Westfield State University

Location: Westfield, Massachusetts
Website: http://www.westfield.ma.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Westfield State 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

  • Racism 13-14

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

    Westfield State University prohibits all forms of racism or cultural intolerance. This policy proscribes all conditions and all actions or omissions, including all acts of verbal harassment or abuse, which deny or have the effect of denying to anyone his/her rights to equity, dignity, and security on the basis of his/her race or color. This policy reaffirms the doctrine of civility, appreciation for cultural/racial pluralism and the pre-eminence of individual human dignity as preconditions to the achievement of an academic community which recognizes and utilizes the resources of all persons.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Life Policies- Anti-Bullying, Mobbing, and Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies

    Bullying consists of abusive conduct relative to acts, omissions, or both, that a reasonable person would find hostile, based on the severity, nature, and frequency of the conduct and without regard to the method of delivery, such as verbal, written or electronic. Abusive conduct may include, but is not limited to: repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults, and epithets; verbal or physical conduct of a threatening, intimidating, or humiliating nature; the sabotage or undermining of an individual’s work performance; or attempts to exploit an individual’s known psychological or physical vulnerability. A single act normally will not constitute abusive conduct, but an especially severe and egregious act may meet the standard.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Student Life Policies- Residence Hall Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Posting Policies

    Individuals and groups wishing to advertise events or services that may be of interest to on-campus residents should contact the Office of Residential Life for permission. The Executive Director of Residential Life (or designee) reserves the right to refuse permission to advertise for those events or services that promote the use of alcohol or are insensitive to members of the campus community. Approved items will be then posted in the halls by the Residential Life staff in appropriate areas.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Student Life Policies- Sexual Misconduct Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome verbal, non-verbal and/or physical behavior of a sexual nature which has the effect of interfering with a person’s academic, employment or other status, or of creating a sexually intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Affirmative Action- Discriminatory Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    “Discriminatory Harassment” is a form of unlawful discrimination including verbal and/or physical conduct based on legally protected characteristics and/or membership in a protected class that:

    1. Has the purpose or effect of creating an objectively intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment; or
    2. Has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or learning performance; or
    3. Otherwise unreasonably adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities.

    For purposes of this Policy, speech or other expression constitutes harassment by personal vilification if it:

    1. Is intended to insult or stigmatize an individual or a small number of individuals on the basis of their gender, race, color, disability, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, marital or veteran status; and
    2. Is addressed directly to the individual or individuals whom it insults or stigmatizes; and
    3. Makes use of insulting or “fighting” words or non-verbal symbols.

    In the context of discriminatory harassment by personal vilification, insulting or “fighting” words or non-verbal symbols are those that, by their very utterance, tend to incite to an immediate breach of peace, and that are commonly understood to convey direct and visceral hatred or contempt for human beings on the basis of their gender, race, national origin, color, disability, religion, creed, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, marital or veteran status.

    For purposes of this Policy, conduct constitutes hostile environment harassment when it:

    1. Is targeted against an individual (s) on the basis of his or her membership in a protected class; and
    2. Is not welcomed by the individual (s); and
    3. Is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the conditions of education or employment and creates an environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, hostile or offensive.

    » Read More

  • Sexual Harassment Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    Sexual harassment consists of unwelcome verbal, non-verbal and/or physical behavior of a sexual nature which has the effect of interfering with a person’s academic, employment or other status, or of creating a sexually intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: … such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating a sexually intimidating, hostile or offensive employment, educational or living environment.

    Behaviors that, either alone or in combination, may constitute sexual harassment under this Policy include, but are not limited to the following: …

    f. sexual slurs, sexual innuendos, and other comments about an individual or group’s clothing, body, weight, body shape, size or  figure;
    g. continuous idle chatter of a sexual nature and graphic sexual descriptions;
    h. discussing one’s sexual activities, practices or experiences;
    i. asking another person about their sexual activities, practices or experiences;
    j. offensive and persistent jokes or jesting and kidding about sex or gender-specific traits;
    k. suggestive or insulting sounds such as whistling, wolf-calls, or kissing sounds;
    l. sexually provocative compliments about a person’s clothes or the way their clothes fit;
    m. comments or questions about the sensuality, sexuality, gender identity or sexual orientation of a person, or his or her spouse or significant other;
    n. pseudo-medical advice such as “you might be feeling bad because you didn’t get enough”;
    o. telephone calls of a sexual nature;
    p. “staged whispers” or mimicking of a sexual nature about the way a person walks, talks, sits, etc.;

    q. distribution or display of objects, written or graphic materials that are of a sexual nature, such as cartoons, pictorial erotica, nude photographs or posters (such as a nude magazine centerfolds) for no legitimate academic purpose;
    r. invading another’s “personal space”;
    s. sexual looks such as leering and ogling with suggestive overtones;
    t. lewd gestures, such as hand or sign language to denote sexual activity, licking lips or teeth, or holding or eating food provocatively;
    u. continuous “pet” name calling, such as “baby,” “sweetie” or”honey”;
    v. referring to men in general as “dogs” or “swine” or to women as “bitches” or “chicks” ….

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct Regulations and Procedures 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    The following regulations demonstrate conduct that is prohibited and will subject offenders to disciplinary action. … Physical abuse, verbal abuse, intimidation or threats to any member of the university community, visitor or guest. … Harassing, intimidating, or stalking any member of the College community, visitor or guest. This includes repeated verbal or physical annoyances, or threats committed by any means such as orally, electronically, or in writing. … Acts of bullying which consists of abusive conduct that a reasonable person would find hostile based on the severity, nature and frequency of the conduct and without regard to the method of delivery. This conduct may include, but not be limited to, repeated infliction of verbal abuse, such as the use of derogatory remarks, insults and epithets; or verbal or physical conduct of a threatening, intimidating or humiliating nature.

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Student Conduct Regulations and Procedures 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    Westfield State University recognizes that the student, as an adult member of society and a citizen of the United States of America, is entitled to respect and consideration and has the right to the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of speech, assembly and association.

    » Read More


This school does not have any media coverage at this time.
  • Speech Code of the Month: Westfield State College

    February 3, 2010

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for February 2010: Westfield State College in Massachusetts. Westfield’s Student Handbook prohibits “discrimination,” which it defines to include “making disparaging remarks that insult or stigmatize a student’s cultural background or race” as well as “making insensitive remarks that reflect a student’s disability.” Westfield State College is a public university, bound to protect its students’ First Amendment right to free speech. The college recognizes this fact elsewhere in its policies, clearly stating that “Westfield State College recognizes that the student, as an adult member of society and a citizen of the United States of […]

    » Read More