The College Fix reports that the Mississippi ACLU has taken issue with certain rules at Delta State University.
Policy 27 of Delta State University’s “Student Regulations” states that “words, behavior, and/or actions which inflict mental or emotional distress on others and/or disrupt the educational environment at Delta State University” could possibly “subject violators to appropriate disciplinary action, including suspension and expulsion.”
Expulsion for words that “inflict mental or emotional distress”? That’s a bit extreme, not to mention unconstitutional.
Zakiya Summers, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi American Civil Liberties Union, said that the organization’s legal team had determined that the policy might be unconstitutional.
“In addition to Policy 27, Policies 4, 16, and 18 raise First Amendment concerns. They are over-broad and vague and could restrict protected speech,” Summers told The Fix.
Given that the ACLU has been open in the limits of its concern over First Amendment rights of late, this gave me pause to check out Delta State’s policies.
1. The use and/or possession of illegal drugs or narcotics. Violation of this regulation will result in automatic suspension from the residence hall, as well as other disciplinary actions.2. The possession, consumption, and/or sale of alcoholic beverages or public drunkenness on campus, in university living units, or at university sponsored functions on the campus of Delta State University. Violators will be subject to having any or all contraband confiscated. Violation of this regulation will result in one or more of the following for a first offense: probation up to six months, assigned work up to ten hours or the equivalent in counseling, and a fine of no less than $25.00 and no more than $50.00. If necessary, violation may be subject to prosecution to the fullest extent of the law.3. Unauthorized entry by members of opposite sex into residence hall.4. Participation in a riot, raid, or unauthorized demonstration or refusing to leave the scene of a riot, raid, or other unauthorized demonstration when ordered to do so by an authorized official.5. Refusing to show University identification card when requested by proper authority. Students are responsible for having their I.D. cards in their possession at any time they are outside their place of residence.6. Failure to meet financial responsibility to the University.7. Use and/or possession of firearms, ammunition, explosives, fireworks, or other lethal weapons on campus.8. Gambling in any form.9. Plagiarism, cheating, or knowingly furnishing false/and/or misleading information to the University or other similar forms of dishonesty in University related affairs.10. Forgery, alteration, destruction or misuse of University documents, records, identification, or telephone access codes.11. Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administrative activity, disciplinary procedures, or other authorized activities on University premises.12. Physical or verbal abuse of any person or conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any such person.13. Theft, arson, or damage, to property of the University and/or leased from an outside agency, or a member of the University community or campus visitor.14. Unauthorized use of University facilities, including entry or exit doors.15. Unauthorized or illegal use of the University computer system.16. Disorderly, lewd, indecent, or obscene conduct or language. This includes, but is not limited to, music lyrics when such music is played loud enough to be heard by other residence hall students or by pedestrians if played by a car or portable sound system.17. Refusal to respond to a request to report to a University administrative office and/or failure to comply with directions of duly authorized University officials acting in the performance of their duties.18. Inciting others to violate written University policies and regulations.19. Unauthorized sales and solicitations on the Delta State campus.20. Use of a residence hall room or phone for soliciting or conducting business.21. Conduct which is in violation of local, state, and federal laws.22. Damage or misuse any fire detection equipment or initiation of a false fire alarm. Violators will be suspended from University Residence Halls, face other disciplinary actions and, and may be subjected to criminal charges.23. Students are responsible for the actions of their guests on campus. All visitors on our campus will abide by Delta State University rules and regulations24. Misuse of any student I.D. card. Any student using an I.D. card other than his/her own or loaning his/her I.D. card to another for the purpose of gaining admittance into the cafeteria or any other University functions will have his/her I.D. card confiscated and will be assessed a $10.00 fine as well as possibly face other disciplinary actions . Students are responsible for the use/misuse of their identification cards.25. Failure to abide by Residence Hall Code and all Housing policies26. Harassment of another individual. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, impeding another persistently, or to wrong or bother another persistently. It also includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, impeding another persistently, or to wrong or bother another persistently. It also includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment.27. Words, behavior, and/or actions which inflict mental or emotional distress on others and/or disrupt the educational environment at Delta State University.28. Stalking of another individual. Stalking is defined as willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly following or harassing another person, or making a credible threat, with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury.
Whether these policies reflect college norms in general or are peculiar to Delta State is unclear. But no alcohol on campus (Policy 2)? No gambling “in any form” (Policy 8)? No “unauthorized entry by members of the opposite(?) sex”?
It may be that my memories of college are colored by time and the burdens of adulthood, but as I recall, college was great fun. Then again, I didn’t have some school marm with a yardstick standing over me the whole time. These rules don’t sound like very much fun at all, even if they make for a safe environment. No wonder kids are so miserable.