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Virginia State Forbids Student Groups From Violating ‘Public Morals’

Virginia State Forbids Student Groups From Violating ‘Public Morals’

“is a public institution, fully bound by the First Amendment”

The school isn’t entirely clear on what this means. Perhaps that’s the point.

The College Fix reports:

State university forbids student groups from violating ‘public morals’

An official policy at a state university in Virginia prohibits student organizations and members from offending “public morals.” The university is refusing to clarify what that phrase means and how such morals might be violated.

Virginia State University’s student handbook states that, among “unacceptable” conduct from student groups and members is “disorderly conduct.” One of the school’s definitions of “disorderly conduct” is “behavior that…offends public morals.”

Virginia State University did not reply to any of The College Fix’s emails seeking comment on the policy. Phone calls to the school were not answered.

Ambiguous university policies have caused Virginia State University to be listed as a “yellow light institution” by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization which monitors and rates American colleges and universities regarding their protection of fundamental rights, particularly free speech rights. The rating indicates the university’s policies “could too easily be used to restrict protected expression,” according to the organization’s website.

In a phone interview, Azhad Majeed, vice president of policy reform at FIRE, told The College Fix that Virginia State University “is a public institution, fully bound by the First Amendment.”

“There’s really no room…for vague and unclear regulation of student expression,” he said.


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I taught at Virginia State as a visiting professor for a year, and it was one of the most fund teaching gigs I had. The students were there because they genuinely wanted to learn, and the faculty welcomed me with open arms. I was sad to leave there. The school has been plagued with mismanagement and poor leadership, but the students are what makes it terrific. Would go back to teach there in a heartbeat.