University of Mary Washington

Location: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Mary Washington 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 here.

This school does not have any cases at this time.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility: Disorderly or Obscene Conduct 14-15

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

    No student shall be involved in disorderly or obscene conduct. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to: fighting, creating a disturbance, obscene language, verbal or physical harassment, making excessive noise. Disorderly or obscene conduct on campus, at any UMW-sponsored event, or while operating or traveling in any Mary Washington or state-owned vehicle, should be reported to the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility, or, in urgent situations, to University Police.

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  • Office of Student Activities: Posting Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies

    All fliers, posters, and other printed publicity items must be submitted to the Office of Student Activities and Engagement (SAE) for review and stamp of approval before posting on the UMW campus. … No profanity or vulgarity is permitted.

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  • Student Handbook: Bias Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    The bias incident reporting program is established to assist the University in promoting an environment that fosters civility and mutual respect for all. Members of the University community are strongly encouraged to report all bias incidents. A person does not have to be a member of a protected class or group in order to be a victim of a bias incident.

    What is meant by bias incident?

    Bias incidents involve any behavior that a person finds harmful or hurtful and reasonably believes is directed at him or her or others simply because of one’s race, color, religion, disability, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, veteran status, or age.

    What is the difference between a bias incident and a bias offense under this policy?

    Bias incident is the broadest category of bias related behavior that includes bias offenses, as defined earlier in this policy, hate crimes, and lesser incidents that are motivated by bias (see definition of hate crime below). A bias incident may involve protected speech.

    This definition is used for reporting and statistical purposes only. It carries no independent sanctioning weight or authority.

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Green Light Policies
  • Sexual Misconduct Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies

    SEXUAL HARASSMENT is defined as gender-based verbal or physical conduct that unreasonably interferes with or deprives someone of educational access, benefits, or opportunities.

    Hostile Environment harassment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent, and patently offensive, such that it alters the conditions of education or employment, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.

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  • Student Handbook: Bias Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech

    A bias offense is any act that is based on actual or perceived race, color, religion, disability, national origin, political affiliation, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, veteran status, or age that creates an intimidating and/or hostile educational, living, or working environment by unreasonably and substantially interfering with an individual’s or group’s safety, security, work, or academic performance. Acts include language and/or behaviors. Bias offenses may result in serious sanctions or disciplinary action. An intimidating and/or hostile environment is one that reasonably results from severe or pervasive bias related conduct.

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  • Network and Computer Use Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies

    The network provides an open forum for the expression of ideas, including viewpoints that are strange, unorthodox, and unpopular. Opinions expressed there must be presented in a manner that is free of obscenity (as defined by Code of Virginia section 18.2-372), forgery, and other illegal forms of expression, which are not acceptable uses of the University’s network and are in violation of University policy. In addition, expressions of opinion may not be represented as the views of the University of Mary Washington, and individual users are responsible and accountable for any material posted and transmitted on the network in violation of this or other University policies, or state or federal law.

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  • Student Handbook: Statement of Rights and Responsibilities 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression

    All members share the obligation to respect the right to freedom of inquiry, of religion, of speech, of press, of peaceful assemblage, of association, and of petition to the institution for a redress of grievances.

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  • Sexist Chanting at Party Leads to Punishment for Students Who Weren’t Even There

    March 25, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason Online The University of Mary Washington permanently cancelledits student rugby team after evidence surfaced that team members had engaged in sexist chanting at an off-campus house party. All members of the team were also required to attend sexual assault training. But while UMW’s rugby team has 46 players, only 8 of them were even in attendance at the party—meaning that not only did a public university punish a few students for engaging in inappropriate (though constitutionally-protected) speech, it also punished other students who had nothing to do with said (again, constitutionally-protected!) speech. The microaggression unfolded […]

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  • College Suspends Rugby Team for Necrophilia Song

    March 24, 2015

    By Jenn Gidman at Newser (NEWSER) – The University of Mary Washington’s entire rugby team has been suspended after video surfaced of several of its members singing an obscenity-laced chant describing the sexual assault of a prostitute’s corpse. The song was recorded by a student at an off-campus party, perJezebel; the student posted the video to YouTube, where it spread among students on the small campus (Jezebel has audio and lyrics). Sanctions against Mother’s Rugby for flouting the school’s conduct code were approved at the beginning of the semester, the Free Lance-Star notes, but after the team appealed, the college […]

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  • Entire College Rugby Team Suspended Over Recorded ‘Fuck a Whore’ Chant

    March 23, 2015

    By Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel One chilly afternoon in late November 2014, a few dozen students at the University of Mary Washington gathered in a house about a half mile off their Fredericksburg, Virginia, campus for a party at a house rented by rugby players. For a Sunday, the mood was raucous, with students belting bar chants in celebration of a recent victory. Then, as the singing escalated in enthusiasm and obscenity, one party attendee surreptitiously took his cell phone out of his pocket and began recording. The video didn’t capture any faces; its camera remained fixed on a […]

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  • UMW’s Punishment of Rugby Team Disregards Free Speech, Due Process

    March 26, 2015

    Another week, another public university president defying the First Amendment. Declaring that his university (unconstitutionally) prohibits “derogatory statements of any form,” University of Mary Washington (UMW) President Richard Hurley announced last week that the UMW men’s rugby club has been dissolved, and all of its players ordered to attend sensitivity training, because of a few team members’ participation in a bawdy song recorded at a November 2014 party. The song in question, the lyrics of which revolve around having sex with the body of a dead prostitute, has raised eyebrows. But in declaring this speech out of bounds and levying […]

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  • Responding to “Offensive” Speech with Constructive Speech at the University of Mary Washington

    November 12, 2007

    According to Jeff Branscome in The Free Lance-Star, University of Mary Washington freshman Rob Mariani “is facing college disciplinary action for disrupting community values and disorderly conduct after the school’s student newspaper ran a story about a racially insensitive poster found in a dorm.” Mariani had put the poster outside his dorm room door, and it or a copy of it somehow ended up in a dorm refrigerator, where it was discovered by cleaning staff, who complained. The poster, according to Branscome, “pictured an emotional black basketball player embracing his coach and read, ‘Slavery Reinstated: Catch Yourself a Strong One.’” […]

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