Western Carolina University

Location: Cullowhee, North Carolina
Website: http://www.wcu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Thank Western Carolina University for its commitment to free speech.

Speech Code Rating

Western Carolina University has been given the speech code rating Green. Green light institutions are those colleges and universities whose policies nominally protect free speech. Read more here.

  • University of North Carolina System: State of the First Amendment

    January 10, 2006

    FIRE teamed up with the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy to release the Report on the State of the First Amendment in the University of North Carolina System. The Report notes that UNC System’s many speech codes and illiberal restrictions on religious groups would likely not survive a legal challenge. It also reveals that “13 out of the 16 schools in the UNC System have at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech.”

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Green Light Policies
  • University Policy 52: Responsible Use of Information Technology Resources

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: September 10, 2018

    V.  RESPONSIBLE USE VIOLATIONS

    1. Sharing your user credentials with others;
    2. Unauthorized attempts to use, manipulate or otherwise gain access to University information or information technology resources;
    3. Unauthorized use of University information technology resources for personal gain for yourself or others;
    4. Use of University information technology resources to store, display or disseminate unlawful communications of any kind, or to harass, stalk, or threaten others, or in similar ways create an atmosphere which unreasonably interferes with the education or employment experience;
    5. Knowingly affecting the security and stability of University information technology resources, including using a system containing malicious software after becoming aware of it.

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  • Code of Student Conduct: Rules and Regulations

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 10, 2018

    Sexual Harassment – any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably denies, limits or interferes with an individual’s ability to participate in an educational program or activity. University Policy 53 – Unlawful Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation provides additional information.

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  • Code of Student Conduct: Rules and Regulations

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 10, 2018

    Harassment – unlawful speech or conduct that is unwelcome or unsolicited based upon race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, political affiliation, or veteran status that creates a hostile environment for Students, or denies or limits a Student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the University’s programs, or interferes with an employee’s work performance. (University Policy 10, University Policy 53, and UNC Board of Governors Policy Manual 700.4.2).

    Harm to Person – causing physical harm or injury to another person without their Consent and/or causing physical harm or injury to oneself. The explicit threat of a physical violent act against another or oneself.

    Lewd or Indecent Conduct – behavior constituting unlawful Sexual Harassment that a reasonable person would consider to be especially offensive or obscene in nature. Examples include, but are not limited to, defecating/urinating in public, performing consensual sexual acts in public, streaking, watching pornography in a public location, etc.

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  • University Policy 114: Free Expression and Solicitation

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies, Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: December 6, 2018

    University Groups,Recognized Student Groups, Non-University Groups and individuals alike may distribute leaflets, brochures or other written materials in any open, exterior campus space;

    Subject to Additional Guidelines described below, Recognized Student Groups, University Groups and Individuals may conduct Assemblies or Public Addresses without prior approval at any exterior campus location.  The use of the Picnic Grounds, however, requires the submission of a reservation form to the Director of the University Center at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the Assembly.  Groups comprised of twenty (20) or more persons are encouraged to notify the Director of University Police and Parking Services and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities at least forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the Assembly/Public Address so that safety measures may be provided if necessary.

    Any outdoor kiosk(s), general purpose surface and/or general purpose bulletin board on campus may be used for informational and commercial purposes by any group, including University Group(s), Recognized Student Group(s) and/or Non-University Group(s).

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  • Code of Student Conduct: Rules and Regulations

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: September 10, 2018

    Bullying – any pattern of written, electronic, or verbal communication, behavior, gesture, and/or any physical act(s) that is threatening or intimidating which places a person in actual and/or reasonable fear of harm and/or damage to personal property, and/or creates a hostile living and/or learning environment by interfering with or impairing a Student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or ability to perform the essential functions of a University job.

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  • University Policy 53: Unlawful Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 10, 2018

    With regard to students, Sexual Harassment is defined by the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) as any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably denies, limits or interferes with an individual’s ability to participate in an educational program or activity (see Hostile Environment).

    “Hostile Environment”occurs when one experiences unlawful distinction, preference, or harm as compared to others based on that individual’s Protected Status and that it is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive enough to unreasonably interfere with deny or limit: 1) an employee’s or applicant for employment’s access to employment or conditions and benefits of employment (e.g., hiring, advancement, assignment); 2) a student’s or admission applicant’s ability to participate in, access, or benefit from educational programs, services, or activities (e.g., admission, academic standing, grades, assignment, campus housing); or 3) an authorized agent’s ability to participate in an agent activity.  A Hostile Environment is one that a reasonable person (objective standard) would find hostile or abusive and one that a complainant under this policy perceives to be hostile or abusive (subjective standard).

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At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • WCU, UNC Pembroke bring speech policies in line with the Constitution, earn ‘green light’ rating

    December 6, 2018

    Dec. 6, 2018 — Western Carolina University and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke have earned the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s highest, “green light” rating for protecting student and faculty free speech, a distinction held by only 42 other institutions in the country. “Due to restrictive speech codes, most students around the country forfeit some First Amendment rights when they step onto campus — but not at these two universities,” said Azhar Majeed, FIRE’s vice president of policy reform. “We’re excited that WCU and UNC Pembroke leadership worked to ensure that their respective students enjoy the same free speech rights that […]

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  • REPORT: North Carolina is home to some of America’s best colleges for free speech

    September 24, 2018

    Eight colleges in North Carolina earn FIRE’s highest rating for free speech — more than in any other state — but 17 still maintain policies that substantially restrict student expression. PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 24, 2018 — A new report finds that North Carolina’s colleges and universities lead the way nationally for protecting student free speech. The Tar Heel State is home to eight of only 42 institutions nationwide that earn the highest, “green light” speech code rating from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Do North Carolina Students Have Freedom of Speech?, released by FIRE and the James G. Martin […]

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  • ‘Free Speech Semester’ at Western Carolina

    January 26, 2011

    On Monday, Western Carolina University (WCU) commenced a semester-long “Celebration of the First Amendment” with a presentation by Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center. The presentation was sponsored by WCU’s campus newspaper, The Western Carolinian, and funded by a 2010-11 Louis Ingelhard First Amendment Award Grant from the College Media Association.  WCU is one of the 27 percent of schools we reviewed in our 2011 speech code report that have yellow-light ratings, which means that it has policies that could too easily be used to ban or excessively regulate protected speech. (More information about WCU’s speech […]

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