Wake Forest University

Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina
Website: http://www.wfu.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Wake Forest 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

  • Judicial Handbook: Campus Posting

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    All signs/posters/flyers displayed on campus must be in good taste, consistent with University policies, and must not contain sexist, racist, profane or derogatory remarks, or nudity. In addition, messages that contain abusive language, threats, fighting words, or obscenities will be removed. The University retains the right to deny posting of any materials on campus. Violators may be subject to fines and/or disciplinary procedures.

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  • Judicial Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Verbal Abuse and/or Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    Verbal abuse is the use of obscene, profane, or derogatory language that abuses or defames another person. Harassment is any action, verbal or nonverbal, that annoys or disturbs another person or that causes another person to be reasonably apprehensive or endangers the health or safety of another person.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Judicial Handbook: Conduct and Social Regulations & Policies – Introduction

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    When, in the opinion of the University, the conduct of a student at any place is reprehensible or detrimental to the best interests of that student, his or her fellow students, or the University, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.

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  • Judicial Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Bullying/Cyberbullying

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that bullying involves: … Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group.

    Bullying can take many forms. Examples include:

    • Verbal: name-calling, teasing

    • Social: spreading rumors, leaving people out on purpose, breaking up friendships

    • Physical: hitting, punching, shoving

    • Cyberbullying: using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to harm others

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  • Guide to Community Living: Room Displays

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    Realizing that the display of certain items may be considered offensive and disrespectful to some community members, the university requires the use of discretion concerning the content of the pictures, posters, or written materials displayed in rooms and hallways. Residents possessing any materials that the university deems questionable may be asked to remove such items.

    In the interest of encouraging students to be active participants in national elections, the University permits the display of signs endorsing candidates for office for a 10-day period before the day of elections. Students should be trusted to use their good judgment in complying with this exception.

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  • Judicial Handbook: Student Code of Conduct- Misuse of Online Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    Although the University does not actively monitor students’ use of computing resources, any information brought to the attention of University officials about the misuse of online resources, including social networking sites, may be pursued through the University’s undergraduate judicial system. Examples of such behavior include, but are not limited to, harassment and threats toward individuals or property, photographs portraying inappropriate or illegal situations, misrepresentation of identity, etc.

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  • Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that includes verbal, written, or physical behavior of a sexual nature, directed at someone, or against a particular group, because of that person’s or group’s sex, gender identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or based on gender stereotypes, when that behavior is unwelcome and meets either of the following criteria:

    (2) The behavior has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the student’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or demeaning environment for employment, education, University living, or participation in a University activity or program.

    Examples of this type of sexual harassment can include:

    a. Persistent unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;

    b. Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;

    c. Unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities;

    d. Repeated and unwelcome sexually-oriented teasing, joking, or flirting; and

    e. Verbal abuse of a sexual nature.

    Behaviors or communications may be verbal or nonverbal, written, or electronic. Such conduct does not need to be directed at or to a specific student in order to constitute sexual harassment, but may consist of generalized unwelcome and inappropriate behaviors or communications based on sex, gender identity, actual or perceived sexual orientation, or gender stereotypes.

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  • Report Bias

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    Wake Forest defines a bias incident as any threat or act – verbal, written, or physical – that is directed against or targeted at a member(s) of the Wake Forest community or Wake Forest property that are motivated, in whole or in part, because of a bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information, disability and/or veteran status. Bias incidents that are addressed by the university Bias Response Team include actions that are motivated by bias but may not meet the necessary elements required to prove that a crime has occurred.

    Wake Forest values freedom of expression and the open exchange of ideas. The expression of controversial ideas and differing views is a vital part of University discourse. The expression of an idea or point of view some may find offensive or inflammatory is not necessarily a bias-related incident. While this value of openness protects controversial ideas, it does not protect harassment or expressions of bias or hate aimed at individuals that violate the Student Code of Conduct.

    The Bias Incident Response Steering Committee will review bias incidents reported and University responses to those incidents on a regular basis and share aggregate findings in a confidential form with the University community. Through these reports and responses, we as a community can gain a better understanding of one another’s experiences and build a more caring community.

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Green Light Policies
  • Strategic Plan Vision and Mission Statements

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: April 14, 2017

    From its rich religious heritage, Wake Forest is committed to sustaining an environment where vital beliefs and faith traditions can engage secular thought in a climate of academic freedom and an unfettered search for truth.

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  • Boiling Point

    November 26, 2014

    By Daniel Schere at Yes!Weekly Students and faculty gathered in Wait Chapel on the campus of Wake Forest University, November 19, for a town hall discussion on campus policing, treatment of minorities and other student concerns. The discussion featured a four-member panel that included Vice President of Campus Life Penny Rue, and Regina Lawson, chief of campus police. During the question and answer period, one of the hot topics that surfaced was the recent sighting of messages written in chalk such as “Wake will lie for your money” that suggested the university was not providing a safe en vironment for […]

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  • Thought Reform 101

    March 1, 2000

    At Wake Forest University last fall, one of the few events designated as “mandatory” for freshman orientation was attendance at Blue Eyed, a filmed racism awareness workshop in which whites are abused, ridiculed, made to fail, and taught helpless passivity so that they can identify with “a person of color for a day.” In Swarthmore College’s dormitories, in the fall of 1998, first-year students were asked to line up by skin color, from lightest to darkest, and to step forward and talk about how they felt concerning their place in that line. Indeed, at almost all of our campuses, some […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Wake Forest University

    May 5, 2014

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for May 2014: Wake Forest University. Wake Forest’s “Campus Posting” policy explicitly restricts student postings on the basis of their viewpoint. Not only does the policy ban any postings subjectively deemed “sexist,” “racist,” “derogatory,” or not in “good taste,” but it threatens violators with fines and disciplinary action. With this policy, Wake Forest places an impermissibly heavy burden on students wishing to express controversial political or social opinions on campus.

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