University of South Alabama

Location: Mobile, Alabama
Website: http://www.southalabama.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of South Alabama 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.

This school does not have any cases at this time.

Red Light Policies

  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Discriminatory Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    The term “discriminatory harassment” refers to intentional behavior, including but not limited to written, electronic, verbal, or physical acts that denigrate or show hostility toward an individual on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, veteran status, genetic information, or disability.

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  • Student Handbook: Policies- Student Code of Conduct- Sexual Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    The term “sexual harassment” includes, but is not limited to, verbal or non-verbal conduct that is intimidating, demeaning, hostile, or offensive with an inappropriate focus on sex, sexual history, individual gender-based characteristics, or sexual orientation; unwelcomed verbal or physical advances; unwelcomed verbal or physical advances; attempts to subject a person to unwanted sexual attention or to coerce a person into sexual relations; and/or retaliation for a refusal to comply with sexual demands. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination.

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  • Student Handbook: Housing and Residence Life Policies and Procedures- Communication 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    Freedom of speech does not absolve a student of the responsibility to respect other individuals. Therefore, disruptive profanity, hate speech, or verbal intimidation will not be tolerated and will be subject to disciplinary action. All residents will be expected to maintain a sense of civility towards each other and the staff.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Use of University Space, Facilities, and Grounds- Expressive Activity 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    For USA students or employees, all areas of the University campus are open for expressive activities, except for the following:

    ● Areas between the street side of University buildings and facilities on the periphery of campus from the portal of North Drive to the corner of campus at Old Shell Road and University Boulevard and to the portal of Stadium Drive and the public sidewalks

    ● Areas within 100 feet of academic buildings or residential housing buildings

    ● Mitchell Center and grounds

    ● Moulton Tower and Alumni Plaza

    ● USA Health System’s Hospitals, Clinics, and grounds, with the exception of public streets and sidewalks at those facilities

    Any expressive activity beyond the Student Center will require that the University be able to identify the University individual or organization involved and that person or organization must abide by these regulations.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Harassment 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    The term “harassment” means pervasive or severe, unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group against another. It is also defined as using abusive language, including electronic communication, tending to incite an immediate breach of the peace to any person, persistent following or stalking of a person, or engaging in a course of conduct or repeatedly committing acts that harm or seriously annoy another person. The University uses the reasonable person standard to determine when acts are defined as annoying, alarming, or harassing in nature.

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  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Conduct Which is Disorderly or Indecent 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility

    “Disorderly conduct” occurs when an individual acts with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, when he: … In a public place, uses abusive or obscene language or makes an obscene gesture.

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  • Student Handbook: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    For the purpose of University policy, sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, verbal or non-verbal conduct that it intimidating, demeaning, hostile, or offensive with an inappropriate focus on sex, sexual history, individual gender-based characteristics, or sexual orientation; unwelcomed verbal or physical advances; attempts to subject a person to unwanted sexual attention or to coerce a person into sexual relations; and/or retaliation for refusal to comply with sexual demands. Sexual harassment is defined further as unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other behavior of a sexual nature where:…

    Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

    • Sexually degrading words or gestures used to describe an individual;
    • Unnecessary touching, patting, pinching, or brushing of another’s body or clothing;
    • Repeated offensive sexual flirtation, leering, or ogling;
    • Stalking, telephone (including texting), or computer harassment (including use of social media);
    • Display of sexually demeaning objects, pictures, or cartoons in hallways, outdoor areas, offices, and rooms publicly accessible to members of the University community;
    • Direct or implied threats or insinuations that an individual’s refusal to submit to sexual advances will affect adversely the individual’s status, evaluation, wages, advancement, duties, or career development.

    Conduct alleged to be sexual harassment that does not involve violence will be evaluated by considering the totality of the circumstances including, but not limited to, the nature, frequency, intensity, and duration of the questioned behavior. Unwelcomed conduct of a sexual nature can form the basis of a sexual harassment claim if a reasonable person, similarly situated, would consider it so unreasonable, severe, or pervasive as to interfere with academic, educational, or employment performance or participation in a University program or activity or residential environment.

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  • Student Handbook: Posting Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies

    Reservations for all flyers, posters, and banners (with the above exceptions) should be made at the Student Center Information Desk located on the first floor. Groups or departments that have their own bulletin board do not need to make reservations for postings on their own board. All reserved flyers, posters and banners must bear the stamped reservation date of the Student Center Office except those utilized in spaces designated for a specific organization or department. … Materials may not contain obscene language, drawings, or illustrations. Materials may not make any reference in print or graphics to alcohol.

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  • Student Handbook: Policies- Student Computer Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Activity that violates state or federal law. This may include viewing, downloading, posting, printing or sending pornography, or other sexually explicit, profane, obscene, hostile, or blatantly offensive and intimidating material, including hate speech, threats, harassing communications (as defined by law), or information that violates any state or federal laws.

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  • Student Handbook: USA Spirit 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience

    Becoming a member of the University of South Alabama’s community necessitates that the spirit of a truly civilized community be fully embraced. As a member of the University community: …

    I will respect the spirit of equality which upholds the dignity of all persons. … a commitment to this ideal means I will not compromise or demean the dignity of individuals or groups, including hazing, intimidation, teasing, baiting, insulting, harassing, and discrimination. Instead, I will uphold the worth of all individuals.

    I will uphold the spirit of diversity which celebrates differences and discourages bigotry. … a commitment to this ideal affirms support for equal rights regardless of  age, sex, race, religion, disability, ethnic heritage, socio-economic status, political, social or other affiliation.

    I will practice the spirit of stewardship which seeks to conserve the earth’s resources and to properly use all resources at my disposal. … a commitment to this ideal means I will conserve the campus environment and will use the resources provided me wisely, not wasting where I can conserve, not expecting others to pick or clean up. …

    When one embraces the Spirit of South Alabama by joining the community, it behooves that person to exemplify and encourage behavior which promotes integrity, equality, privacy, diversity, service, stewardship, and involvement.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Student Rights and Responsibilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    The University of South Alabama is a community of scholars in which the ideals of freedom of inquiry, freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of the individual are sustained. The University is committed to supporting the exercise of any right guaranteed to individuals by the Constitution and the Code of Alabama and to educating students relative to their responsibilities.

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  • Students Sue University Over Policy Banning Pro-Life ‘Cemetery of Innocents’ Display

    September 5, 2014

    By Michael Gryboski at The Christian Post A pro-life student organization with chapters across the country has filed a complaint against the University of South Alabama over its “solicitation policy.” Students for Life USA filed a complaint arguing that South Alabama‘s policy restricted their right to hold an event known as the “cemetery of innocents.” The student organization is being legally represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, which sent an amended complaint to South Alabama last month. David Hacker, senior legal counsel with ADF, told The Christian Post that a response from the university was expected within the next couple of weeks. Hacker also […]

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  • Troy art student sues after nude photos banned

    November 1, 2005

    An art student sued Troy University on Monday, saying the school violated his free speech rights by censoring his artwork and implementing a campus speech code that unconstitutionally restricts speech. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, contends Troy officials removed portions of Blake Dews’ artwork because it featured female nudity. The university issued a statement defending its decision on Dews’ art. ”The photographs in question displayed male full frontal nudity and the university did not consider the photographs to be consistent with our community ‘s standards,” the statement said. ”This is a matter now under litigation and […]

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  • Federal Judge Issues Mixed Ruling in U. of South Alabama Free Speech and Due Process Case

    February 17, 2015

    Last August, I reported on a University of South Alabama (USA) student group’s federal lawsuit alleging that the university violated the group’s members’ First Amendment right to free expression by confining them to a tiny “speech zone” on campus, and that its overbroad and vague policies violate students’ due process and equal protection rights. Earlier this month, Chief District Judge William H. Steele ruled on USA’s motion to dismiss the case, dismissing some claims and allowing other claims to survive. The case arose after USA administrators repeatedly denied Students for Life USA’s requests to set up a “Cemetery of the […]

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  • U. of South Alabama Pro-Life Group Alleges First, Fourteenth Amendment Violations

    August 29, 2014

    The University of South Alabama (USA) student group Students for Life USA filed suit against the university in federal court in April, alleging that by restricting the group’s speech to a tiny “speech zone” on campus, the university violated members’ First Amendment right to freedom of expression, as well as their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection. Earlier this month, USA revised a solicitation policy at issue in the lawsuit, but according to Students for Life USA and the group’s counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the second policy identified in the suit still infringes on student rights. ADF filed an amended complaint (PDF) this week, which includes requests to enjoin enforcement of both policies and to provide nominal damages and attorneys’ fees.

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