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The First Amendment

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is only 45 words long, yet it protects our most basic freedoms. It reads in full:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

“But, above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.”

—Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley (1972)


Q: What does the First Amendment protect?

Q: Does the First Amendment protect civil disobedience on campus?

Q: What is hate speech, and is it illegal?

Q: What is academic freedom?

Q: When does speech become harassment?

Q: Is speech on the internet and social media entitled to the same level of protection as speech in print and other media?


The following external links are not endorsed by the University, but serve as a collection of potential resources for further exploration.

Laws and Policies

U.S Constitution

"Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech..." -Amendment I

"No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States." -Amendemnt XIV, Section 1

State of Idaho Constitution 

"Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty." -Article I, Section 9


University Policy and Procedures

Student Conduct Code

Idaho State University has established regulations and policies for student conduct that support the core educational mission of the University, students and student groups and/or organizations. The following conduct violates our university community standards and subjects a student, or a student group/organization to sanctions under the Student Conduct Code. The following conduct is prohibited:

  • Article III
    • Section B Disruptive or Obstructive Actions or Activities
    • Section C Disruptive Behavior During Instruction & Educational Activities
    • Section D Disorderly and/or Irresponsible Conduct
    • Section G Failure to Comply with Directions of University Officials
    • Section J Physical Abuse
    • Section K Intimidation
    • Section L Threats
    • Section P Discrimination-includes actualr or perceived-includes reference to individuals membership ina protected class-does not include prenancy related conditions.