Grambling State University: Ban on Core Political Expression
The Media Relations department at GSU sent an e-mail on July 13, 2010, ordering the GSU community to delete all e-mails containing political campaign solicitations and to not forward them because doing so implied support for a particular candidate. FIRE wrote President Frank G. Pogue, explaining that this policy unduly restricted the right to freedom of speech. In response, Director of Public Relations Vanessa Littleton claimed that GSU does not prohibit political expression on campus, but she then cited GSU's "Email Use Policy," which substantially restricts freedom of speech. For example, it bans "joke emails" and those containing "offensive comments" about—among other attributes—one's political beliefs. FIRE wrote President Pogue a second time about these violations of freedom of speech. Pogue responded on October 8, 2010, promising to revise the policy. No policy revisions have been publicly released.
- "FIRE Releases Statement on Political Activity on Campus for 2012 Election Season, Following Censorship at Grambling State University and Other Colleges," November 9, 2011: As the 2012 election season begins, FIRE is reminding college students and faculty across the nation of their right to engage in political speech on campus. FIRE today releases an updated and expanded Policy Statement on Political Activity on Campus detailing the protection for political expression enjoyed by students and faculty at public and private colleges nationwide. Given the censorship of political speech FIRE witnessed during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons at universities like Grambling State University (GSU), which prohibits students and faculty members from engaging in a wide swath of constitutionally protected political expression, FIRE's reminder is timely and necessary.
- "Response to FIRE second letter from GSU President Frank G. Pogue, October 8, 2010," October 8, 2010
- "FIRE second letter to GSU President Frank G. Pogue, October 1, 2010," October 1, 2010
- "Grambling State University Response to FIRE, September 22, 2010," September 22, 2010
- "FIRE and ACLU of Louisiana Joint Statement Regarding Grambling State University's Response, September 22, 2010," September 22, 2010
- "Grambling State University Bans Use of E-Mail for Core Political Expression ," September 16, 2010: As the 2010 election season enters full swing, Grambling State University (GSU) is prohibiting its students and faculty members from engaging in a wide swath of constitutionally protected political expression. The Louisiana public university has forbidden students and faculty from transmitting any "campaign solicitations" via the university's e-mail system, a ban that includes any message that "implies your support" for a political candidate. Concerned students turned to FIRE for help.
- "FIRE letter to Grambling State University President Frank G. Pogue, September 1, 2010," September 1, 2010
- "Grambling State University E-mail to Students, July 13, 2010," July 13, 2010
- "FIRE Releases Statement on Political Activity on Campus for 2012 Election Season, Following Censorship at Grambling State University and Other Colleges," by Azhar Majeed, November 9, 2011
- "Adam Kissel Discusses Grambling State's First Amendment Violations with The Pelican Institute," by Peter Bonilla, October 20, 2010
- "Will Grambling State Respect Free Speech in Time to Make a Difference this Election Season?," by Peter Bonilla, October 15, 2010
- "Speech Code of the Month: Grambling State University," by Adam Kissel, October 4, 2010: FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for October 2010: Grambling State University (GSU). GSU has an e-mail policy that bans "the creation or distribution of any disruptive or offensive messages, including offensive comments about race, gender, hair color, disabilities, age, sexual orientation, pornography, religious beliefs and practice, political beliefs, or national origin." This policy relies on impermissibly vague and overbroad formulations—namely, prohibiting "disruptive" or "offensive" speech—that could, in application, mean virtually anything. Under this policy, faculty members cannot feel safe from punishment if they discuss some of the hottest debates in society today involving controversial matters of race, gender, religion, politics, and so on. Yet, most speech that a listener would find offensive is nonetheless constitutionally protected.
- "Media Spotlight Intensifies on Grambling State University," by Peter Bonilla, September 23, 2010
- "FIRE and ACLU of Louisiana Release Joint Statement on Grambling State University's Violations of First Amendment," by Peter Bonilla, September 22, 2010
- "Grambling State University Bans Use of E-Mail for Core Political Expression ," by Azhar Majeed, September 16, 2010
- "Complaints filed over GSU e-mails,"
by Stephen Largen, thenewsstar.com, September 23, 2010
- "Free-Speech Advocates Challenge E-Mail Policies at Grambling State,"
by Peter Schmidt, The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 22, 2010
- "Grambling State University Bans Political E-Mails, Cites State Law,"
by Stephen Clark, FOXNews.com, September 22, 2010
- "University bans political e-mails,"
by Bob Unruh, WorldNetDaily, September 21, 2010