West Virginia University

Location: Morgantown, West Virginia
Type: Public
Tell West Virginia University to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

West Virginia 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

Campus Climate

Overall Ranking

out of 154 colleges surveyed Read more
  • WVU BOG Governance Rule 1.8: Freedom of Expression: Higher Education and the First Amendment

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    The University expects that persons engaging in expressive activities will demonstrate civility … Read More
  • WVU BOG Governance Rule 1.8: Freedom of Expression

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 21, 2021

    The primary function of higher education is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research, teaching and public service. To fulfill this function a free interchange of ideas is necessary within its walls and within the world beyond. It follows that the University must do everything it can to ensure withi... Read More
  • Acceptable Use of Data and Technology Resources Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: April 15, 2022

    University Data and Technology Resources must never be subject to Unacceptable Use, which means the following: … Intentionally transmitting, receiving, accessing, printing, or storing any communication or content of a defamatory, discriminatory, harassing, obscene, or sexually explicit nature in violation of f... Read More
  • WVU BOG Finance and Administration Rule 5.5: Use of University Facilities

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: January 21, 2021

    Assemblies of persons may occur on any public grounds on the campus. All outdoor grounds are public grounds, unless those areas are not generally open to the public, such as Athletic Fields. Outdoor assembly areas, as designated by the University, may be reserved in advance for assemblies of persons with more than 5... Read More
  • WVU BOG Governance Rule 1.6: Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Misconduct, Stalking, Retaliation, and Relationships

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 21, 2021

    3.3.1 “Harassment” is conduct that creates a Hostile Environment, as defined below, and is based upon an individual’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, physical or mental disability, marital or family status, pregnancy, veteran status, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law... Read More
  • Student Conduct Code and Discipline Procedure: “Prohibited computer or electronic activity”

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: October 13, 2021

    “Prohibited computer or electronic activity” means (1) unauthorized entry into a file to use, read, change the contents, or other purpose; (2) unauthorized transfer of a file; (3) unauthorized use of another individual’s identification and password; (4) use of a computer or other electronic device to unreasonably in... Read More

FIRE surveyed roughly 37,000 students at 154 colleges and universities about the climate for free speech at their institutions. In 2021, FIRE released rankings of those schools, based on a number of factors, including openness, tolerance, self-expression, administrative support for free speech, and campus policies, scoring overall speech climate on a scale from 0-100. See the full report on FIRE’s 2021 College Free Speech Rankings for more information.



Overall Ranking 112/154
Ideological Diversity 10/159

Overall / out of a top score of 100

Overall Score 58.09
Openness 9.41
Tolerance (Liberals) 9.22
Tolerance (Conservatives) 7.43
Administrative Support 5.9
Comfort 16.1
Disruptive Conduct 10.02
Speech Code YELLOW
  • West Virginia delegates defend open inquiry, with more to be done

    August 5, 2020

    Twelve members of the West Virginia House of Delegates are defending open inquiry at West Virginia University and calling for needed education on the First Amendment.  In a July 30 letter to WVU president E. Gordon Gee, the delegates defend the participation of W.P. Chedester, the chief of West Virginia University Police, in a June… Read more

  • West Virginia University attempts to claim sanctions are not sanctions and disciplinary proceedings are not disciplinary proceedings

    January 18, 2019

    West Virginia University Dean of Students G. Corey Farris responded on Dec. 21 to a FIRE  letter, which called on the university to rescind sanctions placed on five WVU fraternities without due process. The sanctions — ranging from mandatory educational programs to loss of official university recognition — were a result of the “Reaching the… Read more

  • West Virginia University re-punishes fraternities for old violations, administrator falsely claims ‘student organizations do not have due process rights’

    December 11, 2018

    On Dec. 7, 2018, FIRE wrote a letter to West Virginia University asking the university to revoke sanctions imposed on five fraternities by its “Reaching the Summit” working group imposed without basic due process protections. The story of the Reaching the Summit initiative began in February 2018, when President Gordon Gee (no relation to the… Read more

  • Leadership roundup: How college leaders are answering questions about free speech

    April 25, 2017

    Controversy around free speech on college campuses seems to only be escalating: Charles Murray’s disastrous visit to Middlebury College, the violent response to Milo Yiannopoulos’ visit to the University of California, Berkeley, the shutting down of Heather Mac Donald’s Claremont McKenna College event, and just last week, Berkeley’s attempt to shut down Ann Coulter’s visit… Read more

  • West Virginia Joins Other State Courts in Protecting Faculty Records

    June 2, 2015

    Last month, West Virginia’s highest court joined several other state courts in striking a fair balance between the disclosure of public documents and protecting free academic discourse. On May 21, the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia held that West Virginia University School of Medicine (WVU) was not required to release a professor’s documents,… Read more

  • This Month in FIRE History: The End of a Free Speech Zone at West Virginia University

    December 28, 2009

    Seven years ago this month, FIRE won our first victory against a so-called “free speech zone” at West Virginia University. The policy, which quarantined free expression to two small areas of campus, was brought to FIRE’s attention by the leaders of the West Virginia University Free Speech Consortium, Michael Bomford and Matthew Poe. It took… Read more

  • Free Speech Zones, Past and Present

    July 10, 2007

    In yesterday’s Campus Alert, FIRE’s weekly column in the New York Post, we discussed the disturbing prevalence of free speech zones at America’s public universities. Providing readers with a representative sample of schools that either currently maintain free speech zones or have done so in the past, we wrote: Onerous speech zones have been reported… Read more

  • WVU Newspaper on Presidential Candidate’s Free Speech Record

    April 10, 2007

    Bravo to The Daily Athenaeum, West Virginia University (WVU)’s student newspaper, whose editorial board voiced its concern over WVU presidential candidate M. Duane Nellis for free speech issues at Kansas State University (KSU), where Nellis currently serves as provost.   In 2005, FIRE joined an amicus brief denouncing the removal of student publications adviser Ronald… Read more

  • Emmett Hogan on 2006: The More Things Change…?

    January 5, 2007

    Emmett Hogan is a student at University of Michigan Law School and a luminary early FIRE employee. As we looked back on 2006 in campus rights and abuses I wanted to check in with him for his thoughts on the past year in FIRE history. This was his thoughtful response: One of FIRE’s most gripping… Read more

  • Zoning Out Free Speech at Joliet Junior College

    January 4, 2007

    Last week, the Daily Southtown (Ill.) published an editorial criticizing the trustees of Joliet Junior College for adopting a new free speech zone policy. Although the new policy seems to be improved because it moves these zones closer to where students actually gather, the editorial board rightly questions why the policy wasn’t completely abolished. The… Read more

  • The Trouble with Free Speech Zones

    June 24, 2005

    The Daytona Beach News-Journal article that Charles discusses below highlights the controversy over many public universities’ “free speech zone” policies—policies that limit free speech to specific, and often tiny, areas of campus. FIRE President David French is quoted as saying that free speech zone policies are “very common”—“[i]t’s gotten to the point where if I’m… Read more

  • Calls for Censorship in Texas

    February 21, 2005

    The Denton, Texas, Record-Chronicle carried a story on Saturday (registration required) about an uproar over a free-expression issue at the University of North Texas. Apparently, the university chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) at UNT held a “Capture an Illegal Immigrant” event to draw attention to what they see as the problem of… Read more

  • This Month in FIRE History: FIRE Declares Free Speech Should Not Be Quarantined to Tiny ‘Free Speech Zones’

    February 17, 2005

    Three years ago this month, back when FIRE was in its toddlerhood, we won our very first victory in the battle against so-called Free Speech Zones. These “speech zone” policies restrict free speech and expression to tiny corners of campus and have been identified (and often defeated, thankfully) at dozens of campuses across the country…. Read more