University of Washington

Location: Seattle, Washington
Website: http://www.washington.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Washington has been given the speech code rating Yellow. Yellow light colleges and universities are those institutions with at least one ambiguous policy that too easily encourages administrative abuse and arbitrary application. Read more here.

This school does not have any cases at this time.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Presidential Orders: Non-discrimination and Affirmative Action 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment is a form of harassment based on the recipient’s sex that is characterized by: … Unwelcome and unsolicited language or conduct that is of a sexual nature or that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance.

    » Read More

  • Student Activities Office Policy Guide: Handbill Distribution 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Non-commercial handbills, leaflets, and similar materials may be distributed by regularly enrolled students,
    and by University personnel in public areas or areas outside University buildings, and in meeting rooms that
    have been reserved for their use, so long as such distribution does not materially or substantially interfere
    with the conduct of University functions or the freedom of movement. Such materials must bear identification as to the student organization responsible for its distribution.

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  • Housing and Food Services: Options and Resources for Victims of Bias-related Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    Bias-related conduct is behavior that by intent, action and/or outcome harms or threatens to harm a person or group. Such behavior is usually motivated by prejudice toward a person or group because of factors such as race, religion, ethnicity, disability, national origin, age, gender or sexual orientation.

    Examples of Bias-related Harassment or Discrimination

    • An individual directs demeaning or derogatory statements to you personally on the basis of your race, religion, ethnicity, disability, national origin, age, gender or sexual orientation.
    • Students confront you using racial epithets and threaten you with physical violence.
    • You receive harassing or threatening calls, mail or other communication based on your religion or nationality.

    Some Examples of Bias-related Conduct

    • A form of bias-related conduct is referred to as hate speech. Hate speech can be defined as the use of expressions that are insensitive, demeaning or hostile in nature, but do not rise to the level of harassment. Although such expressions betray the UW’s ideal of a campus community committed to honor and respect, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution may protect expressions of this nature.
    • Telling jokes that are demeaning to a particular subgroup classification (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, race or religion).
    • Holding a date or “slave” auction.
    • Performing a skit in which participants use blackface or other ethnic group makeup.
    • Posting fliers that contain demeaning language.

    » Read More

  • Residence Hall System Community Standards 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    I will not use language or engage in other behavior that is threatening, abusive or harmful and that is directed towards anyone including, but not limited to, University staff, other students or guests.

    I will not participate in any action or situation involving physical or mental abuse, harassment, bullying, cyber-bullying, intimidation, hazing, pranks and/or other conduct that recklessly or intentionally endangers or threatens the health, safety or welfare of any person or results in damage to University property.

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Green Light Policies
  • Presidential Orders: Non-discrimination and Affirmative Action 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Harassment is conduct directed at a person because of the person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or military status that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that:

    1) It could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment, or

    2) It has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance. Harassment is a form of discrimination.

    » Read More


  • Student Government at U. of Washington Unanimously Passes Free Speech Resolution

    December 4, 2013

    On November 26, all 100 members of the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), the university’s student government, voted for the passage of a resolution supporting students’ right of free speech. The unanimous resolution (PDF) reads in part: WHEREAS, roughly 1 in 6 of America’s top colleges have so-called “free speech zones,” defined here as a space into which a college reserves the right to restrict speech or assembly activities, frequently characterized by limited use, limited area, and the need for pre-registration; and WHEREAS, the UW administration in recent years has been both supportive and considerate of the free speech […]

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  • Do School Admins Need to Have a Thicker Skin for Discussion of Social Issues?

    December 3, 2013

    I have to admit, I am tempted to have the text of this blog entry consist of the word “yes” and then head home for the day. A thick skin seems so self-evidently critical to the functioning of a free and democratic society that it’s hard to believe people need to be reminded of it. Yet they do, and among those most in need of a dermatological toughening are administrators at our nation’s high schools (and colleges). Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) brings to our attention a new joint report on civic education from Stanford University and the […]

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