Grand Valley 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)
Anti-Harassment Policy 12-13
Harassment is unprofessional conduct that could reasonably be understood as (1) having the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, (2) having the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance or access to educational activities and programs, (3) otherwise adversely affecting an individual's employment opportunities or access to educational activities and programs.
Harassment on the basis of age, color, disability, familial status, height, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex/gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, or weight is considered a violation of university policy.
View full policy (PDF, 393 KB).
Anti-Harassment Policy 12-13
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when ... such conduct is unprofessional and has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment.
View full policy (PDF, 393 KB).
Affirmative Action: Frequently Asked Questions 12-13
Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: ... Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonable interfering with an individual's employment or academic performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or abusive environment for that individual's employment education, living environment, or participation in any college activity.
Some examples that may constitute sexual harassment are:
Repeated request or pressures for dates
Unwanted offensive contacts outside the workplace
Disparaging sexual remarks about one's gender or sexual orientation, that unreasonably interfere with the individual's learning or working.
Physical aggression such as pinching or patting
Verbal sexual abuse disguised as fun
Offensive sexual jokes
Sexual harassment, including same-sex sexual harassment, is any unwanted attention of a sexual nature from someone in the workplace or classroom that causes discomfort or interferes with work or academic performance.
View full policy (PDF, 280 KB).
Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility (Learn More)
Student Code: Rules and Regulations 11-12
No person shall engage in lewd, indecent or vulgar conduct or expression on University owned or controlled property or at University sponsored or supervised functions which substantially and materially disrupts or interferes with the rights of others, University discipline or normal University functions, or which causes substantial disorder.
No person shall engage in obscene conduct or
View full policy (PDF, 24 KB).
expression on University owned or controlled
property or at University sponsored or
Faculty Handbook: Faculty Responsibilities and Workload 12-13
In keeping with its
View full policy (PDF, 105 KB).
responsibility to provide a congenial atmosphere in which all students have an equal opportunity to
learn, the University disapproves of and seeks to eliminate discriminatory behavior directed against
individuals. Such behavior, which may take the form of statements, jokes, examples, and
illustrations that reveal stereotypic and discriminatory attitudes, is considered inappropriate.
Student Code: Rules and Regulations- Posting of Notices and Literature 11-12
All notices posted on bulletin boards shall not be lewd, indecent, vulgar, or obscene.
View full policy (PDF, 37 KB).
Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
Bias Incident Protocol 12-13
Bias incidents take many forms - words, signs, symbols, threats or actions - electronic or real time. They include intimidation, vandalism, destruction of property, harassment, and expressions of hate or hostility; they have an adverse impact on a learning environment that is inclusive of all. Bias incidents are distinguished in the following ways.
Bias incidents can cause alarm, anger, fear, or resentment in others or endanger the health, safety, or welfare of anyone in the university community. They are directed toward an individual or group because of their race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation, religion, familial status, marital status, disability, age, height, weight or veteran status.
Anytime you or anyone in the Grand Valley community feels belittled, disrespected, threatened, or
unsafe because of who you are, the entire university community is diminished. That’s why it’s
important to report all bias incidents-- even
those intended as jokes.
Investigation will begin promptly and will be directed by the appropriate office (Public Safety, Pew Campus Security, Human Resources, the Office of Inclusion and Equity, or another related office) and an investigative report will be generated.
View full policy (PDF, 233 KB).
Other Speech Codes
Student Code: Student Rights and Responsibilities- Speakers and Topics 11-12
[S]tudents and student organizations must take reasonable precautions for the safe and orderly conduct of speakers and the audience. Where a controversial speaker is likely to generate demonstrations from other student groups, the sponsoring organization must recognize the rights of other groups and consider the impact of inviting each speaker on the orderly and lawful functioning of the University.
View full policy (PDF, 36 KB).
Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
Student Code: Student Rights and Responsibilities 11-12
Students should be free to utilize their rights as citizens to the extent accorded any citizen of the United States.
Students collectively or individually should have the freedom to examine and discuss all questions that are of interest to them and to express opinion publicly as well as privately. They should always be free to support causes by orderly means.
View full policy (PDF, 91 KB).
Student Services Division: Context for Free Speech 12-13
Sometimes individuals or groups express ideas that upset others in the GVSU community. The question has been asked, why do we let this happen on our campus? Grand Valley is a public university that is obligated to uphold the tenants [sic] of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Additionally, a basic condition for achieving a liberal education includes freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas through open communication.
View full policy (PDF, 120 KB).
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The speech codes and policies above were last fully checked via internet and other research means by FIRE in September 2012. 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.