Texas A&M University – College Station

Location: College Station, Texas
Website: http://www.tamu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Texas A&M University – College Station 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.

At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Stop Hate 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: January 5, 2015

    Bias/hate related events are those actions or behaviors committed that involve the intentional selection of a victim based on their membership in a group identified by race, ethnicity, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, gender, or sexual orientation.

    Too often, acts of hate and bias go unreported for a number of reasons ranging from a lack of trust to fear of reprisal. Some events, like racial epithets written on bathroom walls, are occasionally dismissed as too trivial to report. However, research suggests that these types of events tend to build into much bigger ones. Furthermore, they create a hostile, unsafe, and unwelcoming climate for the people they target and do damage to our community as a whole.

    Hate/Bias Report Form … Name is optional. (If you are reporting anonymously, please note that Texas A&M University officials may not be able to take action.)

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  • System Policies: Student Rights and Obligations 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: October 16, 2015

    The rights of students are to be respected. These rights include respect for personal feelings, freedom from indignity of any type, freedom from control by any person except as may be in accord with published rules of the academic institutions, and conditions allowing them to make the best use of their time and talents toward the objectives which brought them to the institutions. No officer or student, regardless of position or rank, shall violate those rights; no custom, tradition or rule in conflict will be allowed to prevail.

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  • Student Rules: Rules on Freedom of Expression 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: January 5, 2015

    As a public institution of higher learning, Texas A&M University provides forums for the expression of ideas and opinions. These include:

    * Traditional public forums include the University’s public streets, sidewalks, parks, and similar common areas. These areas are generally available for expressive activity, planned or spontaneous, for the individual or small groups (generally where a crowd of 25 or less will be present, and/or where an event is not promoted in advance, and/or when an event is not sponsored by a student organization) at any time without the need for reservation, or prior approval.

    Rudder Fountain Area, Lawrence Sullivan Ross Statue Area, and the West Mall Area are designated free speech areas and will be reserved at the request of students and non-students for expressive activity. The act of confirming a reservation will ensure the availability of space. … In an effort to ensure safety and to promote an environment conducive to study, advanced reservation for expressive activity is required (in the form of an approved Reservation Request for Space) for events or activities that are promoted in advance, and/or sponsored by student organizations, and/or expected to draw a crowd of more than 25 people.

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  • Student Rules: Individual Responsibility for Use of Computing Resources and Facilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 5, 2015

    * Respect the forum (talk groups, bulletin boards, public computing facilities) when communicating ideas to others via university computing facilities and resources (includes access to the Internet). All communications should reflect high ethical standards and mutual respect and civility.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Rules: Racial and Ethnic Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 5, 2015

    Racial and Ethnic Harassment is discrimination based on race, color, or national origin and involves behavior that is so severe and pervasive and objectively offensive so as to interfere with or limit the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by Texas A&M University. … To rise to the level of Racial and Ethnic Harassment, behaviors must include something beyond the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds offensive. The conduct must also be sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program and/or experience.

    The offensive conduct underlying some incidents might be protected speech, but may still be in contradiction to Texas A&M University’s commitment to civility, diversity, academic freedom, equality of opportunity and the valuing of human dignity. In these instances, constitutional rights will continue to be protected, but University staff will also exercise their right to speak and engage in educational dialogue with those engaged in these types of behaviors.

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  • Student Rules: Students’ Rights and Responsibilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 5, 2015

    A student shall have the right to participate in a free exchange of ideas, and there shall be no university rule or administrative rule that in any way abridges the rights of freedom of speech, expression, petition and peaceful assembly as set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

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  • Student Rules: Sexual Harassment and Related Retaliation 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 5, 2015

    Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes actionable sexual harassment when this conduct is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment. The University will use a reasonable person standard to determine these elements.

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  • Student Rules: Basic Rules and Procedures Governing Student Life 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 5, 2015

    The student retains the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States ….

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  • Student Rules: Student Conduct Code 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 5, 2015

    Behavior that is severe, pervasive or persistent to a degree that a reasonable person similarly situated would be prevented from accessing an educational opportunity or benefit. This behavior includes, but is not limited to, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, and coercion. In addition, harassment may be conducted by a variety of mediums, including but not limited to, physical, verbal, graphic, written, or electronic.

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  • Higher Education is a House Divided

    December 17, 2015

    By George F. Will at The News Journal Online Although he is just 22, Andrew Zeller is a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at Purdue University. He is one reason the school is a rare exception to the rule of unreason on American campuses, where freedom of speech is under siege. He and Purdue are evidence that freedom of speech, by which truth is winnowed from error, is most reliably defended by those in whose intellectual pursuits the truth is most rigorously tested by reality. While in high school in Bowling Green, Ohio, Zeller completed three years of college undergraduate courses. […]

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  • Looking for a College With Political Diversity? Here’s a Few Options and Ones to Avoid

    December 5, 2015

    By Ray Nothstine at The Christian Post Universities and colleges often make rapt headlines for political radicalism, but a diverse, well-rounded higher education may be more available than you think. Backlash against liberal institutions have essentially been on the rise since conservative giant William F. Buckley, Jr. published God and Man at Yale in 1951. The National Review founder and publisher lamented the worldview of his alma mater in the famous book declaring, “The academic community has in it the biggest concentration of alarmists, cranks and extremists this side of the giggle house.” Heterodox Academy, whose mission is to “increase viewpoint […]

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  • Sexual Assault Inquiry Presents Conundrum for Texas A&M

    November 18, 2015

    By Matthew Watkins at The Texas Tribune On March 28, 2014, two Texas A&M University graduate students — one male, one female — went on a date. They ate dinner at McAlister’s Deli, drove to the male student’s College Station apartment and sat on his bed to watch a Disney movie. What happened next is hotly disputed, and it has prompted a federal investigation into A&M. The woman, an international student, told campus staff that her date groped her, forced her to fondle him and made her perform oral sex. The man, an American student in the same university department as […]

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  • “FIRE Pay for Play” Debate: Entertaining, Informative and Balanced

    October 23, 2015

    By B. David Ridpath at Forbes A couple of nights ago two prominent and influential voices in intercollegiate athletics faced off in an informative debate to discuss the long running and oft debated question: Should College Athletes be Paid? Newly hired Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the NCAA, Oliver Luck squared off against former NCAA basketball star and ESPN analyst Jay Bilas in a spirited exchange between two very knowledgeable and passionate people on the subject. I can think of no two better and more qualified people to discuss what is a very controversial topic. It is also a topic that will […]

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  • Luck, ESPN’s Bilas to Debate Pay for College Players

    October 13, 2015

    By Staff at The Dpost  COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Two of the most controversial issues on college campuses today — freedom of speech and paying student-athletes — are up for debate Tuesday, Oct. 20, between ESPN’s Jay Bilas and NCAA vice president Oliver Luck, a former athletic director at WVU. They will argue the proposition that “college athletes should be allowed to be paid” on the campus of Texas A&M University. It’s the first debate this year sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The night also will feature discussion about what students and speakers should be […]

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  • Texas students want to opt out of funding gay group

    April 4, 2013

    The student government at Texas A&M University approved a bill in support of students who wish to opt out of having their activities fees pay for groups they deem morally objectionable. Supporters of the “Religious Funding Exemption Bill” say it does nothing except ask university administrators to give students more say over which groups receive funding. Some Christian students objected to having their tuition dollars go to the campus’s GLBT Resource Center, which provides counseling to gay students. The group receives about $100,000 a year–about $2 per student, according to KBTX. In fact, the bill was initially called The GLBT Funding Opt-Out Bill, but the name was […]

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  • College students must be allowed to express their own opinions in class

    February 2, 2005

    Columbia University, formerly famous for its academics, will now be infamous for its “free speech” crisis. A recent documentary, “Columbia Unbecoming,” has cried foul on the university’s Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures department. The film alleges that the department’s faculty is systematically silencing pro-Israeli students, thus limiting or outright expunging their academic freedom to dissent. According to the Columbia Spectator, two civil rights groups, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) have joined the debate. The NYCLU has zealously protected the faculty’s actions, while FIRE has supported the students’ […]

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  • Thought Reform 101

    March 1, 2000

    At Wake Forest University last fall, one of the few events designated as “mandatory” for freshman orientation was attendance at Blue Eyed, a filmed racism awareness workshop in which whites are abused, ridiculed, made to fail, and taught helpless passivity so that they can identify with “a person of color for a day.” In Swarthmore College’s dormitories, in the fall of 1998, first-year students were asked to line up by skin color, from lightest to darkest, and to step forward and talk about how they felt concerning their place in that line. Indeed, at almost all of our campuses, some […]

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  • ESPN’s Jay Bilas, NCAA’s Oliver Luck to Take On ‘College Athletes Should Be Allowed to Be Paid’ in First FIRE Debate!

    September 25, 2015

    FIRE is extremely excited to announce ESPN’s Jay Bilas and the NCAA’s Oliver Luck will debate the motion “College athletes should be allowed to be paid” in the first installment in our series, FIRE Debates, on October 20 at Texas A&M University. Jay Bilas is a broadcaster for ESPN, an attorney, and a former professional basketball player. In 1995, Bilas joined ESPN as a college basketball analyst. Currently, he serves as a game and studio analyst and courtside commentator for College GameDay, in addition to being a regular contributor to SportsCenter, ESPN.com, and ESPNEWS. Bilas also provides commentary on coverage […]

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  • 30 Years After Courtroom Win for Gay Student Group, Former Plaintiff Still Demands Free Speech for His Opponents

    April 3, 2015

    It can be easy to forget the importance of standing up for the free speech rights of those you disagree with—even more so when your views enjoy widespread support. But looking back at the changing tides of public opinion can remind us why it is essential to defend the underlying values of free speech, rather than just defending particular speech for the sake of one individual cause. Providing us with just this sort of reminder, Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to let the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in Gay […]

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  • Texas A&M Hosts Free Speech Workshops for Students ‘in Accordance with the Teachings of FIRE’

    January 27, 2009

    Yesterday the Office of the President at Texas A&M University (TAMU) hosted two workshops on free speech titled “Free Speech: Balancing Freedoms with Our Aggie Values” in order to educate students about their free speech rights. The workshops were led by Saundra Schuster, author of The First Amendment on Campus: A Handbook for College and University Administrators. Over five hundred students attended the workshops. An article last Friday in The Battalion quotes Director of Student Life and Vice-President for Student Services Carol Binzer describing the purpose of the workshop: “I want them to know what their freedoms are.” Binzer was […]

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  • Smoke and Mirrors at Texas A&M

    May 3, 2007

    After FIRE named Texas A&M University our May 2007 Speech Code of the Month, FIRE friend Professor Marshall Onellion wrote to Dr. Eddie Davis, president of the university’s flagship campus in College Station, to express his opposition to the policy. In response, Prof. Onellion received the following from Dean Bresciani, the university’s Vice President for Student Affairs: Dear Dr. Onellion—   Dr. Davis referred your email to me for response. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to bring the matter to the attention of the President of Texas A&M University. Please note that the “asinine” […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Texas A&M University

    May 1, 2007

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for May 2007: Texas A&M University. Texas A&M’s policy on Student Rights and Obligations provides, in relevant part, that: The rights of students are to be respected. These rights include respect for personal feelings, freedom from indignity of any type…. No officer or student, regardless of position or rank, shall violate those rights; no custom, tradition or rule in conflict will be allowed to prevail. (Emphasis added). This policy literally prohibits hurting someone’s feelings at Texas A&M University. Legally speaking, this policy is not worth the paper it’s written on. It is […]

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