Western Michigan University

Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Website: http://www.wmich.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Western Michigan University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

This school does not have any cases at this time.

Red Light Policies

  • Student Code: Appendices- Western Michigan University Policy on Sexual Harassment 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual conduct which is related to any condition of employment or evaluation of student performance. This definition is intended to include more condition of employment or evaluation of student performance. This definition is intended to include more than overt advances toward actual sexual relations. It applies as well to repeated or unwarranted sex-related statements, unwelcome touching, sexually explicit comments, and/or graphics. All persons should be sensitive to situations that may affect or cause the recipient discomfort or humiliation or may display a condescending sex-based attitude towards a person.

    Conduct will be defined as sexual harassment when any or all three of the following conditions exist:
    1. The sex-related situations are unwelcome by the recipient.
    2. A specific or implied connection with employment or student status is involved.
    3. The sexual harassment continues after the recipient has made it clear that the conduct is
    unwelcome.

    » Read More

  • WMUnet Acceptable Use Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    You are NOT Allowed to use your connection to: … * Post or send obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, or offensive material.
    * Post or send material that is contrary to the mission or values of the University.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • RSO Handbook: Free Speech Area 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    As an open community, WMU protects freedom of expression and powerfully affirms civility. As such, all members of the University community and all those who visit our community are expected to respect the rights and dignity of others. In support of these principles and the marketplace of ideas, WMU has established the flagpoles as an area for outdoor expression.

    » Read More

  • Office of Student Conduct 13-14

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

    Because of these values, all individuals are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and civil manner in the University setting as well as in the community. Responsibility for fulfilling the obligations of the code of honor is shared by the students, faculty, and every other member of the University community.

    » Read More

  • Student Code: Proscribed Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to conduct sanctions … Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health, well-being, or safety of any
    person.

    » Read More

  • RSO Handbook: Flyer/Poster Posting Guidelines 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Organizations may post or distribute literature on University property. However, the University expects that poster and literature content will conform to established requirements and generally accepted standards of good taste.

    » Read More

  • RSO Handbook: Outdoor Space Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies

    Use of all outdoor space by requester must be registered with SALP 5 business days before an event or activity.

    » Read More

  • Student Code: Proscribed Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to conduct sanctions … Use of computing facilities to send obscene or abusive messages.

    » Read More

  • Student Code: Appendices- Posting/Distribution Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Students may not post or distribute literature on University premises except in designated areas and with appropriate University approval.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Colleges have free speech on the run

    November 30, 2012

     In 2007, Keith John Sampson, a middle-aged student working his way through Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis as a janitor, was declared guilty of racial harassment. Without granting Sampson a hearing, the university administration — acting as prosecutor, judge and jury — convicted him of “openly reading [a] book related to a historically and racially abhorrent subject.” “Openly.” “Related to.” Good grief. The book, “Notre Dame vs. the Klan,” celebrated the 1924 defeat of the Ku Klux Klan in a fight with Notre Dame students. But some of Sampson’s co-workers disliked the book’s cover, which featured a black-and-white photograph of a Klan […]

    » Read More
  • How Free Speech Died on Campus

    November 16, 2012

    At Yale University, you can be prevented from putting an F. Scott Fitzgerald quote on your T-shirt. At Tufts, you can be censured for quoting certain passages from the Quran. Welcome to the most authoritarian institution in America: the modern university—”a bizarre, parallel dimension,” as Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, calls it. Mr. Lukianoff, a 38-year-old Stanford Law grad, has spent the past decade fighting free-speech battles on college campuses. The latest was last week at Fordham University, where President Joseph McShane scolded College Republicans for the sin of inviting Ann Coulter to speak.  […]

    » Read More
  • Western Michigan University Bans Rapper, Burdens Free Expression

    April 18, 2014

    Have you ever been a participant in, or vocally supportive of, the “Occupy” movement? Have you ever spoken in favor of (or against) a controversial cause or idea? Is there something about you that is susceptible to being unreasonably interpreted as even mildly suspicious? If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative, good luck speaking your mind on Western Michigan University’s (WMU’s) campus—at least without the watchful gaze of law enforcement constantly surveilling you and your listeners.

    » Read More
  • ‘Speech Code of the Month’ in ‘The FIRE Quarterly’

    May 25, 2007

    As Torch readers know, each month, FIRE features a college or university with a particularly egregious speech code as its Speech Code of the Month. We use Speech Code of the Month to educate the public about the ever-present problem of speech codes on campus, but the feature also helps put public pressure on these schools to encourage revisions of these repressive policies. An article in our new issue of The FIRE Quarterly discusses the changes in policies FIRE has witnessed in four institutions that have been named Speech Code of the Month in the past. Since June 2005, Albertson […]

    » Read More
  • New Speech Code of the Month Website Feature

    April 13, 2007

    FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month program has been an important vehicle for change. Since June 2005, five universities—Albertson College of Idaho, the University of Nevada at Reno, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Jacksonville State University, and the University of Mississippi—have changed their policies after being named Speech Code of the Month. In addition, the president of Western Michigan University has stated that his institution will revise a policy that was named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for March 2007. Thanks to a new feature, visitors to FIRE’s website can now see our Speech Codes of the Month together […]

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  • Western Michigan University to Revise ‘Sexism’ Policy

    March 21, 2007

    Students at Western Michigan University (WMU) are freer today thanks to a concerned alumnus who wrote to an open-minded university president about an unlawful policy in place at the school. After FIRE named WMU’s sexism policy its March 2007 Speech Code of the Month, WMU alumnus Brian Akers wrote to WMU President Diether Haenicke to express his concern over the policy. Akers’ compelling and articulate letter is worth reprinting here in its entirety. Akers wrote: Dear Dr. Haenicke:   Please accept this note of interested concern from a WMU alumnus (B.A. 1979; M.A. 1981), regarding the WMU Sexual Harassment Policy, […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Western Michigan University

    March 1, 2007

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2007: Western Michigan University. Not content to merely prohibit sexual harassment, this public university actually bans “sexism,” which it defines as “the perception and treatment of any person, not as an individual, but as a member of a category based on sex.” The Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexism goes on to state that sexism, “[w]hether expressed in overt or subtle form such as sex-related jokes or materials,” will not “be tolerated at Western Michigan University.” It is bad enough that universities attempt to regulate what students can and cannot […]

    » Read More