Case Western Reserve University

Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Website: http://www.cwru.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 6th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Case Western Reserve 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.

Red Light Policies

Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: University Policies- Standards of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 2, 2015

    Any actual or threatened physical harm or mental abuse of any person on University premises or at functions sponsored or supervised by the University.

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  • Student Handbook: Undergraduate Policies- Disorderly Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: December 2, 2015

    University community members are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not create disruptions or that does not involve unacceptable actions in regards to community, behavioral, and/or moral standards. Such conduct may include, but is not limited to the following: … * Obnoxious and anti-social behavior; * Lewd, lascivious, and vulgar behavior ….

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  • Sexual Conduct at Case: University Policies- Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 1, 2015

    Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome verbal or non-verbal  sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, and/or conduct directed at an individual(s) because of gender when: …  Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably and objectively interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational experience or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work and/or educational environment. Such conduct generally involves more than one incident and must be severe, persistent or pervasive (or may be severe, persistent and pervasive).  Depending on the nature of the incident, more than one action or incident is typically necessary to constitute this form of sexual harassment.

    Acts that constitute sexual harassment take a variety of forms and may include but are not limited to the following unwelcome actions: …

    • Verbal expressions of a sexual nature, including sexual communications about a person’s body, dress, appearance or sexual activities; the use of sexually degrading language, name calling, sexually suggestive jokes, or innuendoes; suggestive or insulting gestures, sounds or whistles; sexually suggestive phone calls.
    • Sexually suggestive objects or written materials, such as social media, e-mail or internet communications, pictures, photographs, cartoons, text messages, videos, or DVD’s. …
    • Stereotyping or generalizing about a group based on gender. These types of comments typically constitute sexual harassment when associated with other sexual behavior or comments.

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  • Student Handbook: University Policies- Abuse

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 1, 2015

    Physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, coercion, and/or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.

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  • Student Handbook: University Policies- Facility Use

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: December 1, 2015

    University facilities and services may not be used for political fund-raising or to advocate a partisan position, and requests for their use will not be granted for activities which may cause the university to appear to be taking a position with regard to a public issue or a candidate for public office. This restriction also applies to the use of campus mail services, university mailing lists and labels, duplicating and printing equipment, and telephones belonging to the university.

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  • Student Handbook: University Policies- Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 2, 2015

    Members of the University Community are expected to respect the rights of others by refraining from any inappropriate behaviors that may negatively impact a student’s experience. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    • Behavior that intentionally or negligently causes physical, financial, or emotional harm to any person; and
    • Conduct which intimidates, threatens, or endangers the health or safety of any person;
    • Behavior that is construed as a nuisance, including, but not limited to, prank phone calls or abusing or harassing another user through
      electronic means.

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Green Light Policies
  • Case Western Reserve University Statement of Ethics

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: December 2, 2015

    Universities seek to preserve, disseminate, and advance knowledge. At Case, as elsewhere, we recognize that to fulfill these purposes requires … the right to hold and express opinions different from our own.

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  • Do campus tribunals wield too much power?

    March 13, 2006

    By John Higgins at The Beacon Journal A Summit County jury found Charles Plinton not guilty of selling drugs to a confidential informant in 2004. A few weeks later, a University of Akron disciplinary board found him “responsible” for “selling drugs to a confidential informant.” The difference between those two words — guilty and responsible — may not sound meaningful to the average person. But it’s a distinction that begins to explain the secretive world of college justice in which campus committees may re-try the facts of serious crimes after criminal courts have already decided them. Critics see the hearings […]

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  • Judge Dismisses Student’s Title IX Claim Against Case Western Reserve University

    September 16, 2015

    In an opinion issued today, an Ohio federal judge dismissed a former Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) student’s Title IX lawsuit against the university. The student, who was expelled from CWRU’s medical school after the university found him responsible for sexual misconduct, alleged he was innocent and that bias against male students motivated the university’s erroneous decision. The court’s ruling is the latest in a recent line of cases suggesting accused students’ Title IX lawsuits cannot survive without concrete evidence of gender bias. The judge ruled the plaintiff had established “a plausible claim that [he] was innocent of the charges […]

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  • College Attempts to Censor Student Columnist: Q&A with Andrew Breland

    June 8, 2015

    Meet Andrew Breland, a student journalist at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and a 2014 FIRE Summer Intern. Andrew laments that while Case Western claims to support free speech, it often compromises freedom of expression for the sake of “civility” and other vague, subjective notions that are too often cited to justify censorship. FIRE has written about this phenomenon extensively. Case Western’s lackluster support for free speech became most apparent to Andrew when he published a controversial column in The Observer, Case Western’s independent newspaper. His piece discussed the perceived disconnect between what visiting students and families are […]

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  • Introducing FIRE Summer Intern Andrew Breland

    June 18, 2014

    Andrew Breland is a rising senior at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), majoring in political science and English while simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in political science. Andrew is the president of CWRU’s Pi Kappa Phi chapter and is a columnist for the The Observer, the university’s student newspaper. He has previously interned in the office of U.S. Senator Rob Portman. On coming to FIRE, Andrew writes: In September of my junior year, I published a column in our student newspaper that garnered attention from all corners of the university. Titled “Things Tour Guides Don’t Tell You,” it revealed some […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Case Western Reserve University

    December 1, 2010

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for December 2010: Case Western Reserve University. Case Western’s “Use of University Facilities” policy provides that University facilities and services may not be used for political fund-raising or to advocate a partisan position …. This restriction also applies to the use of campus mail services, university mailing lists and labels, duplicating and printing equipment, and telephones belonging to the university. By its plain language, this policy prohibits any of Case Western’s recognized student organizations—which include Case Democrats, College Republicans of Case, Case Right to Life, Spectrum Gay-Straight Alliance, and Students for Justice in […]

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