Texas Tech University

Location: Lubbock, Texas
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

Texas Tech 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

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 203 colleges ranked Read more
  • Student Handbook: Solicitations, Advertisements, and Printed Materials

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Printed materials are publications, handbills, posters, leaflets and other written matter intended for public distribution, sale or display on campus. … Printed materials shall not include the use of obscenities, libelous statements, or “fighting words” as defined by law. Read More
  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Bullying/Cyberbullying

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies, Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Bullying / cyber bullying Repeated or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally. Activities protected by freedom of expression will not be considered violations of the Code of Student Conduct. NOTE: Information related to freedom of expre... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Anti-Discrimination Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    a. Unwelcome sex-based verbal, or physical conduct that: … In the educational context, is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the conduct unreasonably interferes with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities. b. Examples of inappropriate behavior t... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Sexual Misconduct Procedures for Students- Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Sexual Harassment Unwelcome sex-based verbal, written, or physical conduct when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual’s work or educational performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment. To constitute an intimidating,... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Anti-Discrimination Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    a. Discriminatory harassment is verbal or physical conduct that shows hostility toward an individual based on or related to sex, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, or other protected categories, classes, or characteristics and that 1) Cr... Read More
  • Information Technology Division: Misuse or Abuse of Computer Equipment, Programs, or Data

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Conduct for which disciplinary action may be taken–in relation to computer equipment, programs, or data–include, but are not limited to, the following: … Any violation of federal, state, or Texas Tech computer-use laws and policies or Code of Student Conduct. Read More
  • Texas Tech University System Regulation 07.04

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    The University’s common outdoor areas (operated and either owned or leased by the University) are deemed traditional public forums, and any person is permitted to engage in expressive activities in those areas of the University campus. … Individuals may engage in expressive activities without prior reservation... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Membership in the TTU Community

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    As members of the academic community, University students enjoy the privileges and share the obligations of the larger community of which the University is a part. … Freedom of discussion, inquiry and expression is protected and nurtured in the classroom as the safeguard of the freedom to learn. Read More
  • Student Handbook: Code of Student Conduct- Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Harmful, Threatening, or Endangering Conduct Intentional or reckless behavior that harms, threatens, or endangers the health or safety of self or others, including but not limited to: … Threats An act or communication a reasonable person would interpret as a serious expression of intent to inflict bodily ha... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Sexual Misconduct Procedures for Students- Title IX Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: July 28, 2022

    Conduct that allegedly occurred against a person in the United States, in the University’s Education Program or Activity, on the basis of sex, and that satisfies one or more of the following: … b. Severe, Pervasive, and Objectively Offensive Conduct. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so... Read More

FIRE surveyed roughly 44,000 students at 203 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. See the full report on FIRE’s 2022 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.


Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 52.05

Rankings / out of 203 colleges ranked

Overall Ranking 58
Openness 194
Tolerance (Liberals) 159
Tolerance (Conservatives) 22
Administrative Support 22
Comfort 72
Disruptive Conduct 96

Administrative Behavior

Supported Scholars 0
Sanctioned Scholars 0
Successful Disinvitations 0


Speech Climate AVERAGE
Speech Code YELLOW
  • Texas Tech University: Speech Code Litigation

    February 6, 2003

    FIRE intervened at Texas Tech when students recognized its overbroad policies, which include a speech code that prohibited "insults," "ridicule," and "personal attacks," and restricted free speech to twenty foot-diameter gazebo referred to as a "Free Speech Zone." With FIRE’s coordination and support, along with the Liberty Legal Institute and the Alliance Defense Fund, the… Read more

  • Texas Tech Dean of Students Approves of Lack of Procedural Safeguards for Accused Students

    April 28, 2015

    Earlier this week, Texas Tech University student newspaper the Daily Toreador reported on elements of the student judicial process that have inspired mixed reactions from students and some worrying remarks from administrators. Many of the comments from the Texas Tech community reflect the worryingly common presumption that students accused of conduct code violations are guilty…. Read more

  • New (and, Fortunately, Failed) Disinvitation Attempts Span Political Spectrum

    February 12, 2015

    Last year, FIRE published a report detailing the growing trend of “disinvitations” of invited speakers on college campuses. This month, students at Texas Tech University and Saint Louis University (SLU) are proving that “disinvitation season” is taking place throughout the year, and that demands for revoked invitations for speakers are not limited to one side… Read more

  • Commencement Invitation Drama Continues; Free Speech Advocates Speak Out

    May 9, 2014

    This spring, FIRE has already brought you the news of women’s rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali being disinvited from speaking at Brandeis University, Condoleezza Rice canceling her commencement speech at Rutgers University after some students objected to her invitation, and Pasadena City College disinviting and then re-inviting Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black. It’s been a pretty active “disinvitation season” so far, and free speech advocates are speaking up about why this trend is so worrying.

  • Speech Code of the Month: Colorado Mesa University

    April 7, 2014

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for April 2014: Colorado Mesa University. Colorado Mesa’s policy on “Free Speech” limits students’ expressive activities to just one “concrete patio” on the university’s 86-acre campus. While the university has the right to enact reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, courts have held time and again that onerous restrictions like this one are not reasonable.

  • Hearing Today in ‘Free Speech Zone’ Lawsuit in Texas

    January 12, 2010

    The Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, Texas) is reporting on today’s hearing in federal court regarding FIRE’s case at Tarrant County College (TCC). As Torch readers will remember, TCC violated the constitutional rights of student protesters who intended to participate in the national “Students for Concealed Carry on Campus” protest by wearing empty holsters—just like students around… Read more

  • FIRE’s Will Creeley Discusses Texas Tech’s Speech Code Rating on Local News Broadcast

    December 16, 2009

    Yesterday, FOX34 News in Lubbock, Texas, ran a segment on Texas Tech University’s “red-light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database. The university earned this rating because of language in its policy on e-mail and computer use that restricts freedom of expression by stating that The use of computers and the network is a privilege, not a… Read more

  • Universities’ Compliance with Speech Code Decisions Leaves Much to Be Desired

    September 24, 2009

    FIRE’s newest Justice Robert H. Jackson Legal Fellow is Erica Goldberg. Erica is a graduate of Tufts University, where she was editor-in-chief of Tufts’ weekly newspaper, and of Stanford Law School, where she was a member of the moot court board. She also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ronald L. Gilman on… Read more

  • This Month in FIRE History: Lawsuit Challenges Speech Code and “Free Speech Gazebo” at Texas Tech

    June 30, 2009

    One of the most important lawsuits ever coordinated by FIRE’s Speech Code Litigation Project was filed six years ago this June against Texas Tech University. The lawsuit challenged the university’s policies, which were "overbroad, vague, involve[d] content-based and viewpoint discrimination, and unconstitutionally restrict[ed] student speech." Specifically, it challenged Texas Tech’s unconstitutional speech code and free… Read more

  • Questions Surround Proposed ‘Free Speech Zone’ at Northeastern Illinois University

    December 19, 2008

    Deanna Isaacs of the Chicago Reader reports troubling developments at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), a public university in Chicago. According to Isaacs, NEIU President Sharon K. Hahs has proposed instituting an unconstitutional free speech zone on the NEIU campus, with prior approval requirements that put an impermissible onus on students and faculty members seeking to… Read more

  • American Public Universities Take Cue from Singapore

    June 28, 2007

    When you think of a place where order takes precedence over liberty, where the government regulates every minute aspect of civil life, you may well think of Singapore. Over the years, Singapore has made the news for everything from caning an American teenager for vandalism to banning chewing gum to fining people for failing to… Read more

  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping… Read more

  • Wronging student rights

    September 3, 2005

    As summer ends and college students return to campus, a number of dreadful court decisions may cause them to wonder if their rights have taken a permanent vacation. While the past decades have hardly been a golden age for student rights, there was good reason to be optimistic in recent years. Speech codes fell at… Read more

  • The Trouble with Free Speech Zones

    June 24, 2005

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal article that Charles discusses below highlights the controversy over many public universities’ “free speech zone” policies—policies that limit free speech to specific, and often tiny, areas of campus. FIRE President David French is quoted as saying that free speech zone policies are “very common”—“[i]t’s gotten to the point where if I’m… Read more

  • Bigger in Texas?

    February 22, 2005

    Responding to our recent post about the University of North Texas, a reader from Texas wrote: Well, I appreciate your understanding of the scale of things here in Texas. I noticed that, in your discussion of the fun at North Texas, you made reference to “nearby Texas Tech.” We are about 300 miles from North… Read more

  • Calls for Censorship in Texas

    February 21, 2005

    The Denton, Texas, Record-Chronicle carried a story on Saturday (registration required) about an uproar over a free-expression issue at the University of North Texas. Apparently, the university chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) at UNT held a “Capture an Illegal Immigrant” event to draw attention to what they see as the problem of… Read more

  • This Month in FIRE History: FIRE Declares Free Speech Should Not Be Quarantined to Tiny ‘Free Speech Zones’

    February 17, 2005

    Three years ago this month, back when FIRE was in its toddlerhood, we won our very first victory in the battle against so-called Free Speech Zones. These “speech zone” policies restrict free speech and expression to tiny corners of campus and have been identified (and often defeated, thankfully) at dozens of campuses across the country…. Read more

  • Colleges Must Educate Students About Value of Free Speech

    December 29, 2004

    For those of you who are concerned about the state of free expression on campus, I would like to introduce you to Texas Tech University’s “Free Speech Gazebo.” The Gazebo is only 20 feet wide, and in early 2003, it was the sole area on campus where students could engage in free-speech activities – demonstrations,… Read more

  • Texas Tech’s ‘Free-Speech Zones’ Are Unconstitutional, Judge Rules

    October 15, 2004

    A federal judge has struck down “free-speech zones” at Texas Tech University, ruling unconstitutional a requirement that students who wish to give speeches must stay within a designated area. The case was brought by Jason Roberts, a law student who had sought to speak publicly about his view that “homosexuality is a sinful, immoral, and… Read more

  • Victory for Free Speech at Texas Tech

    October 5, 2004

    LUBBOCK, Texas, October 5, 2004—In the third victory in the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s (FIRE’s) ongoing legal campaign for free speech on America’s public campuses, a federal judge struck down Texas Tech University’s speech code. The judge also ordered large areas of the university to be opened to free expression and prohibited the… Read more

  • Practical Advice for Fraternities Caught in the Battle for Free Speech on Campus

    September 16, 2004

    I. Introduction While there is no shortage of free speech battles on college campuses, fraternities have the dubious honor of being at the center of many of the least sympathetic controversies. From Halloween parties where brothers show up dressed as Ku Klux Klan members to fraternity newsletters that graphically relate a brother’s sexual exploits with… Read more

  • Texas Tech Loosens Speech Restrictions, But Some Repressive Policies Remain

    December 9, 2003

    LUBBOCK, TX—In response to the pressure of a free-speech lawsuit and student demands for constitutional rights, Texas Tech University is backing away from at least some of its severe restrictions upon free expression. In July, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) coordinated a lawsuit to force Texas Tech—a public university with 28,000 students—to… Read more