University of Missouri at St. Louis

Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Website: http://www.umsl.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 8th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Missouri at St. Louis 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

  • Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: December 4, 2015

    Unacceptable behavior includes:

    – sending annoying or obscene messages or images to other users …
    – posting of inappropriate Web materials
    – harassing individuals using electronic transmissions

    » Read More

  • Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity: Sex Discrimination Harassment and Sexual Violence

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 4, 2015

    Sexual harassment involves any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. The unwelcome conduct may involve direct action (advances, promises, etc.) by a person in authority, or sex-related behavior which creates a hostile environment, whether by one in power or by others. Sexual harassment may occur regardless of the sex or the sexual orientation of the parties. Examples include:

    • Suggestive or insulting sounds or obscene gestures
    • Off-color jokes
    • A professor asking for sex in return for good grades
    • Other physical, verbal, graphic or written conduct of a sexual nature

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Organization Handbook: Bulletin Board Posting

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: December 4, 2015

    Images or language deemed profane, defamatory, or inflammatory will not be approved.

    » Read More

  • University of Missouri System: Standard of Conduct- Student Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: December 4, 2015

    Bullying is defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class.

    » Read More

  • Student Organization Handbook: Demonstration Policy

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: December 4, 2015

    All rallies, demonstrations or similar activities shall be registered through the Office of Student Life at least 48- hours before the event by completing a Rally or Demonstration Request Form. Any organization holding a rally, demonstration, or like event shall appoint four students to act as marshals for the event. The marshals’ names must be listed on the request form. It will be the duty of the marshals to ensure that all participants are properly instructed as to provisions of these regulations and that no action is performed which will discredit the student body or the University. If the organization is distributing handbills or leaflets, the group is responsible for the cleanup following the distribution. The organizations, as well as all individuals participating, are responsible for following the Student Standard of Conduct.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • University of Missouri System: Standard of Conduct- Student Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 4, 2015

    Harassment in violation of the University’s anti-discrimination policies, is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct, on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class as defined in the University’s anti-discrimination policies, that creates a hostile environment by being sufficiently severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits or opportunities.

    » Read More

  • University of Missouri System: Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct in Education/Employment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 4, 2015

    Sexual harassment is defined as:

    1. Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual activity by a person or persons in a position of power or authority to another person, or
    2. Other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person to another person, when:

      1) Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used explicitly or implicitly as a condition for academic or employment decisions; or
      2) Such conduct creates a hostile environment by being sufficiently severe or pervasive and objectively offensive that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits or opportunities.

    » Read More

  • University of Missouri System: Standard of Conduct- Student Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 4, 2015

    Threatening or Intimidating Behaviors, defined as written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of injury to the health or safety of any person or damage to any property or implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another.

    » Read More


  • Free Speech Is No Joke

    August 5, 2016

    By Alice B. Lloyd at The Weekly Standard Free speech requires the Socratic “recognition that you almost certainly don’t know everything,” says Greg Lukianoff. Lukianoff, the founder of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), diagnoses a humility deficiency in the new documentary Can We Take A Joke?… Read more here.

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  • The Rise of Microaggression Reporting Systems

    June 22, 2016

    By Chris Bodenner at The Atlantic In our cover story last summer on the strengthening PC movements on college campuses, Haidt and Lukianoff noted an attempt by one student group to bureaucratize and punish certain kinds of speech:… Read more here.

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  • High on Image, MU Says no to Pot on T-Shirt

    June 21, 2016

    By Staff at Columbia Daily Tribune The University of Missouri and a student group are squabbling over marijuana… Read more here.

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  • The Battle for the Soul of America Higher Education

    May 22, 2016

    By Aviva Chomsky at The Huffington Post During the past academic year, an upsurge of student activism, a movement of millennials, has swept campuses across the country and attracted the attention of the media. From coast to coast, from the Ivy League to state universities to small liberal arts colleges, a wave of student activism has focused on stopping climate change, promoting a living wage, fighting mass incarceration practices, supporting immigrant rights, and of course campaigning for Bernie Sanders… Read more here.

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  • Rise of Bias Response Teams at University of Northern Colorado, Across Country Signals Shift in how Universities Deal With Inclusion

    April 25, 2016

    By Tyler Silvy at The Tribune As racial justice and other protests have spread on university campuses across the United States, administrators have learned it’s not enough to say, “We’re listening.”… Read more here.

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  • Jefferson Muzzles go to 50 Colleges and Universities

    April 20, 2016

    By Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post The Thomas Jefferson Center (with which I’m involved as a member of the board of trustees) has just released its yearlyJefferson Muzzles, so I thought I’d pass along the center’s explanation of who the “winners” are this year. Note that the Ccnter supports academic freedom and free speech broadly, and not just those aspects that are legally protected by the First Amendment; so you’ll see many private institutions mentioned here, even though the First Amendment as such does not restrict private entities, as well as the public institutions to which the First Amendment applies… Read […]

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  • Poll: Students Support Free Speech, as Long as You Don’t Intend to Offend Anyone

    April 7, 2016

    By Stephen Loiaconi at KVAL WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — A majority of American college students support restrictions on “intentionally offensive” speech on campus, according to a new study, but their broader views on First Amendment rights reflect those of society in general… Read more here.  

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  • Universities are Missing the Point by Emphasizing ‘Diversity,’ American U. Official Says

    April 4, 2016

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix WASHINGTON – College administrators are squarely to blame for the rise of student activism that tries to suppress the free expression of ideas, one such administrator said at a Saturday conference on campus free speech sponsored by the Newseum Institute and Knight Foundation… Read more here.

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  • Students Want to Prohibit ‘Slurs’ but not ‘Unpopular’ Speech, Survey Finds

    April 4, 2016

    By Mark Schierbecker at The College Fix Students think highly of their own value for free speech despite their willingness to restrict the viewpoints of others, according to a Gallup survey released Monday… Read more here.

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  • Our View: Lt. Gov. Dan Forest Takes aim at Campus Censors

    April 2, 2016

    By Staff at Daily Journal The University of North Carolina at Greensboro bans “disrespect.” N.C. Central says students in its dorms must avoid saying or writing anything that “offends.” East Carolina prohibits “jokes about sex or sexual orientation.”… Read more here.  

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  • SLU Case Highlights the Gray Areas of Campus Sex Assault Investigations

    October 12, 2015

    By Koran Addo at St. Louis Post-Dispatch In March 2014, after a night of partying, two St. Louis University students ended up in bed together at a house off-campus. Two months later, the man got a letter from the university telling him he was under investigation for sexual assault. The investigation carried on for months. During the inquiry, it was never disputed that the woman packed an overnight bag, willingly walked to the man’s house, got into his bed and had sex with him. The pivotal question is whether the man knew the woman was too drunk to consent. Initially, SLU suspended […]

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  • Missouri Colleges Could Be Punished For Stifling Student Speech Under Legislation

    January 15, 2015

    By Matt Lamb at The College Fix Missouri could become the second state in the nation to give college students broad rights to express themselves on campus without the maze of restrictions and permits typically required for demonstrations. The Campus Free Expression Act, introduced by Republican lawmakers in the state house and senate, deems outdoor areas of public universities “traditional public forums” that are protected by the First Amendment – in effect, eliminating “free speech zones.” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, signed into law the same protections for Virginia students last spring. That bill passed both houses of the […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: University of Missouri – St. Louis

    March 1, 2012

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2012: the University of Missouri – St. Louis. The University of Cincinnati (UC) made headlines this month when a student group there filed a federal lawsuit challenging the university’s restrictive policy governing demonstrations, pickets, and rallies on campus. But UC is far from the only university to place onerous and unconstitutional restrictions on students’ right to express themselves on campus. At the University of Missouri – St. Louis, the “Demonstration” policy (.pdf) in the Student Organization Handbook provides that If an organization wants to hold any type of rally, demonstration, […]

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