Texas A&M University - College Station
A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.
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On this page, FIRE has excerpted policies that address speech and expression. You may download the full policy in .pdf form, below.
Restrictions on Expressive Rights
Harassment Policies (Learn More)
Student Rules: Racial and Ethnic Harassment 13-14
The offensive conduct underlying some incidents might be protected speech, but may still be in contradiction to Texas A&M University’s commitment to civility, diversity, academic freedom, equality of opportunity and the valuing of human dignity. In these instances, constitutional rights will continue to be protected, but University staff will also exercise their right to speak and engage in educational dialogue with those engaged in these types of behaviors.
Racial and Ethnic Harassment is discrimination based on race, color, or national origin and involves behavior that is so severe and pervasive and objectively offensive so as to interfere with or limit the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by Texas A&M University. ... To rise to the level of Racial and Ethnic Harassment, behaviors must include something beyond the mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some person finds offensive. The conduct must also be sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the educational program and/or experience.
View full policy (PDF, 70 KB).
Student Rules: Sexual Harassment 13-14
Prohibited acts that constitute sexual harassment may take a variety of forms. Examples of the kinds of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: Repeated unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations, solicitations and flirtations. ... Repeated and pervasive unwelcome verbal expressions of a sexual nature, including graphic sexual commentaries about a person's body, dress, appearance or sexual activities; the unwelcome use of sexually degrading language, jokes or innuendoes; unwelcome suggestive or insulting sounds or whistles; obscene gestures. ...
Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature, submission to which is made a condition of a person's exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, either explicitly or implicitly.
View full policy (PDF, 99 KB).
Sexual harassment occurs when a person is the recipient of conduct of a sexual nature where: ... Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's welfare, academic or work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive or demeaning education (including co-curricular activities) or work environment.
Student Rules: Student Conduct Code 13-14
Behavior that is severe, pervasive or persistent to a degree that a reasonable person similarly situated would be prevented from accessing an educational opportunity or benefit. This behavior includes, but is not limited to, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, and coercion. In addition, harassment may be conducted by a variety of mediums, including but not limited to, physical, verbal, graphic, written, or electronic.
View full policy (PDF, 124 KB).
Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility (Learn More)
System Policies: Student Rights and Obligations 13-14
The rights of students are to be respected. These rights include respect for personal feelings, freedom from indignity of any type, freedom from control by any person except as may be in accord with published rules of the academic institutions, and conditions allowing them to make the best use of their time and talents toward the objectives which brought them to the institutions. No officer or student, regardless of position or rank, shall violate those rights; no custom, tradition or rule in conflict will be allowed to prevail.
View full policy (PDF, 73 KB).
Free Speech Zones
Student Rules: Rules on Freedom of Expression 13-14
Rudder Fountain Area, Lawrence Sullivan Ross Statue Area, and the West Mall Area are designated free speech areas and will be reserved at the request of students and non-students for expressive activity. The act of confirming a reservation will ensure the availability of space. ... In an effort to ensure safety and to promote an environment conducive to study, advanced reservation for expressive activity is required (in the form of an approved Reservation Request for Space) for events or activities that are promoted in advance, and/or sponsored by student organizations, and/or expected to draw a crowd of more than 25 people.
As a public institution of higher learning, Texas A&M University provides forums for the expression of ideas and opinions. These include:
View full policy (PDF, 90 KB).
* Traditional public forums include the University's public streets, sidewalks, parks, and similar common areas. These areas are generally available for expressive activity, planned or spontaneous, for the individual or small groups (generally where a crowd of 25 or less will be present, and/or where an event is not promoted in advance, and/or when an event is not sponsored by a student organization) at any time without the need for reservation, or prior approval.
Internet Usage Policies
Student Rules: Individual Responsibility for Use of Computing Resources and Facilities 13-14
* Respect the forum (talk groups, bulletin boards, public computing facilities) when communicating ideas to others via university computing facilities and resources (includes access to the Internet). All communications should reflect high ethical standards and mutual respect and civility.
View full policy (PDF, 75 KB).
Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
Stop Hate 13-14
Too often, acts of hate and bias go unreported for a number of reasons ranging from a lack of trust to fear of reprisal. Some events, like racial epithets written on bathroom walls, are occasionally dismissed as too trivial to report. However, research suggests that these types of events tend to build into much bigger ones. Furthermore, they create a hostile, unsafe, and unwelcoming climate for the people they target and do damage to our community as a whole.
Bias/hate related events are those actions or behaviors committed that involve the intentional selection of a victim based on their membership in a group identified by race, ethnicity, disability, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, gender, or sexual orientation.
Hate/Bias Report Form ... Name is optional. (If you are reporting anonymously, please note that Texas A&M University officials may not be able to take action.)
Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
Student Rules: Students' Rights and Responsibilities 13-14
A student shall have the right to participate in a free exchange of ideas, and there shall be no university rule or administrative rule that in any way abridges the rights of freedom of speech, expression, petition and peaceful assembly as set forth in the U.S. Constitution.
View full policy (PDF, 58 KB).
Student Rules: Basic Rules and Procedures Governing Student Life 13-14
The student retains the rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the United States ....
View full policy (PDF, 72 KB).
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The speech codes and policies above were last fully checked via internet and other research means by FIRE in December 2013. According to FIRE’s research the substantive policies are current at least until this date. Directory information, including the name of the president of the college or university, may have been updated more recently. If any policy has been revised, or if you believe that we are in error, please contact us.