University of Wisconsin – La Crosse

Location: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

University of Wisconsin – La Crosse 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.

  • University of Wisconsin: Students’ Due Process Rights

    March 13, 2009

    FIRE successfully persuaded the University of Wisconsin’s Board of Regents to affirm due process rights for students, including the option of a hearing before a committee including student peers, attorney representation in the case of serious allegations, and both e-mail and paper notification of proceedings. The Board had proposed changes to the State Administrative Code governing infractions and judicial procedures within Wisconsin’s public universities that would have limited due process rights and granted more discretion to administrators. FIRE’s Adam Kissel engaged in a speaking tour of University of Wisconsin schools in opposition to these changes, even speaking before the Board […]

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  • University of Wisconsin at La Crosse: Censorship of Student Magazine

    April 13, 2006

    The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s (UW-L) Student Senate reversed its decision to limit the printing of a student magazine that the Senate deemed offensive. The magazine, titled The Second Supper Alternative News, wrote an article in its February 2006 issue titled “Cheney Kills Five Crips in Inner-City Hunting Accident.” The Senate passed a resolution stating that the Second Supper’s “racist, sexist, homophobic, ablest (sic), anti-Semitists (sic) speech” would “threaten the recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups,” so it ordered the magazine to cut its distribution from 2,000 copies per issue to only 60–a 97% reduction. FIRE wrote UW-L Chancellor Douglas N. […]

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Red Light Policies

Yellow Light Policies
  • Hate Incident Report Form

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: June 22, 2015

    What is a hate/bias incident?
    Any non-criminal act motivated, in whole or in part, by the victim’s actual or perceived race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

    Why does UW-L monitor hate incidents?
    UW-L views hate incidents and all manifestations of prejudice or intolerance as antithetical to our mission as a university and a community, and as a threat to each individual’s right to a safe learning and working environment. Therefore, all such incidents have to be addressed appropriately, which depends on the nature of the incident, the people involved, the location of the incident. Submitting this form will help us better understand our campus climate and help create an environment where everyone feels welcome.

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  • Chapter: UWS 18 Conduct on University Lands

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: June 22, 2015

    No person may, with intent to harass, annoy or offend another person, send a message to the person on an electronic mail or other computerized communication system and in that message use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act.

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  • Residence Life Policies and Procedures: Posters/Decorations

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: June 22, 2015

    Residence hall communities have both the right and the responsibility to regulate the “public” side of room windows and room doors, including any offensive material displayed. This argument stems from the belief that these parts of the window and door are a community area shared by everyone who uses the sidewalk or lives within the Residence Hall buildings and not solely by the resident(s) of the room. You will be asked to remove materials found to be offensive. Such materials include but are not limited to:

    • signs that threaten or offend a particular individual or group with racist, sexist, or homophobic message such that they have a concern for their personal safety
    • signs that present any individual or group in a demeaning fashion
    • signs that encourage violence within the Residence Hall community

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  • Policy Against Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: June 22, 2015

    Discriminatory Harassment (RPD 14-6) is a form of discrimination consisting of unwelcome verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct that:

    (a) Is directed at an individual or group of individuals on the basis of the individual or group of individuals’ actual or perceived protected status, or affiliation or association with person(s) within a protected status (as defined herein above); and

    (b) is sufficiently severe or pervasive so as to interfere with an individual’s employment, education or academic environment or participation in institution programs or activities and creates a working, learning, program or activity environment that a reasonable person would find intimidating, offensive or hostile.

    (c) To constitute prohibited harassment, the conduct must be both objectively and subjectively harassing in nature. Harassment may include but is not limited to verbal or physical attacks, threats, slurs or derogatory or offensive comments that meet the definition set forth herein.

    Sexual Harassment (RPD 14-2) is one form of discriminatory harassment. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other physical conduct and expressive behavior of a sexual nature where:

    (a) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education;

    (b) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or

    (c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment or educational environment.

    9.0 Conduct Not Covered By This Policy

    9.1. Offensive or biased language or conduct that does not meet the criteria of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation, and/or is not directed at a person or group on the basis of a protected status, may not be covered by this policy. However, such conduct may be covered by other policies, code(s) of conduct, or handbooks.

    9.2. Regardless of whether or not disciplinary or punitive measures are available, the University may employ non-punitive measures to address such incidents, including dialogue, education, and conflict resolution efforts, with the goal of maintaining an inclusive educational and workplace environment while also respecting individual rights to freedom of speech and expression.

    9.3. Individuals seeking assistance regarding offensive or biased language or conduct that is not covered by this policy are encouraged to contact Affirmative Action or Campus Climate.

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  • Not-So-Great Expectations

    October 18, 2013

    Inside Higher Ed Rachel Slocum, assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, was stunned earlier this month when what she thought was an innocuous if impetuous e-mail to students about why they couldn’t access census data to complete an important course assignment became national news. Her e-mail, which blamed the “Republican/Tea Party controlled House of Representatives” for the shutdown and consequent U.S. Census Bureau website blackout, appeared on Fox News, the Daily Caller and in her local paper, after a student posted a screen shot on Twitter. It also caused uproar on campus, prompting numerous calls and e-mails to […]

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  • The Second Supper’s distribution to remain in full

    May 1, 2006

    by Megan Keller The Racquet (UW–La Crosse) The UW-La Crosse Student Association withdrew its case against The Second Supper on Tuesday, April 18. After looking into the legalities of the situation, the Student Association decided not to pursue charges that would have dramatically limited The Second Supper’s on campus distribution. The ordeal started when The Second Supper printed an article that offended people of the UW-L community. The article that caused the controversy was “Cheney Kills Five Crips in Inner-City Hunting Accident” which used the “n” word. However, this was not just a campus issue. The Foundation for Individual Rights […]

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  • Satire back on track at UW-La Crosse

    April 24, 2006

    The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association withdrew its resolution to limit the distribution of a satirical student publication last week following a controversy over First Amendment rights. “We were never trying to stifle First Amendment rights or stop The Second Supper Alternative News from distributing on campus,” Ryan Kockler and AJ Clauss, president and vice president of UW-L’s Student Association, said in a release. “Our concerns stem from the fact that we know that directly and indirectly students, faculty and staff have been hurt by the language the paper publishes.” The Second Supper has been under scrutiny since its […]

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  • Killa Satire

    April 24, 2006

    In its February 28 issue, the Second Supper Alternative News, a satirical student-run journal at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse (UW-L), published an article titled “Cheney Kills Five Crips in Inner-City Hunting Accident.” The piece poked fun at Vice President Dick Cheney after his recent hunting accident, depicting him as a would-be gang member and “stone cold killa.” The UW-L Student Association was so outraged by the article that it passed a resolution cutting Second Supper’s press run from 2,000 to 60 — in effect, a deathblow since the journal depends on outside advertising for its funds. The resolution […]

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  • Satire magazine avoids censorship by student government

    April 21, 2006

    WISCONSIN — Succumbing to pressure by student press advocates, the student government at a Wisconsin university said it would not attempt to limit the distribution of a campus satire magazine Wednesday. The Student Association Senate at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse reversed a resolution it passed on March 29 limiting the number of copies The Second Supper Alternative News was allowed to distribute on campus. The publication normally distributes 2,000 copies; the resolution would have reduced the number to 60. The resolution was in response to an article printed in the paper that parodied Vice President Dick Cheney’s […]

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  • Is UW-La Crosse Prof Being Railroaded over ‘Partisan’ Speech?

    October 8, 2013

    A concerning report out of Wisconsin suggests that administrators at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-L) have inappropriately pressured a professor there to apologize for sending her class an email critical of the government shutdown and to refrain from using “politically partisan language” in the future. According to The Daily Caller, UW-L geography professor Rachel Slocum sent her class the following email: hi everyone Some of the data gathering assignment will be impossible to complete until the Republican/tea party controlled House of Representatives agrees to fund the government. The Census website, for example, is closed. Please do what you can […]

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  • University of Wisconsin Sued for Derecognizing Religious Organization

    October 6, 2006

    In non-Columbia-related news, the Alliance Defense Fund has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, which was derecognized by the University of Wisconsin for allowing only Christians to serve as leaders of the group. This case closely resembles another case recently decided by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, whose jurisdiction includes Wisconsin. In Christian Legal Society v. Walker, the appeals court ordered Southern Illinois University to recognize the Christian Legal Society, which was originally dissolved because of a policy banning voting members and leaders from engaging in or approving of premarital sex, adultery, or homosexual […]

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  • Victory for Student Press Freedom at University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

    April 20, 2006

    LA CROSSE, Wis., April 20, 2006—The University of Wisconsin­­–La Crosse (UW-L) has reversed its decision to censor a satirical student magazine. UW-L’s student government had attempted to limit the printing of the magazine to just a few dozen copies in response to articles some deemed offensive. The magazine’s rights were restored less than a week after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervened on its behalf. “Satire and parody are vital, effective, and very strongly protected forms of political speech. Unfortunately, they are under constant attack on today’s college campuses,” stated FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “UW-L did the […]

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