University of Southern Indiana

Location: Evansville, Indiana
Website: http://www.usi.edu/
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit

Tell University of Southern Indiana to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of Southern Indiana 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
  • Student Rights and Responsibilities: Harassment (General)

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    Harassment is any conduct based on the victim’s actual or perceived identification with a particular class or classes protected by law or University policy that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile working or learning environment that interferes with the victim’s work or education, or that adversely affects their living conditions. Such harassment can be physical, verbal or visual, and can be committed by employers, coworkers, faculty and students. Statements and/or conduct legitimately and reasonably related to the University’s mission of education will generally not constitute harassment under this policy.

    » Read More

  • Student Affairs: USI Creed

    Speech Code Category: Policies Restricting Freedom of Conscience
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    Member of the USI community…

    I will practice personal and academic integrity; I will reject and confront all manifestations of discrimination while striving to learn from differences in people, ideas, and opinions;

    I will demonstrate concern for others, their feelings, their property, and their need for conditions which support their work and development;

    Allegiance to these ideals requires that I refrain from and discourage behaviors which threaten the freedom and respect every individual deserves.

    If you experience or observe actions on campus which are not in accordance with the USI Creed, please contact the Dean of Students Office at 812/464-1862.

    » Read More

  • Student Rights and Responsibilities: Disorderly Conduct/Indecent Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    Disorderly, lewd, indecent, bullying, cyber-bullying, or obscene conduct is prohibited, including the expression of such on University-owned or -controlled property or at University-sponsored or -supervised events, on or off campus.

    » Read More

  • Student Rights and Responsibilities: Threatening or Intimidating Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    Behavior that involves an expressed or implied threat, which includes, but is not limited to the use of words verbal, written, or electronic (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) inherently likely to provide an immediate violent reaction when directed toward a specific individual, or any behavior that has the purpose or reasonably foreseeable effect of creating a hostile environment by, but not limited to, interfering with another individual’s personal safety, safety of property, academic efforts, employment, or participation in University-sponsored activities and causes that person to have a reasonable apprehension that such harm is about to occur, is prohibited.

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  • Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    Harassment is a course of conduct that creates what a reasonable person would perceive as an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or learning environment. This includes conduct affecting tangible job benefits, interfering unreasonably with an individual’s academic or work performance, or (in the case of individuals living on campus) adversely affecting their living conditions. Such harassment can be physical, verbal, or visual and other non-verbal actions, and can be committed by employers, faculty, administrators, support staff, co-workers, students, and third parties.

    a) Examples of harassment include but are not limited to:

    i. making ethnic slurs or “jokes” based on race or religious beliefs that are targeted against a specific individual or individuals

    1) As stated in Section IX of this policy, such comments that are legitimately and reasonably related to the University’s mission of education (e.g. a class discussion or exercise about examples of discriminatory slurs or jokes, reviews of “racist” literature or videos, reviews of the history of discrimination) will generally not be considered to be a violation of this policy.

    ii. openly displaying offensive material (e.g., display of a pornographic website or magazine in view of other students or employees)

    iii. gossiping, spreading rumors, or intrusive questioning related to an individual’s protected characteristics (e.g., religious beliefs, sexual orientation)

    […]

    Sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with or denies/limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs and/or services, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation. Examples include but are not limited to: …

    e) making “jokes” of a sexual nature against a specific individual, or making “jokes” that reference the victim’s physical appearance or style of clothing

    i. As stated in Section IX of this policy, such comments that are legitimately and reasonably related to the University’s mission of education (e.g. a class discussion or exercise about examples of discriminatory slurs or jokes, reviews of “sexist” literature or videos, reviews of the history of gender discrimination or sexual abuse) will generally not be considered to be harassment under this policy.

    f) using social media or other electronic communications to make derogatory comments of a sexual nature about or to an individual

    » Read More

  • Data Communications and Computer Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    Unacceptable activities … 12. Sending or leaving abusive, obscene messages or content via computer. 13. Harassing other users by the sending unwanted messages or files.

    » Read More

  • Student Rights and Responsibilities: Free Speech, Peaceful Dissent, Protests and Demonstrations Rights and Responsibilities 

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    The right of free speech at the University also includes the right to acts of peaceful dissent, protests in peaceable assembly and orderly demonstrations. These are permitted on the USI campus.

    However, the University may regulate the time, place and manner in order to prevent unreasonable interference or disruption of the University’s educational, research, outreach and business functions, normal or scheduled uses of University property by the campus community, as well as protecting public health, safety and welfare.  All individuals and groups planning to engage in speech and expressive activities of the sort described in the previous paragraph should register in advance with the Dean of Students Office to allow the University the opportunity to provide space that accommodates the reasonable needs of both the University community and those engaged in acts of speech or protest.

    The following locations on the USI campus are available for speech and expressive activities by members of the public, members of the USI community and guests:

    • the lawn area south of Rice Library

    • the lawn area between the Physical Activities Center (PAC) and Recreation, Fitness and Wellness Center (RFWC)

    • the lawn to the north of the Wright Administration building

    In addition, the following general conditions of use apply to all areas of the University campus:

    • Activities may not be conducted in a manner that violates any federal, state or local law.

    • Activities may not be conducted in a manner or at a time or place that is either incompatible with or unreasonably interferes with the educational, research, service or other legitimate functions of the University.

    • Activities may not be conducted in a manner that violates the rules, regulations, or policies of the University of Southern Indiana including Student Rights and Responsibilities: A Code of Student Behavior (Appendix C, Sections C 10 and 11).

    • Activities may not be conducted in a manner that violates applicable fire or safety regulations.

    • Activities may not disrupt academic activity, block egress (i.e. block safe access to exits and entrances, hallways, sidewalks, streets etc.) or pose a threat to the personal safety of community members.

    Violations of these policies may result in appropriate disciplinary action and/or arrest, in accordance with applicable law and University policies and procedures.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Student Rights and Responsibilities: Social Media Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 27, 2018

    USI will not regularly monitor the language and/or actions of students on social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. However, while the University will defer to the user policies of the individual social medium, USI will hold students accountable for reported related Code of Student Behavior violations by USI students. Students may not:

    • Post messages that: incite imminent lawless action or violation of University policy, are a serious expression of intent to inflict bodily harm upon a person, are unlawful harassment, are defamatory or otherwise unlawful.

    • Claim or imply that they are speaking on behalf of the University.

    » Read More

  • Student Rights and Responsibilities: Student’s Rights

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    A student has the right to participate in a free exchange of ideas, and there shall be no University policy that in any way abridges the rights of freedom of speech, expression, petition, and peaceful assembly in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.

    » Read More

  • Student Rights and Responsibilities: Freedom of Expression Policy

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 2, 2018

    The University of Southern Indiana considers freedom of inquiry and discussion essential to a student’s educational development. Through open discussion of ideas and exchange of opinions, one can become informed and can test and give expression to values as they relate to issues concerning oneself and society.

    The ideas of different members of the University community will often and quite naturally conflict. But it is not the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable or even deeply offensive. Although the University greatly values civility, and although all members of the University community share in the responsibility for maintaining a climate of mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect can never be used as a justification for closing off discussion of ideas, however offensive or disagreeable those ideas may be to some members of our community.

    […]

    In a word, the University’s fundamental commitment is to the principle that debate and deliberation may not be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the University community to be offensive, unwise, immoral or wrongheaded. It is for the individual members of the University community, not for the University as an institution, to make those judgments for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose. Indeed, fostering the ability of members of the University community to engage in such debate and deliberation in an effective and responsible manner is an essential part of the University’s educational mission.

    » Read More


At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • University of Southern Indiana Adopts the Chicago Statement

    August 31, 2016

    The University of Southern Indiana (USI) has added the Chicago Statement—the FIRE-endorsed principles declaring free expression paramount on campus—to its employee handbook. USI joins more than a dozen other institutions at which faculty or administrative bodies have formally endorsed the 2015 University of Chicago (UChicago)-authored statement, which FIRE has called the gold standard for free speech policy statements in higher education. “We believe that that statement really speaks to the way the university believes we should be approaching and interpreting speech,” said Kindra Strupp, USI’s Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications. While some schools have chosen to tailor the […]

    » Read More
  • Student Paper Highlights University of Southern Indiana’s Speech Codes

    April 9, 2010

    In an article published yesterday in The Shield, the student newspaper at the University of Southern Indiana (USI), student Zach Evans highlights the unconstitutional speech policies in force at USI. Evans opens with an examination of USI’s free speech zone policy. With that in mind, what does free speech mean at USI? It all begins in the area set aside for the sole purpose of the exercise of free speech. Universities were at one point in time were (sic) the breeding ground for social activism and political protest.  During the 1960’s and 70’s the Vietnam War polarized young adults who […]

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