James Madison University

Location: Harrisonburg, Virginia
Type: Public
Tell James Madison University to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

James Madison University 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
  • Student Handbook: Standards & Policies- Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 19, 2019

    J34-104 Sexual Harassment – A form of sex discrimination consisting of unwelcome or offensive sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other conduct of a sexual nature including verbal (e.g., specific demands for sexual favors, sexual innuendos, sexually suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual p... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Standards & Policies- Soliciting, Petitioning, Selling, Surveying & Publicizing

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: September 19, 2019

    No student or student organization shall … solicit for any purpose whatsoever on university property or in university buildings, without first obtaining the written approval of the coordinator of clubs and organizations. … Posters, notices, announcements or other materials may only be displayed on genera... Read More
  • Not @ JMU – Bias Incident Reporting Form

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: September 19, 2019

    Please use this form to report a discrimination, harassment, hate or bias related incident. Document as much information as possible. Timeliness and accuracy are critical. Additional supporting evidence (such as photos or video) may be emailed directly to OEO. … The information on this form will be sent to the... Read More
  • Appropriate Use of Information Technology Resources

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 19, 2019

    As a user of JMU information technology resources, each user shall: …  respect the privacy and personal rights of others including, but not limited to, the right to be free from intimidation or harassment … not use university information technology resources for personal/financial gain, political acti... Read More
  • Policy 1121: Public Expression on Campus

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 19, 2019

    As public citizens, all members of the campus community have rights guaranteed them under the United States Constitution, including the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. … For the purposes of this policy, speech and other forms of expression that are protected under federal and state law. As... Read More
  • Policy 1121: Public Expression on Campus

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 19, 2019

    In outdoor areas on campus other than controlled spaces, university community members and members of the public are encouraged to exercise their constitutionally protected rights of free expression and freedom of assembly, subject only to reasonable, content-neutral time, place and manner regulations. … The un... Read More
  • Student Handbook: Standards & Policies- Harassment, Bullying, and/or Stalking

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 19, 2019

    Harassment is generally defined by JMU as unwelcome or offensive physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct that shows aversion or hostility towards a person that creates a hostile environment or is a term or condition of employment, education, membership, or participation in programs, services, opportunities, or activ... Read More
  • Right of Expression Policies

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 19, 2019

    JMU seeks to preserve students’ privileges to take active roles in exercising their rights of expression, conscience, affiliation, and peaceful assembly. At the same time, the university also recognizes its responsibility to ensure the rights and freedom of those who want to pursue their educational interest w... Read More
  • James Madison University: Photographs Seized from Student Newspaper

    January 2, 2002

    In April 2010, the Rockingham County, Virginia, prosecutor Marsha Garst sent a large group of police officers to the offices of James Madison University (JMU) student newspaper The Breeze with an improper warrant to seize photographs of the annual Springfest party near campus. The party had drawn about 8,000 people—students and non-students—and caused substantial public… Read more

  • James Madison University reportedly orders alleged sexual assault victim not to go public

    April 17, 2018

    FIRE has repeatedly made the point that the current broken state of sexual misconduct and other Title IX procedures on today’s campuses is poorly serving both accusers and the accused. Last week I wrote about a situation that’s unfair to the accused. This week, it’s an accuser’s turn to face injustice. James Madison University, a… Read more

  • Former FIRE Intern on James Madison U.’s Step Backward

    September 23, 2014

    Former James Madison University student and 2012 FIRE summer intern Luke Wachob wrote to JMU student newspaper The Breeze on Sunday, urging JMU to bring its policies back in line with the First Amendment. As my colleague Samantha Harris reported last week, JMU has lost its “green light” rating in our Spotlight database because it… Read more

  • James Madison University Loses Its ‘Green Light’ Rating

    September 19, 2014

    After failing to heed several warnings from FIRE about new speech codes, James Madison University—which FIRE at one point named one of the seven best colleges for free speech—has lost its “green light” rating. This is particularly disappointing news given how hard a dedicated group of JMU students worked to bring about speech code reform… Read more

  • How One JMU Student Worked to Eliminate Restrictive Speech Codes

    September 25, 2013

    James Madison University is one of the few schools to have FIRE’s “green light” rating, but JMU wasn’t always a green light school. In October 2009, FIRE began working with James Madison University students to reform the school’s restrictive speech codes. In this video interview, JMU alumnus and former FIRE intern Luke Wachob explains how,… Read more

  • On Working with Administrators: Five Principles for Student Activists

    August 2, 2013

    by David Hicks David Hicks is a FIRE summer intern. At FIRE’s sixth annual CFN Conference, past-FIRE intern Luke Wachob talked about his student group’s work at James Madison University to bring his school from a FIRE “red light” to a “green light” rating by changing unconstitutional speech codes on the campus. He highlighted the… Read more

  • JMU Celebrates Its Spot in FIRE’s Top 7

    September 20, 2012

    It is certainly an honor to join the exclusive group of schools that earn FIRE’s "green light" rating in our Spotlight database. But James Madison University (JMU) took it one step further and made FIRE’s 2012 list of the seven best colleges for free speech. Check out this article in JMU’s student newspaper, The Breeze,… Read more

  • James Madison Student Praises ‘Vibrant’ Free Speech Wall

    May 11, 2012

    Last month, I wrote a Torch post highlighting student activism that took place on campuses across the country during Free Speech Week, April 1-8. For one of the most popular demonstrations, many student groups built free speech walls to provide an open forum for student expression. Students constructed temporary walls out of cardboard or wood,… Read more

  • JMU ‘Breeze’ Brings Further Recognition to ‘Green Light’ Rating

    September 22, 2011

    We’re glad that James Madison University’s (JMU’s) student newspaper, The Breeze, is bringing awareness to the university’s recently earned spot on FIRE’s "green light" list, with articles published today and Monday. As we reported last week, JMU eliminated the last of its unconstitutional speech codes, upgrading the school to a "green light," the best rating… Read more

  • Praise for New ‘Green Light’ Rating in James Madison University Student Newspaper

    September 19, 2011

    Last week, we reported that James Madison University (JMU) is the 15th university in the nation to earn FIRE’s best, "green light" rating by eliminating the last of its speech codes. An article in today’s edition of JMU’s student newspaper The Breeze praises the university for this victory for students’ rights and extolls the virtues of… Read more

  • Kelly Jemison on JMU’s New Green Light Rating

    September 14, 2011

    When James Madison University (JMU) became our newest green light school this week, perhaps no one was more thrilled about this important development than Kelly Jemison. Kelly, a recent JMU graduate, contacted FIRE in 2009 because she wanted to reform her school’s policies. She worked with administrators to make the necessary changes, but when she graduated… Read more

  • FIRE Congratulates James Madison University for Abolishing Speech Codes

    September 14, 2011

    FIRE is proud to announce that James Madison University (JMU) has eliminated the last of its speech codes, earning our highest, “green light” rating for free speech. While two-thirds of the nation’s colleges maintain policies that clearly and substantially restrict freedom of speech, JMU is now a proud exception, having fully reformed four speech codes…. Read more

  • Should Adjuncts Keep Their Mouths Shut?

    March 17, 2011

    James Madison University adjunct (now former adjunct) professor Isaac Sweeney suggests that they should, if they want to keep their jobs.

  • Virginia Newspaper Touts Growing Number of ‘Green Light’ Schools

    February 8, 2011

    With only 14 “green light” colleges and universities in the entire country, the state of Virginia should be proud to be home to two of them. Writing in the Daily Press (Hampton Roads, Va.), Michael F. Cochrane commends the University of Virginia (UVa) and The College of William & Mary for preserving free speech on… Read more

  • More Praise for UVA’s New ‘Green-Light’ Rating

    January 17, 2011

    In a column for Townhall.com, Mike Adams praises the University of Virginia (UVA) for going from a red-light to a green-light school by eliminating the last of its unconstitutional speech codes back in October. Adams describes how FIRE staff encouraged Dean Allen Groves to implement the essential policy reforms: FIRE began working with UVA administrator… Read more

  • ‘Volokh Conspiracy’ and Local Media Decry Virginia Speech Codes

    November 3, 2010

    Ever since the University of Virginia (UVa) eliminated all four of its speech codes to earn FIRE’s coveted “green light” rating, local and national media have put the spotlight on the speech codes remaining at other public universities in Virginia. When FIRE announced the news, we noted that UVa joins The College of William & Mary… Read more

  • James Madison University Newspaper Reacts to UVa’s New Green Light Rating

    November 1, 2010

    This past Thursday, we praised the University of Virginia (UVa) for eliminating the last of its unconstitutional speech code policies, earning it a coveted spot on our list of 13 “green light” schools. We noted that UVa joins its fellow Virginia public institution The College of William & Mary on this list—and that we’re now… Read more

  • Out of 1,000 James Madison University Student Newspaper Photos Seized Improperly by Virginia Prosecutor, She Gets 20

    June 2, 2010

    In April, I reported that Rockingham County, Virginia, prosecutor Marsha Garst had sent a large group of police officers to the offices of James Madison University (JMU) student newspaper The Breeze with an improper warrant to seize photographs of the annual Springfest party near campus. The party had drawn about 8,000 people—students and non-students—and caused… Read more

  • SPLC Rounds Up Media Reactions to Raid of JMU Newspaper

    April 21, 2010

    The Student Press Law Center has done a great job rounding up media reactions across Virginia to the recent seizure of pictures from the James Madison University student newspaper, The Breeze, upon which FIRE reported yesterday. Suffice it to say that the media is not amused. For instance, The Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote: The First Amendment… Read more

  • 1,000 James Madison University Student Newspaper Photos Seized Improperly by Virginia Prosecutor

    April 20, 2010

    She’s no Mike Nifong, but Rockingham County, Virginia, prosecutor Marsha Garst has something to answer for. Ten days ago, the annual Springfest party near James Madison University (JMU) drew about 8,000 people—students and non-students—and quite a bit of public disorder. There was violence. There also were dozens of arrests, such as for “failure to disperse”… Read more

  • How Students Made a Difference for Liberty in 2009

    January 6, 2010

    For the past few days FIRE has been looking back over our list of accomplishments in 2009. That list would not be complete without mentioning the students who have worked so hard to make their campuses more free. At the College of William & Mary, former FIRE intern and Campus Freedom Network member Braum Katz… Read more

  • JMU Upholds Trespassing Charge Against Student Reporter; Investigative Journalism Results in Year of Probation

    November 11, 2009

    A couple of weeks ago, FIRE reported on an incident at James Madison University in which two reporters for the JMU newspaper The Breeze received disciplinary charges from the university after entering a residence hall to interview JMU students about a recent “peeping Tom” incident. Unfortunately, as the Breeze and the Student Press Law Center… Read more

  • James Madison University Revises Speech Code of the Month After FIRE, Students Challenge Unconstitutionality

    October 29, 2009

    We have good news from the front in the fight to eradicate speech codes from our nation’s campuses. James Madison University has revised its policy on Obscene Conduct, no longer banning "lewd, indecent or obscene…expression." Yet the university’s strained relationship with First Amendment principles has recently manifested itself in another way, with students charged with offenses for… Read more

  • Student Reporters at James Madison University Threatened with Disciplinary Action for Attempting to Report On-Campus Incident

    October 28, 2009

    For attempting to report on a recent trespassing incident in a James Madison University residence hall, two reporters for the JMU newspaper The Breeze have themselves been charged with trespassing. As The Breeze reported on October 23: On Sunday, [Breeze contributor Katie] Hibson, a sophomore media arts and design major, was investigating the Oct. 14… Read more

  • Rights in the News: With FIRE’s Help, Students Standing Up to Their Speech Codes

    October 16, 2009

    FIRE was elated to begin the week with the announcement that The College of William & Mary had reformed the last of its troublesome speech codes and become one of just eleven colleges to earn a "green light" rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database. Perhaps the fever has spread to neighboring James Madison University, where the… Read more

  • Student Op-Ed Calls on James Madison University to Revise Policy

    October 5, 2009

    A couple of weeks ago, Samantha wrote about a disturbing change in the policy on “Obscene Conduct” at James Madison University (JMU). The original policy stated, No student shall engage in lewd, indecent or obscene conduct or expression on university property or in university-owned or operated buildings. (Emphasis added.) The policy was changed to: No… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: James Madison University

    October 1, 2009

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for October 2009: James Madison University. JMU’s policy on “Obscene Conduct” provides that “[n]o student shall engage in lewd, indecent or obscene conduct or expression, regardless of proximity to campus.” (Emphasis added.) Torch readers may already be familiar with this policy, because we blogged about it several weeks ago. Our post caught the attention… Read more

  • A Disturbing Policy Change at James Madison University

    September 14, 2009

    James Madison University (JMU) has made a seemingly small change to one of its policies that actually has significant implications for student expression. Last year, JMU’s policy on “Obscene Conduct” stated that No student shall engage in lewd, indecent or obscene conduct or expression on university property or in university-owned or operated buildings. (Emphasis added.)… Read more