Location: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Federal Circuit: 3rd Circuit
West Chester University of Pennsylvania 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.
September 19, 2005
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives brought together a committee to examine allegations that Pennsylvania’s public universities were plagued by liberal ideology and indoctrination. David A. French, at the time president of FIRE, served as a legal adviser to the panel. FIRE released FIRE Report on the First Amendment Responsibilities of Pennsylvania State-Funded Colleges and Universities, explaining that Pennsylvania universities are bound to follow the strictures of the U.S. and Pennsylvania Constitutions, notably to respect the expressive rights of students and faculty members, to protect religious liberty on campus, and to protect freedom of conscience on campus.» Read More
Red Light Policies
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Sexual harassment also includes, but is not limited to, the following types of behaviors:
- Unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature
- Comments, jokes, questions of a sexual nature
- Pressure for sexual activity
- Looks and gestures of a sexual nature
- Obscene photographs, cartoons, or graphics
- Domestic or dating violence
Ram’s Eye View Student Handbook: Policy on Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources and Systems 14-15
Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
The following rules must be observed: Never send or forward unsolicited e-mail, including chain mail … Never send harassing, annoying, threatening, defamatory, offensive, or fraudulent messages or images to others.
Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
Acts of intolerance are behaviors that are threatening, intimidating, or offensive and are motivated by bias toward a person or group of people based on their gender, race, color, religion, national origin, and/or sexual orientation.
After an initial telephone call to the Department of Public Safety, officers are dispatched to the scene to gather evidence and begin an investigation. A special police investigator in the Department of Public Safety, who investigates threats and acts of intolerance even in the absence of a crime, will follow up with victims to ensure they understand the services available to them and to update them on the investigation when appropriate.
What happens if someone is found guilty of committing an act of intolerance? Alleged perpetrators involved in the act of intolerance or intimidation may be adjudicated according to the University’s Student Code of Conduct and may be subject to disciplinary action, if found guilty of violating the Code of Conduct, ranging from a disciplinary reprimand to suspension and expulsion from the University.
Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
All fliers or posters to be hung in residential buildings (halls or apartments) must be approved and stamped in the Office of Residence Life and Housing Services, 202 Lawrence Center and should be presented for approval 48 hours before the advertising campaign begins (not 48 hours before the event begins).
Posters will not be posted if they promote or display drugs or alcohol (beer, wine, mixed drinks and alcohol-related paraphernalia), are sexist or discriminatory, or violate the University’s Student Code of Conduct.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other harassing conduct of a sexual nature whether intentional or not. Sexual harassment occurs when: …
- The unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to substantially limit or interfere an individual’s work, educational performance, participation in extra-curricular activities, or equal access to the University resources and opportunities; or
- Such contact creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive living, working or educational environment.
Ram’s Eye View Student Handbook: Noncommercial Literature Distribution/Nonsponsored Presentations or Demonstrations 14-15
Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
On University property (outside of buildings) generally open to the public, persons may exercise their constitutionally protected rights the free expression including distribution of noncommercial literature incidental to the exercise of these rights and nonsponsored presentations or demonstrations … Noncommercial literature distribution and nonsponsored presentations or demonstrations may be held anywhere on university property (outside of buildings) generally open to the public so long as they do not disrupt the normal operation of the University or infringe on the rights of other members of the University community.
Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
Disruptive Conduct, Harassment and Intimidation – (a) engaging in conduct that is disorderly, unnecessarily disturbs others, and/or is disruptive to the normal practices, processes, and functions of the University or local municipalities, (b) engaging in conduct that is harassing, intimidating or threatening, or (c) engaging in conduct that constitutes unlawful discrimination based on another person’s race, color, sex, religion, age or national origin. This includes conduct through electronic means.
December 20, 2007
A report issued by a Philadelphia-based civil liberties organization shows 75 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have policies restricting the free speech rights of students on campus. The report, which was published by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), surveyed 346 institutions of higher education. “With increased resources and enhanced research techniques, FIRE was able to unearth even more of these unlawful and pervasive policies than those included in last year’s report,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. Last year FIRE conducted it first nationwide investigation into speech codes, surveying 360 universities, and found 68 percent restricted speech […]» Read More
February 28, 2012
Tomorrow, February 29, FIRE’s own Peter Bonilla, Assistant Director of the Individual Rights Defense Program, will be visiting West Chester University for an event sponsored by the WCU Students For Liberty. The club is hosting a screening of the film Indoctrinate U, followed by a Q&A session featuring Peter and WCU Professor Chris Stangl: WCU Students For Liberty Presents: Indoctrinate UWednesday, February 29, 6 p.m.Swope Music Building-Gates Family Recital Hallhttp://www.facebook.com/events/346680992020359/ For supporters in or around West Chester, Pennsylvania, this is a great opportunity for a double dose of FIRE: President Greg Lukianoff is featured in the film, and Peter will […]» Read More
December 21, 2007
Philadelphia newspaper The Bulletin has an article about FIRE’s 2007 speech codes report, Spotlight on Speech Codes 2007: The State of Free Speech on our Nation’s Campuses. The article focuses on Philadelphia-area schools in particular, noting that both Drexel University and West Chester University get poor, “red light” ratings for suppressing student speech. Drexel, Torch readers may remember, has a particularly egregious speech code, banning both “inconsiderate jokes” and “inappropriately directed laughter” (whatever that means). Thanks to The Bulletin for helping bring these ridiculous policies to the public’s attention.» Read More