Texas Southern University

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

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Speech Code Rating

Texas Southern 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Manual of Administrative Policies and Procedures: 04.06.03- Computer Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 4, 2019

    When communicating with others via the University computer system, ensure that communications reflect high ethical standards, mutual respect and civility.

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  • Manual of Administrative Policies and Procedures: 5.01.01- Freedom of Expression

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

    The university expects that persons engaging in organized expressive activities will demonstrate civility …

    Organized expressive activity: Any organized non-curriculum related rally, parade, demonstration, stationary structure or display, concert or other similar event designed to attract an audience of twenty-five (25) or more people.

    Texas Southern University students, faculty and staff who wish to engage in an expressive activity (including literature distribution) that is not an official University activity, and does not meet this policy’s definition of an organized expressive activity (i.e., where an expressive activity is designed to attract an audience of less than 25 people), may engage in such expressive activity in the University’s common areas (e.g., “Tiger Walk” and University parks and sidewalks) without prior registration or approval. If an expressive activity was not designed to attract an audience of twenty-five (25) or more people, but does in fact attract an audience of twenty-five (25) or more people, the expressive activity may be required to be relocated to a drop-in organized expressive activity area on campus if necessary to avoid disrupting University business or classes, blocking building access, or creating traffic hazards.


    A.   Texas Southern University has designated areas for outdoor organized expressive activities.

    B.   Some areas designated as “drop-in zones” do not require reservation.

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  • Student Code of Conduct: Student Code of Conduct Violations- Mental or Bodily Harm

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

    (a) Intentionally inflicting mental or bodily harm upon any person; (b) taking any action for the purpose of inflicting mental or bodily harm upon any person; (c) taking any reckless, but not accidental action from which mental or bodily harm could result to any person; (d) engaging in conduct (including, but not limited to stalking) that causes a person to believe that the offender may cause mental or bodily harm; (e) “Any person” as used in this section may include oneself.

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  • Manual of Administrative Policies and Procedures: 2.05.11- Sexual Harassment Policy

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

    The University’s sexual harassment policy is designed to apply to employment and academic relationships among faculty, administrators, staff, and students and prohibits opposite-sex (male-to-female, female-to-male), and same-sex (female-to-female, male-to-male) harassment. Every employee of the University must avoid offensive or inappropriate sexual and/or sexually harassing behavior at work.

    Texas Southern University has adopted and incorporated the regulations of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and case law that define sexual harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Prohibited conduct and activities include: …

    5. Any verbal or physical conduct that has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment; and

    6.   Certain conduct in the workplace, whether physical or verbal, committed by supervisors or non-supervisory personnel, including but not limited to references to an individual’s body; use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual; offensive comments; off-color language or jokes; innuendoes; and sexually suggestive objects or behavior, books, magazines, photographs, cartoons or pictures.

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Green Light Policies
  • Title IX/Sexual Assault/Sexual Misconduct

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

    Sexual Harassment is

    • unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
    • sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it,
    • unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities, and is
    • based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.

    » Read More

  • Student Code of Conduct: Student Rights, Responsibilities and Requirements

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

    Students at Texas Southern University have all the rights and privileges expressed in the constitutions and laws of the United States and of the State of Texas. Basic to these rights is the guarantee of freedom of speech and assembly.

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  • Student Code of Conduct: Student Code of Conduct Violations- Bullying, Intimidation, and harassment

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

    a) Making or causing to be made any communication (including electronic or through social media) to another person in any manner likely to cause alarm; b) subjecting another person or threatening to subject another person to striking, kicking, shoving, or offensive touching; c) threatening to reveal personal information or media about a person electronically or through other means of communication; and/or d) engaging in any other course of alarming conduct or repeatedly committing acts with the purpose of seriously alarming another person.

    A person’s behavior should be sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent as to substantially disrupt or interfere with the orderly operation of the institution or the rights of a student to participate in or benefit from the educational program.

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  • Lukewarm Embrace of Free Speech

    October 11, 2017

    By Jeremy Bauer-Wolf at Inside Higher Ed. College students might appreciate free speech in the abstract, but question them on more granular issues, and their support softens, according to a new survey… Read more here.

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  • Texas Southern University president storms into student event, shuts down speech

    October 10, 2017

    Astonishing video has emerged from Texas Southern University, showing Texas Southern University President Austin Lane personally shutting down a speech by Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain. The TSU Federalist Society chapter had invited Cain to campus to speak about his experience in the Texas legislature when the scene unfolded yesterday: A group of student protesters began chanting at Rep. Cain “No hate anywhere. You don’t get a platform here,” and “When a racist comes to town, shut him down.” Cain was effectively prevented from speaking. Those students were eventually removed from the room by university police so that Cain could continue. […]

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  • Texas Southern dropping Sen. Cornyn is just another drop in the disinvitation bucket

    May 18, 2017

    Last Friday, Texas Southern University announced that Sen. John Cornyn would not speak as planned in the school’s commencement ceremony. In the face of student protests, the historically black university in Houston opted instead for Sen. Cornyn to return at a later date “in order to keep the focus on graduates and their families.” This is nothing new. In fact, it’s quite common. FIRE maintains a database that tracks disinvitations and calls for disinvitation going back as far as the year 2000. Our database lists more than 330 speakers who faced demands that they not speak on campus, many of […]

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  • In Texas, First Amendment Imperiled in 2008

    January 1, 2009

    I’m not sure what happened down in Texas in 2008, but administrators at several schools have been unusually cowardly about even the slightest challenges to their ideas of good order on campus. During the election season there was the Great Non-Riot of 2008 at the University of Texas at Austin (UT), where two students faced punishment equivalent to suspension or expulsion for posting political signs on their dormitory-room window, which inspired students across campus to vow to do the same in solidarity and in a noble exercise of the right to freedom of expression. Once student outrage reached a high […]

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