University of Mississippi

Location: University, Mississippi
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 5th Circuit

Thank University of Mississippi for its commitment to free speech.

Speech Code Rating

University of Mississippi has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Green Light Policies
  • Policies Affecting Students: Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 7, 2018

    Sexual Harassment: Harassment of a sexual nature that is so objectively offensive, pervasive, or severe that it effectively denies the victim access to the University’s resources and opportunities, unreasonably interferes with the victim’s work or living environment, or deprives the victim of some other protected right.

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  • Policies Affecting Students: Residence Hall/Apartment Bill of Rights

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: June 7, 2018

    The University has some basic expectations that govern the special nature of interpersonal relationships within the community. These are reasonable expectations that students should have for one another while sharing space in an apartment. The Residence Hall/Apartment Bill of Rights outlines these expectations. … The right to feel secure against physical harm or emotional distress that is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with one’s access to the University’s resources and opportunities.

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  • Policies Affecting Students: IT Appropriate Use

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 7, 2018

    You must not upload, post, or transmit content that is threatening, harassing, defamatory, libelous, invasive of another’s privacy. This includes but is not limited to social networking sites, blogs, email or other electronic correspondence.

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  • Policies Affecting Students: Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 7, 2018

    For conduct to violate this policy, the conduct must be more than merely offensive; it must be so objectively offensive, pervasive, and/or severe that if repeated it would effectively deny the victim access to the University’s resources and opportunities, unreasonably interfere with the victim’s work or living environment, or deprive the victim of some other protected right. Examples of conduct prohibited by this policy include, but are not limited to, the following: intentionally inflicting severe emotional distress or harm; fighting words (words that actually tend to provoke immediate violent reaction); obscene, lewd, or lascivious conduct; defaming another (a false statement that harms the reputation of another); and speech or conduct based upon race, color, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or genetic information that is so objectively offensive to effectively deny the victim access to the resources and opportunities of the University.

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  • Overcoming a Racist Legacy

    June 17, 2016

    By Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed WASHINGTON — How does a university with a reputation for historically being inhospitable to black students overcome that part of its heritage? That was the focus of a panel of faculty and staff members from the University of Mississippi here Thursday at the annual meeting of the American Association of University Professors. Speakers from across student services and academic programs at Ole Miss described a kind of “recursive progress,” in which the university takes steps forward as well as backward on the road to inclusion — but ultimately moves ahead. And, perhaps, in which […]

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  • Good, Bad and Bizarre: Hervey Leaves Complicated Legacy

    July 20, 2015

    By Clay Chandler at The Clarion-Ledger Anthony Hervey, a 49-year-old black man who spent several years parading around Oxford and Ole Miss in a Confederate uniform and waving the battle flag, died in a car accident Sunday. He leaves a legacy as bizarre as his public persona. He forced Mississippi’s flagship university to rethink its free speech policies. He was also charged with assault after an altercation with a student journalist. Hervey had already established himself as a supporter of the Confederate battle flag before the fall of 2000, but the period’s debate over the state flag, when a commission barnstormed […]

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  • MSU/Ole Miss Rank Well on Free Speech

    March 11, 2015

    By Mel Carlock at WTVA News PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WTVA) — Mississippi State and Ole Miss rank high on a new report about free expression on college campuses. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says the schools are among 10 to receive a “Green Light” ranking because campus policies that do not threaten free expression. FIRE looked at policies regarding protest, sexual harrasment, academic freedom, housing policies, student conduct and rules regarding information technology in creating the rankings. The group says 55 percent of the 437 colleges surveyed received a “Red Light” ranking. Those include Alcorn State, Delta State, the University […]

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  • Free-speech policies questioned

    August 16, 2010

    Students at Mississippi universities may have to watch what they say more than those in other states because of policies that free-speech advocates say are oppressive. At Ole Miss, someone could theoretically get in trouble for sending an e-mail about how much they “hate” rival Mississippi State. Jackson State students could be punished for unsolicited flirting. Speaking freely outside so-called “free-speech zones” on most of the campuses could get students in trouble, even though a federal court has deemed that unconstitutional. Adam Kissel, of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said the nonprofit group hears from hundreds of college […]

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  • Beware of universities that wear diversity label

    April 14, 2004

    In far too many instances, what passes as college life and education today is no less than shameful. Under the name of diversity and political correctness, billions of taxpayer dollars and donor contributions are used to promote what might be charitably called enlightened racism, uniformity of thought and political proselytizing. Let’s look at some of it.The student code of Shippensburg University, in Pennsylvania, said that students had a “right to express a personal belief system” but only if such expression did not “demean,” “annoy” or “alarm” others. Thus, if a student expressed a distaste for race or sex preferences in […]

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  • Court: Exclusion of evidence, biased training, lack of cross-examination, low evidentiary standard may have violated student’s due process rights

    January 17, 2019

    While the Department of Education considers new regulations on how colleges and universities adjudicate claims of sexual misconduct on campus, the wave of litigation stemming from how they currently handle those claims continues unabated. Yesterday, a federal court in Mississippi denied the University of Mississippi’s motion to dismiss a student’s claim that the university violated his due process rights in numerous ways during the sexual misconduct investigation and hearing that ultimately left him suspended. (Technically speaking, these claims will proceed against the university’s president, since the university itself is immune from suit under the Eleventh Amendment.) The case stems from […]

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  • At Ole Miss, Free Speech Helps Heal Wounds of Segregationist Past

    July 27, 2016

    At one time, the University of Mississippi was the setting for one of the most infamous efforts to keep public schools racially segregated. Today, with more than 50 years separating it from that grim past, Ole Miss is gaining notoriety for its sweeping efforts to foster diversity and inclusion on campus. And administrators say it’s an oft-overlooked ally helping make those important changes on campus: Free speech. “We do have a difficult history as a state, and certainly as a university,” Associate Dean of Students Valeria Beasley-Ross acknowledged in an interview with FIRE. Perhaps the most difficult moment in that […]

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  • This Time, We’re Failing to Talk About ‘American Sniper’

    April 20, 2015

    Every so often, a cultural touchstone descends on college campuses, with the effect of putting campus discourse under the microscope for all to see. The results, frequently, are discouraging. Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster film American Sniper, adapted from deceased Navy sniper Chris Kyle’s memoir, is the latest exhibit. That American Sniper is a controversial movie is not a controversial observation. It was one of the most remarked-upon movies of last year, and the fevered debate over its portrayals of the war in Iraq, of the Iraqi people (and, by extension, Arabs and the Arab world), and of Kyle himself was difficult […]

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  • Harvey Silverglate: ‘Ole Miss Seeks to Put First Amendment in a Noose’

    March 3, 2014

    FIRE Chairman and co-founder Harvey Silverglate reminds readers in an article for Minding the Campus today that “in the eyes of the First Amendment, speech that promotes hate is as protected as speech that promotes love.”

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  • Ole Miss Students Respond to Racially Charged Speech with More Speech

    November 13, 2012

    In the wake of a racially charged protest last week, students at the University of Mississippi have responded by demonstrating exactly why the best way to counter speech one finds offensive is with more speech. On election night, some students at Ole Miss gathered to protest the re-election of President Obama. What originally began as “30 or 40 students” protesting grew into a crowd of over 400 people, and news outlets reported that, in addition to campaign slogans and school chants, some protesters shouted racial slurs. Obviously, this news has disturbed a number of people, particularly given the university’s history […]

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  • ‘The College Fix’ Covers New “Green Light” Schools

    September 28, 2012

    This year FIRE was proud to add two new schools to our list of institutions that have “green light” policies for free speech: Mississippi State and the University of Mississippi. We also were happy to add both of those schools to our Seven Best Schools for Free Speech list published in The Huffington Post last month. Online student-written news site The College Fix has a good writeup about the list and its new members. Check it out!

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  • Mississippians Celebrate Free Speech on State Campuses

    September 12, 2012

    Mississippi news outlets continue to celebrate the state’s good record for freedom of speech on its flagship campuses, with both Ole Miss and Mississippi State listed among the top seven colleges for free speech on campus by FIRE. The Dispatch is the latest to remark upon the Magnolia State’s high ranking for freedom of speech, with (of course!) an SEC football angle:  As college football enters its third week, the Southeastern Conference continues its stranglehold on the national polls, claiming three of the top seven spots in two separate polls.  But it turns out, the SEC has some other rankings […]

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  • ‘Virginia Advocate’ Praises UVA’s Green Light Rating

    March 16, 2012

    In The Virginia Advocate, an independent student newspaper at the University of Virginia, Wendy Morrison writes a brief column noting with pleasure the university’s rank as a “green light” school after having seen FIRE’s latest national survey of campus speech codes,  “This ranking was no faint praise,” Morrison writes, “when you compare UVA to other top tier Universities like Yale, who were given yellow lights and whose profiles cited many examples of seemingly unreasonable censorship.”  Indeed, it is no faint praise, though it is praise we give out far less often than we’d like. Currently only sixteen colleges nationwide (with […]

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  • In Mississippi, ‘The Clarion-Ledger’ Reports on Dangers of State Colleges’ Speech Codes

    August 16, 2010

    In today’s edition of The Clarion-Ledger, the Jackson, Mississippi newspaper reports on speech codes maintained at public colleges statewide. Spurred by FIRE’s recent victory at nearby Hinds Community College, reporter Elizabeth Crisp writes: Students at Mississippi universities may have to watch what they say more than those in other states because of policies that free-speech advocates say are oppressive. At Ole Miss, someone could theoretically get in trouble for sending an e-mail about how much they “hate” rival Mississippi State. Jackson State students could be punished for unsolicited flirting. Speaking freely outside so-called “free-speech zones” on most of the campuses […]

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  • The Acton Institute on FIRE, Speech Codes, and Reading Solzhenitsyn at Ole Miss

    December 3, 2008

    Ray Nothstine, Associate Editor at the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Acton Institute, has authored a thoughtful and illuminating article on the prevalence of speech codes and their chilling effects on campus freedom, as well as FIRE’s efforts to expose them and rid them from America’s colleges and universities. Echoing FIRE co-founders Alan Charles Kors and Harvey Silverglate’s 1998 book The Shadow University, Nothstine articulates the dangers of an establishment steeped in censorship: Limits on free speech [are] uniquely troubling for the future health of a free society. Students become accustomed to having their rights limited, and will be more lethargic in […]

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  • ‘Speech Code of the Month’ in ‘The FIRE Quarterly’

    May 25, 2007

    As Torch readers know, each month, FIRE features a college or university with a particularly egregious speech code as its Speech Code of the Month. We use Speech Code of the Month to educate the public about the ever-present problem of speech codes on campus, but the feature also helps put public pressure on these schools to encourage revisions of these repressive policies. An article in our new issue of The FIRE Quarterly discusses the changes in policies FIRE has witnessed in four institutions that have been named Speech Code of the Month in the past. Since June 2005, Albertson […]

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  • New Speech Code of the Month Website Feature

    April 13, 2007

    FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month program has been an important vehicle for change. Since June 2005, five universities—Albertson College of Idaho, the University of Nevada at Reno, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Jacksonville State University, and the University of Mississippi—have changed their policies after being named Speech Code of the Month. In addition, the president of Western Michigan University has stated that his institution will revise a policy that was named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for March 2007. Thanks to a new feature, visitors to FIRE’s website can now see our Speech Codes of the Month together […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: University of Mississippi

    October 3, 2006

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for October 2006: University of Mississippi. The University of Mississippi’s General Telephone Policy provides that, on calls made to and from campus telephones, “offensive language is not to be used. All reported incidents of anyone using offensive language is referred to the Campus Police for further action.” I’m happy to hear that Ole Miss is such a safe campus that the Campus Police have the time to take action on every incident of offensive language being used over the telephone. But the Campus Police should be aware that it is this policy—and […]

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