Gonzaga University

Location: Spokane, Washington
Website: http://www.gonzaga.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Gonzaga University has been given the speech code rating Exempt. Exempt institutions are private universities that express clearly and consistently that they believe in a set of values above the commitment of free speech. Read more here.

  • Gonzaga University: Refusal to Recognize Christian Pro-Life Club

    November 24, 2003

    Two Christian student groups, The Christian Legal Society and The Christian Pro-Life Caucus, failed to gain recognition from Gonzaga Law School’s Student Bar Association (SBA). The Christian Pro-Life Law Caucus was rejected as an official student group last fall, when SBA president Albert Guadagno declared that the Christian group’s requirement that its leadership be Christian was “discriminatory.” Gonzaga University’s president, Father Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., failed to intervene on behalf of either group despite Gonzaga Law’s promise to be a “welcoming environment for students of all religious backgrounds or secular moral traditions.”

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  • Gonzaga University: Censorship of ‘Hate Speech’

    October 20, 2003

    Gonzaga University has reaffirmed the value of freedom of speech after unfairly disciplining a student group for posting fliers with allegedly “discriminatory” language. In response to a letter from FIRE, President Robert J. Spitzer agreed to rescind punishment of the Gonzaga College Republicans. The group had been disciplined after it posted fliers containing the word “hates” as part of the title of an upcoming speaker’s book: Why the Left Hates America.

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Not Rated Policies
  • Academic Freedom 06-07

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression, Statement

    Students are free to take reasoned exception to the views offered in particular courses of study. They may, however, be required to know thoroughly the particulars set out by the instructor, but are free to reserve personal judgment as to the truth or falsity of what is presented.

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  • Instructional Settings Harassment 06-07

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    Unprotected expressive behavior, other than that described in Definitions above, is subject to discipline.

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  • Student Handbook: Behavioral Expectations 08-09

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

    The participation in any activity that could lead to or cause a breach of the peace which causes a disruption to the community, either on or off campus, is not permitted. Examples include but are not limited to: ... Profane or vulgar language.

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  • Student Handbook: Sexual and Racial Harassment 08-09

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

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  • Student Handbook: Sexual and Racial Harassment 08-09

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies, Statement

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  • Ethos Statement: Five Principles of Student Conduct 08-09

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement

    Members
    of the campus community must act out of Christian charity and mutual respect to establish
    an atmosphere of trust, without which there is no community. Respect for others is founded
    upon observing reasonable community and societal standards of conduct and interaction.
    The effect of words and actions on third parties must also be considered. In an atmosphere
    of intellectual inquiry it is expected that students will be respectful and civil in discourse
    and discussion with those whose opinions they do not share. The University is particularly
    concerned that its members show respect for others regardless of race, creed, gender,
    disability, sexual orientation, or nationality and avoid all forms of offensive and harassing
    behavior.

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  • Student Handbook: Bias Incidents 08-09

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility, Statement

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  • Student Handbook: Events Policy 08-09

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, Statement

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  • Crosby Student Center: Publicity Policy 08-09

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes, Statement

    Any publicity material that is in violation of the Ethos Statement may not be permitted to be displayed on campus. Such violations are:

    Explicitly sexual messages
    Hate speech
    Glorification of alcohol/drug abuse
    Racist images or speech
    Nudity
    Profanity
    Disrespect for others
    Dishonesty
    Also, any publicity material that is exclusionary in nature against any group on Gonzaga's campus may or may not be approved for posting. Publicity materials that are strictly opinion pieces may or may not be approved.

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  • The Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, and the Pasadena Star-News on FIRE

    March 3, 2004

    Universities still do not comprehend that their contempt for free speech places them far, far outside of the mainstream of American public opinion. In particular, they seem continually surprised that the media, who live or die by the Bill of Rights, understand freedom of expression full well. The March 1 lead editorial of The Philadelphia Inquirer, an editorial in today’s USA Today, and yet another editorial in the Pasadena Star-News offer a compelling textbook education, if academic administrators are willing to listen, in the relationship of higher education and freedom of speech.

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  • Gonzaga University Denies Pro-Life Student Group Official Status

    December 24, 2003

    Gonzaga University, a leading Catholic college, has denied a pro-life student group official status, stating that a policy allowing only Christians to hold leadership positions was discriminatory. The Pro-Life Law Caucus was formed this past fall to promote the pro-life movement and to assist a crisis pregnancy center in Spokane. The 20 member club sought affiliation with the school, which would entitle them to money from student fees and mention on the University’s website and student handbook, as well as allow them to use “Gonzaga” in the club’s name. The Student Bar Association’s President Albert Guadagno affirmed that the groups […]

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  • Gonzaga Denies Official Status to Abortion Foes

    December 21, 2003

    If there were any place that would embrace her Christian, anti-abortion student club without hesitation, Ashley Horne figured it would be Gonzaga University, a 116-year-old Jesuit school in Spokane and one of the Northwest’s leading Catholic institutions. But to her surprise, Gonzaga’s Student Bar Association (SBA) has refused to recognize her Pro-Life Law Caucus as a university-sponsored group, ruling that the club would discriminate because only Christians can hold leadership positions in the organization. “We live in a strange age, indeed, when a Catholic, Jesuit university would deny a Christian pro-life group recognition because its religious nature is considered discriminatory,” […]

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  • University Revokes ‘Hate Speech’ Punishment

    November 26, 2003

    The president of Gonzaga University has rescinded punishment of the school’s College Republicans club, which was taken to task for posting fliers with the book title “Why the Left Hates America.” According to a statement from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, university President Robert J. Spitzer made the reversal after receiving a letter from the organization. “It is a dark day when universities in a free society start banning everyday words. In this context, it is especially bizarre. You can’t very well eradicate ‘hate’ – as some administrators claim they are determined to do – if you can’t […]

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  • The State of Free Speech on Campus: Pomona College

    February 25, 2013

    Today, FIRE brings you the next installment in our blog series on the state of free speech at America’s top 10 liberal arts colleges, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Up today: Pomona College, one of the five undergraduate colleges that are part of the Claremont Colleges consortium in California. Overall, Pomona College’s speech codes are not as restrictive as some of the other schools in this blog series. Further, it’s important to note that some of the more restrictive policies are not specific to Pomona but rather are applicable to all of the Claremont Colleges, meaning that it […]

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  • Don’t Say the Magic Word!

    October 8, 2008

    It seems like these days the worst speech offense just about anyone can commit is using an “epithet” to describe a person or group of people. Epithets are certainly unpleasant, and it’s not surprising that they often offend people. But increasingly, both on campus and off, we are hearing about cases in which those who utter “offensive” words are pilloried, no matter the context, in ways that seem to defy reason. I submit that this implies something truly bizarre for an American university in 2008: people believe that these words are magic. I’ve got evidence. Consider the case of Professor […]

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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Silly

    October 18, 2006

    As a free speech organization, we see pretty much every type of censorship out there. People are frequently censored at colleges and universities for engaging in controversial political speech. Other times, people are censored for engaging in speech that is crude and repugnant, but that is wholly protected. And then there are times that people seem to be censored for no reason at all. Today’s case at Marquette University is one of those instances. In the spirit of levity, here are a few more of the silliest instances of censorship we’ve seen here at FIRE:  Gonzaga University tried to punish […]

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  • File Under ‘See No Evil’

    August 3, 2005

    Terry Caesar penned a column Monday on Inside Higher Ed lamenting the chilling effect speech codes have on professorial humor. Citing one of FIRE’s favorite examples, the former speech code at the University of Connecticut, he wrote: To relate an official response to some example of a joke, or even an unintended joke, on American campuses today is itself to appear to be telling a joke. Yet everybody knows speech codes that ban “inappropriately directed laughter” (say) are no joke. It’s not clear to me if a professor can be held accountable for a student who spontaneously tells a joke […]

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  • Prof sails against liberal tide

    April 17, 2005

    WILMINGTON — The door to the office of Mike Adams, associate professor of criminal justice at UNC-Wilmington, seems more like a window into his soul. The bumper stickers, fliers, advertisements, printouts and photographs attached to the door provide a vivid sociopolitical view of the office’s occupant.Can’t feed ‘em, Don’t breed ‘emEvery fourth baby dies from ChoiceStraight white male — The final minoritySo you’re a feminist. Isn’t that cuteThe door is so cluttered that its earlier decorations have been all but covered — most notably the sign declaring Adams’ office to be the campus “Men’s Resource Center.” The center’s mission, Adams […]

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  • Academic freedom ever important

    April 11, 2005

    Besides really irritating a lot of people, University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill’s essay on the causes of the World Trade Center attacks has put a media spotlight on the issue of freedom of expression on college campuses. This in itself is a very good thing. Whatever one’s opinion of the content of Churchill’s essay (and some of the logic does sound highly suspect to me), he was well within his rights to release a controversial analysis of the attacks into the academic community. This ability to participate in an unrestricted exchange of ideas is called academic freedom, and it […]

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  • God and Man at Gonzaga

    February 22, 2005

    Recently, I received a letter from two third-year law students at Gonzaga University (GU) School of Law.  The students described your law school as one that is “secular” and which fraudulently holds itself out to be Catholic. They also stated they had experienced first-hand the school’s trampling of the rights of Christian students.  Specifically, they accused GU of violating the rights of their first Christian pro-life group. As a preliminary matter, I understand that your “Catholic” law school has the words of Matthew 22:35-38 emblazoned on one of its walls:  “One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to […]

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  • UC Santa Barbara’s Unlikely Claims

    February 8, 2005

    Last week the University of California at Santa Barbara capitulated in its attempt to force the owner of a site called thedarksideofucsb.com to remove the initials “UCSB” on its site. This is a remarkable case for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it highlights the trend of using intellectual property law as a tool for silencing criticism. Obviously, it would be hard to criticize an organization or institution if you couldn’t say its name! “Man, I think BLANK is corrupt. You know who I mean by BLANK, correct?” just isn’t a very effective way to dissent. […]

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  • No Myth: Conservatives in Academia Suffer Discrimination

    October 15, 2004

    In a recent Sun column, (“Reclaim Your Victimhood,” Sept. 24), Danny Pearlstein, skeptical of the notion that conservatives in academia suffer discrimination, challenged conservatives “to send me concrete instances” of such. As the French would say, “chiche!” — dare accepted. Pearlstein’s challenge was, at least from his perspective, ill-timed. For within 48 hours came a glaring example of anti-conservative discrimination at Cornell, courtesy of the Student Assembly(SA): The SA’s blatantly political attempt to defund The Cornell American, one of the very few conservative student groups on campus. The attempted defunding was done in reliance on a newly-adopted, ex post facto […]

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  • Practical Advice for Fraternities Caught in the Battle for Free Speech on Campus

    September 16, 2004

    I. Introduction While there is no shortage of free speech battles on college campuses, fraternities have the dubious honor of being at the center of many of the least sympathetic controversies. From Halloween parties where brothers show up dressed as Ku Klux Klan members to fraternity newsletters that graphically relate a brother’s sexual exploits with named co-eds, fraternities sometimes express themselves in ways that are not exactly likely to win the battle for hearts and minds. However, although fraternities may later regret the actions of some of their brothers, they must not allow their rights to be stripped away by […]

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  • Gonzaga Law School Denies Another Christian Group Recognition

    March 15, 2004

    A Catholic law school in Washington State is being accused of stifling religious freedom by rejecting yet another Christian student group on campus. Despite its professed commitment to be “a welcoming environment for students of all religious backgrounds,” Gonzaga University Law School has denied recognition to the Christian Legal Society. The law school’s Student Bar Association claims the Christian group’s requirement that its leadership be Christian is “discriminatory.”   But Greg Lukianoff with Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says such an argument flies in the face of Supreme Court jurisprudence. He believes the Student Bar Association is violating […]

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  • Catholic school rejects Christian Group

    March 11, 2004

    A private Catholic law school’s Student Bar Association has rejected two Christian groups on campus because it considers a requirement that leadership be Christian “discriminatory.” The Spokane, Wash., Jesuit school’s SBA won’t recognize the local chapter of the Christian Legal Society and last fall it also rejected the Christian Pro-Life Caucus, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, a group promoting religious liberty on campuses. FIRE says Gonzaga University’s president, the Rev. Robert J. Spitzer, has not intervened on behalf of either group despite the law school’s promise to be a “welcoming environment for students of […]

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  • Gonzaga Law School Rejects Yet Another Christian Group

    March 10, 2004

    SPOKANE , WA—Since the fall of 2003, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has been defending the Christian Pro-Life Caucus at Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane, Washington. It now has come to light that yet another Christian group, the Christian Legal Society, also failed to gain recognition from the law school’s Student Bar Association (SBA). The Christian Pro-Life Law Caucus was rejected as an official student group last fall, when SBA president Albert Guadagno declared that the Christian group’s requirement that its leadership be Christian was “discriminatory.” Gonzaga University’s president, Father Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., has […]

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  • Jesuit College Bars Pro-life Group for “Bias

    December 23, 2003

    The Gonzaga School of Law, a Jesuit college in Washington state, refuses to recognize a student pro-life group that requires its leaders be Christians, saying the religious restriction is discriminatory. “Why not allow a Jewish, Muslim or nonreligious student to be head of the caucus, when they could be equally concerned about pro-life issues as a Christian student?” Gonzaga spokesman Dale Goodwin said in a telephone interview yesterday. The law school administration’s decision not to recognize Gonzaga Pro-Life Caucus, which prevents the group from meeting on campus and applying for funding, was prompted by the Student Bar Association (SBA). It […]

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  • Gonzaga Won’t Recognize Anti-Abortion Club

    December 22, 2003

    SPOKANE – Law student Ashley Horne never thought her club for abortion opponents would be rejected by Gonzaga University, a leading Northwest Catholic institution. But the school’s Student Bar Association this fall refused to recognize her Pro-Life Law Caucus as a university-sponsored group, ruling that a policy allowing only Christians to hold leadership positions was a form of discrimination. “We live in a strange age, indeed, when a Catholic, Jesuit university would deny a Christian pro-life group recognition because its religious nature is considered discriminatory,” said Greg Lukianoff, spokesman for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in Philadelphia, a […]

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  • Gonzaga Law School Bans Christian Pro-Life Group, Calling Christian Leadership Requirement ‘Discriminatory’

    December 22, 2003

    SPOKANE, WA— Gonzaga University’s president, Father Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., has permitted the School of Law’s Student Bar Association (SBA) to refuse to recognize a Christian student organization. According to the SBA, the Gonzaga Pro-Life Law Caucus’s requirement that its leadership be Christian is “discriminatory.” “We live in a strange age, indeed, when a Catholic, Jesuit university would deny a Christian pro-life group recognition because its religious nature is considered ‘discriminatory,’” said Greg Lukianoff, director of legal and public advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). “It is sad enough when secular institutions do not recognize the […]

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