Western Washington University

Location: Bellingham, Washington
Website: http://www.wwu.edu
Type: No Type Yet
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

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  • Western Washington University: Student Investigated Over Parking Ticket Remark

    October 21, 2011

    After receiving a parking ticket from WWU’s Parking Services Division in September 2011, student Jacob Ramirez sent in his payment via personal check, writing “F— the Police” on both the check and the ticket. Two weeks later, WWU notified him that he was being investigated for a possible violation of WWU’s Student Rights and Responsibilities Code, alleging that his message constituted an “unwanted and/or intimidating contact and/or communication of a threatening nature.” After FIRE reminded WWU of its obligation to protect Ramirez’s free speech rights, WWU closed its investigation and apologized to Ramirez, acknowledging that it was “inappropriate” to use […]

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  • WWU Admits Error in Using Student Code to Investigate Protected Speech

    November 1, 2011

    FIRE likes to give credit where it’s due when a university is forthright about errors it made in violating the rights of students. While we already commended Western Washington University last week for quickly doing the right thing and ending its investigation of student Jacob Ramirez, WWU’s official response to FIRE deserves its own additional praise. That’s because it makes an important point: Universities must not use their disciplinary codes as tools to summon students to account for their protected speech. If you’re not familiar with Ramirez’s case, here’s what happened. Jacob Ramirez found himself in trouble with WWU due to his response to being […]

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  • Victory: Western Washington University Drops Investigation of Student Over Parking Ticket Remark

    October 27, 2011

    Western Washington University (WWU) student Jacob Ramirez recently found out he was the subject of a university investigation due to a comment he wrote on a parking ticket he received. After FIRE intervened, WWU quickly backtracked, dropping the case and clearing the student’s record. Jacob Ramirez’s case began around September 30, when he was issued a ticket and $25 fine by WWU’s Parking Services department. Annoyed, Ramirez paid the ticket with a personal check and, on both the check and the returned parking ticket, wrote the phrase “Fuck the Police”—a thought that at least in general terms has most likely […]

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  • Are Pictures of Abortion ‘Hate Speech?’

    May 11, 2006

    Last week, Phi Beta Cons noted a story in the Bellingham (Wash.) Herald describing yet another instance of vandalism of a pro-life display. According to the Herald, Western Washington University student David Janus Zhang was so enraged by a “display showing pictures of aborted fetuses next to images of genocide” that he jumped over a fence and tried to destroy it. Zhang inflicted $2,700 worth of damage in the course of what a university police officer called “a rampage.” He was arrested and jailed; he now faces charges of malicious mischief and disorderly conduct charges.   Now, in response to […]

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