    • Whistling in a suggestive manner;
    • Humor and jokes about sex that denigrate men or women;
    • Sexual propositions, invitations, or pressure for sexual activity;
    • Use in the classroom of sexual jokes, stories, remarks or images in no way or only marginally relevant to the subject matter of the class

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Personal Property, Rights, Freedoms, Responsibilities

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: January 4, 2019

    Tennessee State University assumes the position that dissent, when carried out in the prescribed form (being registered in advance with the Vice President of Student Affairs, in order to ensure that the event is held at an acceptable time and appropriate site), will be protected; on the other hand, disruption in any form, will not be tolerated.

    Group dissent taking the form of demonstrations, marching, or sit-in activities will not be permitted inside university buildings or during university-wide events such as athletic contests, convocations, special lectures, assemblies or at the president’s home and surrounding grounds. This applies equally to students, faculty, employees of the university, and campus visitors.

    » Read More

Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct – Disciplinary Offenses

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: January 4, 2019

    Individual or organizational misconduct that is subject to disciplinary sanction shall include, but is not limited to, the following examples:

    a. Conduct dangerous to others – Any conduct or attempted conduct which constitutes a serious danger to any person’s health, safety or personal well-being, including, but not limited to the following:

    1. Physical and/or verbal abuse

    » Read More

  • Campus Living Guide: Community Living Bill of Rights

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: January 4, 2019

    The student’s bill of rights is a reminder to you of your rights as an individual and your responsibility to your fellow community members:

    The right to be free from fear of intimidation, physical and emotional harm.

    » Read More

  • Equal Employment Opportunity & Affirmative Action Office: Harassment Tips

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 4, 2019

    Some men and women are confused as to what behaviors constitute sexual harassment. The following questions may be especially helpful in assessing one’s own behavior:

    ● Do I tell jokes or make “funny” remarks involving the opposite sex and/or sexuality? (Such jokes may offend many people.)

    If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the chances of the behavior being considered sexual harassment are very high.  Because such behavior is likely to be high risk, if you have to ask, it is probably better not to do it.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 4, 2019

    Academic institutions exist for the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, the development of students, and the general well- being attainment of society. Free inquiry and free expression are indispensable to the attainment of these goals. As members of the academic community, students should be encouraged to develop the capacity for critical judgment and to engage in a sustained and independent search for truth.

    » Read More

  • Sexual Misconduct (6.6.4)

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 4, 2019

    Harassment means conduct directed toward the accused that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unwelcome contact that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress, and that actually causes the accuser to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.

    » Read More

At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • Tennessee Bill to Punish UT for Sex Week Becomes Law

    May 23, 2016

    For several years, the Tennessee legislature has threatened to take action against the University of Tennessee (UT) for allowing students to conduct an annual “Sex Week” on campus. Now the state legislature has followed through on its misguided threat by passing HB 2248, which states: State funds shall not be expended by the University of Tennessee to promote the use of gender neutral pronouns, to promote or inhibit the celebration of religious holidays, or to fund or support sex week. In addition to prohibiting the use of state funds to support Sex Week, the bill also cuts the budget of […]

    » Read More
  • College Censorship of Online Speech in 2008

    December 23, 2008

    This year, FIRE has seen a number of colleges take steps to regulate online speech. The Internet makes it easier than ever for people to communicate with one another, and thus presents a whole new world for would-be censors of campus speech. FIRE has kept a close watch on the developing relationship between colleges and online speech in order to prevent the establishment of deleterious, and potentially unconstitutional, practices. The most recent online FIRE case involved Michigan State University’s (MSU’s) attempt to regulate its students’ and faculty’s use of e-mail. MSU found a student government leader guilty of spamming for […]

    » Read More
  • Weekly Media Round-Up: FIRE’s Pressure on Michigan State Over ‘Spamming’ Case Heating Up

    December 5, 2008

    While FIRE awaits the results of this week’s disciplinary hearing of Michigan State University (MSU) undergraduate Kara Spencer—who faces possible suspension for sending “spam” e-mails to 391 MSU professors—word of the case and FIRE’s involvement has quickly spread throughout the East Lansing, Michigan, campus and beyond. Shortly following the sending of FIRE’s letter to MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, an article in MSU’s paper, The State News, alerted the campus community to the university’s outrageous overreaction to Spencer’s e-mails, which conveyed relevant information about impending changes to the school’s academic calendar. Word of MSU’s threats against Spencer has also […]

    » Read More
  • Tennessee State Bans JuicyCampus.com from Network

    November 20, 2008

    It was only a matter of time before some university decided to ban the gossip website JuicyCampus.com from its network, and now one has: Tennessee State University in Nashville. According to a November 12 letter from Vice President for Student Affairs Michael A. Freeman (see page 6 of the November 17 edition of The Meter, Tennessee State’s student newspaper), Tennessee State blocked the website from access through campus networks because it “does not fit with the legacy, spirit, and reputation of Tennessee State University.” Nashville’s The Tennessean ran a short article on the ban today. Before I address Tennessee State’s […]

    » Read More