Iowa State University
A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.
Do you have any information, updates, or changes regarding the policies at this institution? Let us know!
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)
Policy Library: Discrimination and Harassment 12-13
Iowa State University also prohibits harassment, which can be a form of discrimination if it is unwelcome and is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to substantially interfere with a person's work or education. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, threats, physical contact or violence, pranks, jokes, epithets, derogatory comments, vandalism, or verbal, graphic, or written conduct directed at an individual or individuals because of their race, ethnicity, sex, pregnancy, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or U.S. veteran status. Even if actions are not directed at specific persons, a hostile environment may be created when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to unreasonably interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to work, study, or otherwise to participate in activities of the university.
While grounded in state and federal non-discrimination laws, this policy may cover those activities which, although not severe, persistent, or pervasive enough to meet the legal definition of harassment, are inappropriate and unjustified in an educational or work environment.
[Sexual harassment] can range from unwelcome sexual flirtations and inappropriate put-downs of individual persons or classes of people to serious physical abuses such as sexual assault. Examples could include, but are not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances; repeated and unwelcome sexually-oriented kidding, teasing, joking, or flirting; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual's body, sexual prowess, or sexual deficiencies; derogatory or demeaning comments about women or men in general, whether sexual or not; leering, touching, pinching, or brushing against another's body; or displaying objects or pictures, including electronic images, which are sexual in nature and which create a hostile or offensive work, education, or living environment.
View full policy (PDF, 420 KB).
Policy Library: Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Harassment Involving Students 12-13
Examples can include persistent efforts to develop a sexual relationship; bullying/cyber-bullying of a sexual nature or for a sexual purpose; unwelcome commentary about an individual's body or sexual activities; unwanted sexual attention; repeated and unwelcome sexually-oriented teasing, joking or flirting; verbal abuse of a sexual nature. Comments or communications could be verbal, written or electronic.
Sexual harassment can include unwelcome behavior (verbal, written, physical) that is directed at someone because of that person's sex or gender, and that meets either of the following criteria: ... The behavior creates a hostile, intimidating or demeaning environment that is sufficiently severe, pervasive and objectively offensive to substantially interfere with or deny participation in a student's educational activities and benefits or employment opportunities.
View full policy (PDF, 531 KB).
Policy Library: Student Disciplinary Regulations- Harassment and Discriminatory Harassment 12-13
Discriminatory Harassment, as defined by the university's Discrimination and Harassment policy, is prohibited. Discriminatory harassment is unwelcome behavior directed at an individual or group of individuals based on race, ethnicity, pregnancy, color, religion, national origin, physical or mental disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran (disabled, Vietnam, or other), or other protected class when the behavior has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the student's education or employment by creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment.
View full policy (PDF, 1627 KB).
1. Examples can include but are not limited to threats, physical contact or violence, pranks, jokes, bullying, epithets, derogatory comments, vandalism, or verbal, graphic, written, or electronic conduct directed at an individual or group of individuals because of a protected class. Even if actions are not directed at specific individuals, a hostile environment may be created when the behavior is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive so as to substantially interfere with or limit the ability of an individual to work, study, or otherwise to participate in activities of the university.
2. Engaging in First Amendment protected speech activities may not rise to the level of harassment, depending on the circumstances.
Free Speech Zones
Policy Library: Facilities and Grounds Use, Activities 12-13
Organizations and groups of persons wishing to use outdoor areas other than a designated public forum for a public event must file a notice of intent to use an area with the Student Activities Center. If possible, such notice should be filed at least twenty-four hours in advance of the event, but in any case must be given at least three hours prior to the event. No approval is necessary if the event meets the following criteria: ... For events held on weekdays between the hours of 8:00a.m. and 4:00 p.m., the event will be held at least one hundred feet away from buildings that normally hold classes .... A public event not at an open forum area, which does not meet the above criteria, requires prior approval by filing an Event Authorization Form with the Student Activities Center at least three business days in advance of the proposed event.
The Edward S. Allen Area of Free Debate, located west and south of the Hub, and the area south of the Campanile have been designated as public forums for non-commercial expression. If these areas have not been reserved for use for university purposes or by student, faculty or staff organizations, any member of the public or of the university community may use these areas for expressive activities on a first come, first served basis.
View full policy (PDF, 390 KB).
Internet Usage Policies
Policy Library: Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources 12-13
Some key prohibitions include:
View full policy (PDF, 264 KB).
* Sending unsolicited e-mail messages, including the sending of "junk mail" or other advertising material to individuals who did not specifically request such material, except as approved under the Mass E-Mail Policy and Effective Electronic Communication.
* Engaging in harassment via e-mail, telephone, or paging, whether through language, frequency, or size of messages.
Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
Policy Library: Student Disciplinary Regulations- Student Rights and Responsibilities 12-13
Students have certain rights as members of the university community in addition to those constitutional and statutory rights and privileges inherent from the State of Iowa and the United States of America, and nothing in this document shall be construed so as to limit or abridge students' constitutional rights.
View full policy (PDF, 1627 KB).
Policy Library: Student Disciplinary Regulations- Statement of Philosophy 12-13
Iowa State University is an institution that encourages the intellectual and personal growth of its students as scholars and citizens. As an educational institution, the university recognizes that the transmission of knowledge, the pursuit of truth, and the development of individuals require the free exchange of ideas, self-expression, and the challenging of beliefs and customs.
View full policy (PDF, 1627 KB).
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The speech codes and policies above were last fully checked via internet and other research means by FIRE in February 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.