Washington & Lee University

Location: Lexington, Virginia
Website: http://www2.wlu.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

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

Speech Code Rating

Washington & Lee 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 here.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Yellow Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Social Media Guidelines

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: December 15, 2017

    The basic principle is that members of the community are expected to adhere to the same levels of civility in their online conversations as in their face-to-face conversations.  The same laws, University policies, guidelines, and personal and professional expectations for interacting with all University constituents apply online as in the real world.  For example, posting hate speech or confidential information about university students may constitute a violation of existing university policies and would be handled as such.

    » Read More

  • Student Handbook: Student Judicial Council

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: December 15, 2017

    The SJC believes that honorable behavior is a University Community Standard (“Standard”) that must be upheld. Students are bound to this Standard just as they are bound to the Honor System. Any person who believes a student has deviated from this Standard may bring a complaint  to the SJC. Violations of the Standard include, but are not limited to, the following: … Conduct unbecoming of a Washington and Lee student.

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  • University Facilities Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies, Security Fee Policies
    Last updated: November 7, 2018

    This Policy is intended to set forth the processes, procedures, and requirements for the use of University Facilities and to facilitate the efficient, safe, and orderly use of such facilities and grounds, consistent with the University’s educational mission.

    Major Event means any Event where one or more of the following applies:

    1. Over 50 people are anticipated to attend the Event; …
    3. The Event is likely to interfere with other University business, functions, and/or activities; or
    4.  Alcohol is intended to be served (other than strictly for religious purposes).

    Requests made by an Internal Group or a Sponsored Group to use University Facilities for Major Events must be made at least four (4) weeks prior to the date of the Major Event.

    The facility usage fees for University Facilities will vary by the specific Facility being used. Internal Groups and Sponsored Groups will not generally be charged a facility usage fee, but may be responsible for other costs associated with the Event, as determined by the University in its sole discretion.

    For University-Affiliated Groups and Sponsored Groups, the Director of Public Safety will determine how any costs associated with parking attendants and/or security will be allocated, in his/her sole discretion.

    » Read More

  • Statement on Response to Bias Incidents

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: December 15, 2017

    Bias incidents – – incidents that one could reasonably conclude may intimidate, mock, degrade, or threaten individuals or groups because of actual or perceived inclusion in any of the categories or statuses listed above – – can adversely affect the members of our University community and undermine the climate of civility and respect necessary to achieve and maintain a diverse and inclusive community. The University is therefore committed to responding promptly and effectively, as appropriate, to bias incidents reported by members of the University community.

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  • University Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Other Than Sex

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 15, 2017

    To constitute harassment in violation of this policy there must be a finding that the conduct was: (1) based on one or more of the protected categories mentioned above; (2) unwelcome and offensive; and (3) either severe (in the case of isolated incidents) or repeated and pervasive such that it had the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile or abusive work or educational environment at the University.

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  • Student Handbook: Statement on Student Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: December 15, 2017

    The community expects civil, decent behavior designed to encourage mutual respect for our individual differences, desires, and ways of thinking.

    Instances of uncivil behavior involving students are most effectively dealt with in personal and informal ways, not by formal conduct procedures. Therefore, members of the Washington and Lee community who believe themselves to have been objects of such behavior should first seek resolution by personal consultation with friends, faculty, designated advisers, or others who may intervene in the dispute. If such direct efforts do not resolve the matter, instances of uncivil behavior involving students may be reported to the Associate Dean of Students for Student Conduct.

    » Read More

Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Computing Resources, Network and Email Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: December 15, 2017

    Neither the network pathways nor W&L-owned computer systems are to be used: … for harassing, fraudulent, or threatening purposes.

    » Read More

  • Sexual Discrimination and Misconduct Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: December 15, 2017

    Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature (sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature); or unwelcome conduct based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, when one or more of the following conditions are present: …  The unwelcome conduct unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment under both an objective (a reasonable person’s view) and subjective (the complainant’s view) standard.

    Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment as defined above may include a severe, persistent, or pervasive pattern of unwelcome conduct that includes one or more of the following:

    • Physical conduct:
      • Unwelcome touching, sexual/physical assault, impeding, restraining, or blocking movements
      • Unwanted sexual advances
    • Verbal conduct:
      • Making or using derogatory comments, epithets, slurs, or humor
      • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature; graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or invitations
      • Offensive comments of a sexual nature, including persistent or pervasive sexually explicit statements, questions, jokes, or anecdotes
    • Visual conduct:
      • Leering; making sexual gestures; displaying suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, or posters in a public space or forum
      • Severe, persistent, or pervasive visual displays of suggestive, erotic, or degrading, sexually oriented images that are not pedagogically appropriate
    • Written conduct: letters, notes or electronic communications, including social media, containing comments, words, or images described above

    » Read More

  • The Other Side of the Sexual Assault Crisis

    December 10, 2015

    By Max Kutner at Newsweek When you are the most notorious alleged college rapist in the country, it takes a lot of guts to attend your graduation ceremony. For most of Columbia University’s Class of 2015, graduation day was an exuberant celebration of four years of hard work at one of the country’s most prestigious schools. For Paul Nungesser, it was yet another reminder of how alone he was on that storied campus, and how hated he was. He and his parents had agonized over whether to attend the ceremony because his classmate Emma Sulkowicz had accused him of raping […]

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  • Big mandate on campus

    September 17, 2002

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  • Due Process Legal Update: Judges in Virginia, Tennessee Rule in Favor of Accused Students

    August 18, 2015

    As Torch readers undoubtedly know, college students accused of sexual misconduct are routinely denied due process in campus judicial proceedings. In recent years, an increasing number of those students have been taking their universities to court, arguing that unfair campus proceedings violated their constitutional due process rights, breached contracts, and even discriminated against them on the basis of sex. More than 50 such lawsuits have been filed since the Office for Civil Rights issued its groundbreaking “Dear Colleague” letter in April 2011, and at least 25 of them are still awaiting even a preliminary ruling. Over the past two weeks, […]

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  • The Problem with Mandating Civility

    October 11, 2012

    FIRE is often referred to as a “watchdog” organization, and that is indeed an important part of what we do. But those who follow our work know that we also love to reward schools for upholding students’ free speech rights. That is why when a university earns a “green light” rating—a distinction currently awarded to just 15 out of the hundreds of schools we survey—FIRE does as much as possible to ensure that good news receives the maximum publicity. For example, we publish an annual list of the best colleges for free speech on The Huffington Post. In the last […]

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