University of Washington

Location: Seattle, Washington
Website: http://www.washington.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 9th Circuit

Tell University of Washington to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

University of 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Conduct Code: Prohibited Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: March 22, 2018

    (7) Computer abuses. Computer abuses include, but are not limited to: … Use of university computing facilities or resources to send intimidating, harassing, or threatening messages.

    […]

    (9) Discriminatory harassment. Discriminatory harassment is language or conduct directed at a person because of the person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or veteran status that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive such that it could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s academic or work performance, or the person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities.

    […]

    (14) Harassment or bullying. Harassment or bullying is language or conduct that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive such that it could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s academic or work performance, or a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities.

    […]

    (22) Sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is language or conduct of a sexual nature that is unwelcome and sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive such that it could reasonably be expected to create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment, or has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s academic or work performance or a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs, services, opportunities, or activities.

    » Read More

  • Housing & Food Services: Resident Handbook- Bias-related Incidents

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: March 22, 2018

    Bias-related conduct is behavior that by intent, action and/or outcome may offend, harm or threaten to harm a person or group. Such behavior is usually motivated by prejudice toward a person or group because of factors such as race, religion, ethnicity, disability, national origin, age, gender or sexual orientation.

    Some bias-related conduct comes in the form of speech that can appear to be offensive, derogatory or demeaning. Although these and other expressions betray the UW’s ideal of a campus community committed to honor and respect, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution may protect expressions of this nature.  Regardless of whether or not a specific situation is punishable, acts of bias should be appropriately addressed.  In the absence of a disciplinary procedure, an educational response may be warranted.

    » Read More

  • 2017-2018 9-Month Housing Agreement

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: March 22, 2018

    I will not participate in any action or situation involving physical or mental abuse, harassment, bullying, cyber-bullying, intimidation, hazing, pranks and/or other conduct that recklessly or intentionally endangers or threatens the health, safety or welfare of any person or results in damage to University property.

     

     

    » Read More


Green Light Policies
  • RSO Policy Guide: Handbill Distribution

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: March 22, 2018

    Non-commercial handbills, leaflets, and similar materials may be distributed by regularly enrolled students, and by University personnel in public areas of the HUB, and in meeting rooms that have been reserved for their use, so long as such distribution does not materially or substantially interfere with the conduct of University functions or the freedom of movement.

    To promote robust dialog, the HUB encourages, but does not require, distributors of handbills, leaflets, and similar materials to include contact information on the material distributed.

    » Read More

  • Reporting Bias Incidents: Frequently asked questions

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: September 20, 2018

    For the purposes of the Bias Incident Advisory Committee, a bias incident is any discrimination or harassment against a member of the university community based on perception of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, pregnancy, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, disability or veteran status. Something does not necessarily need to rise to the level of a hate crime (malicious harassment as defined in RCW 9A.36.080) to constitute a bias incident.

    It is important to note that the Bias Incident Advisory Committee is neither an investigative nor an oversight body.

    » Read More


  • Letter: Universities Must Abandon Political Correctness and Illiberal Policies

    January 3, 2016

    By Tom Patten to Tri-City Herald I have donated numerous times over the years to the University of Washington. I am grateful for the excellent educational experience that I enjoyed at the university. In the tradition of scientific inquiry, I was exposed to many different ideas and taught to always question the basis of my beliefs and knowledge. Unfortunately today, higher education is in crisis. Many colleges and universities seek to stifle liberal thought and free speech in a misguided attempt to avoid confrontation and to protect the feelings of illiberal students. I am distressed to see that the UW […]

    » Read More
  • From Megaphones to Muzzles

    November 25, 2015

    By Susan Mulligan at US News It was students in California who birthed a new era on college campuses, one in which collegians would demand to be included, to be treated like adults and to have a very public say on such hotbed issues as civil rights and the Vietnam War. The Berkeley Free Speech Movement of 1964 became a defining moment in a nationwide trend, with students insisting they would not be silenced on some of the most controversial issues of the day. A half-century later, campuses are again the site of unrest and tension, but it’s not about […]

    » Read More
  • UW group holds bake sale to slam affirmative action

    October 9, 2003

    By Nguyen Huy Vu at The Seattle Times A conservative student group at the University of Washington said it will continue to protest affirmative action after it held a mock bake sale yesterday in which the goods were priced according to race or ethnicity. In an attempt to show what, they said, are the inequities of affirmative action in college admissions, chocolate-chip cookies were priced at 25 cents for Native Americans, 30 cents for African Americans, 35 cents for Latinos, 50 cents for Pacific Islanders, 95 cents for Asian Americans and $1 for whites. Doughnuts were available for 50 cents to everyone […]

    » Read More
  • Woe to Moderates on the UW Campus

    January 2, 2002

    By Matt Rosenberg at The Seattle Times Some undergraduates at the University of Washington are learning about freedom of speech the hard way. Take Kathleen Ahern, a freshman business major from Sammamish. This fall, she passed the table of a campus group passing out “Scarves for Solidarity” with Afghan women, and was asked if she’d like to wear one. She declined, and a disagreement followed. Ahern eventually went on her way — posting fliers for a campus speech on terrorism by conservative commentator Ann Coulter. But when Ahern passed the group’s table again later, she says she was called over and handed […]

    » Read More
  • University of Washington settles security fee censorship lawsuit, agrees to change policy and pay $122,500 in legal fees

    June 20, 2018

    On June 14, the University of Washington settled with the UW College Republicans over a $17,000 security fee imposed on the students for scheduling a rally with the conservative group Patriot Prayer. The settlement requires UW to create a viewpoint-neutral security fee policy and dole out $122,500 to the College Republicans for attorneys’ fees. The settlement ends the College Republicans’ lawsuit, filed in February, over their effort to have conservative political activist Joey Gibson, the founder of Patriot Prayer, speak at their event. The university sought to charge the group $17,000 for security due to past protests of conservative speakers […]

    » Read More
  • University of Washington School of Law professors release letter denouncing viewpoint-based security fees

    April 30, 2018

    Professors at the University of Washington School of Law recently released a letter criticizing their university’s attempt to impose a security fee on a student group for hosting a controversial speaker. The letter provides a compelling review of the legal and policy reasons why universities must not charge student groups viewpoint-based security costs for their events. Their letter is a tour de force of First Amendment law. It was written in response to UW imposing a $17,000 security fee on the College Republicans for scheduling conservative political activist Joey Gibson to speak at their event, a fee that a court […]

    » Read More
  • Student Government at U. of Washington Unanimously Passes Free Speech Resolution

    December 4, 2013

    On November 26, all 100 members of the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW), the university’s student government, voted for the passage of a resolution supporting students’ right of free speech. The unanimous resolution (PDF) reads in part: WHEREAS, roughly 1 in 6 of America’s top colleges have so-called “free speech zones,” defined here as a space into which a college reserves the right to restrict speech or assembly activities, frequently characterized by limited use, limited area, and the need for pre-registration; and WHEREAS, the UW administration in recent years has been both supportive and considerate of the free speech […]

    » Read More
  • Do School Admins Need to Have a Thicker Skin for Discussion of Social Issues?

    December 2, 2013

    I have to admit, I am tempted to have the text of this blog entry consist of the word “yes” and then head home for the day. A thick skin seems so self-evidently critical to the functioning of a free and democratic society that it’s hard to believe people need to be reminded of it. Yet they do, and among those most in need of a dermatological toughening are administrators at our nation’s high schools (and colleges). Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center (SPLC) brings to our attention a new joint report on civic education from Stanford University and the […]

    » Read More