Western Kentucky University

Location: Bowling Green, Kentucky
Type: Public
Tell Western Kentucky University to revise its speech policies by filling out this form.

Speech Code Rating

Western Kentucky 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
  • Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: November 29, 2018

    Examples of inappropriate conduct include: … Using abusive or harassing language in either public or private messages or content; Knowingly visiting pornographic or illegal sites; and/or disseminating, soliciting, or storing sexually oriented messages or images that are not required as part of educational req... Read More
  • Title IX: Sexual Assault/Misconduct Brochure

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 29, 2018

    Sexual Misconduct/Assault Defined Examples include, but are not limited to, the following: Unwelcome physical contact such as touching; Persistent, unwelcome requests for sexual contact; Requests for romantic or sexual contact from someone who grades, advises, or supervises you; Sexualized behavior accompanied by ... Read More
  • First Amendment & Academic Freedom

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: November 29, 2018

    Title IX is intended to protect students from sex discrimination, not to regulate the content of speech. OCR recognizes that the offensiveness of a particular expression as perceived by some students, standing alone, is not a legally sufficient basis to establish a sexually hostile environment under Title IX. In ord... Read More
  • Discrimination and Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 29, 2018

    B. Harassment: any physical, behavioral or verbal abuse of a person based upon sex, race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, marital status, age, uniform service, veteran status, or physical or mental disability, where: 1. Toleran... Read More
  • Regulations Governing Time, Place and Manner of Meetings, Assemblies or Demonstrations

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: November 29, 2018

    Planned or spontaneous meetings, assemblies or demonstrations may be conducted by members of the University community in those appropriate areas of the campus which are regularly available to the University community … Reservations are not required for utilization of the following areas: … WKU is an open... Read More
  • Student Rights and Responsibilities

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: November 29, 2018

    Students have the right to enjoy the same freedoms as are guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and to expect an education of the highest quality. Read More
  • Student Code of Conduct: Harassment

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: November 29, 2018

    Any physical, behavioral or verbal abuse of a person based upon gender, race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sexual orientation, marital status, age, uniform service, veteran status, or physical or mental disability, where: 1. Tolerance of or participation in the offensive ... Read More
At present, FIRE has not been publicly involved in any cases at this school.
  • Student Newspaper’s First Amendment Lawsuit Against University of Kansas Administrators Is Important Reminder about Need to Check Student Government Power

    February 10, 2016

    On February 5, the University Daily Kansan filed a lawsuit against two administrators of the University of Kansas (KU), alleging that the administrators failed to intervene when the student government slashed funding to the Kansan over an editorial criticizing the results of a student government election. The Kansan story begins in April 2014, when a… Read more

  • Western Kentucky University Revises Speech Code of the Month Policy

    March 17, 2014

    In some good news for free speech on campus, Western Kentucky University (WKU) has revised a “Computing Ethics” policy that drew condemnation from the university’s Student Government Association (SGA) and was named FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month for March 2014. Because this was WKU’s only “red light” policy, the university now earns an improved, “yellow light” rating in FIRE’s Spotlight database.

  • Speech Code of the Month: Western Kentucky University

    March 10, 2014

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2014: Western Kentucky University (WKU). WKU’s Computing Ethics Policy prohibits using university email to send messages that are “reasonably likely to be perceived as offensive or disparaging” based on personal characteristics, and it also prohibits the use of email for “advocating religious or political opinions.” This viewpoint-discriminatory policy effectively shuts down open discourse over the university’s email system and threatens academic freedom by severely restricting what students and faculty members can say—and how they can say it—when discussing important political and social issues.

  • Continuing Progress for Western Kentucky University Reform Efforts

    October 29, 2013

    As FIRE’s Sarah McLaughlin reported earlier this month, students at Western Kentucky University (WKU) are working to move their university one step closer to a better Spotlight rating. Last week, WKU’s College Heights Herald reported on the continuing success of their efforts. Torch readers may remember that Student Government Association (SGA) Director of Public Relations Laura Harper has spearheaded the reform movement… Read more

  • Student at IU Attempts to Censor Fellow Students by Vandalizing Pro-Life Display

    October 1, 2013

    FIRE often exposes how colleges censor students—but last week, it was a student at Indiana University who decided to engage in some vigilante censorship by vandalizing a pro-life display. According to a student account, new student organization Students for Life at IU intended to have a peaceful demonstration on campus as part of an organized protest dubbed the “Planned… Read more

  • Western Kentucky Removes Restrictions on Social Media, but Policy Remains a ‘Red Light’

    March 23, 2012

    Western Kentucky University (WKU) has revised a "red light" policy in its Student Handbook regulating student use of social media, according to the WKU student newspaper the College Heights Herald. The move is a boon for WKU students’ free speech rights, who will now enjoy greater freedoms when using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media…. Read more

  • Western Kentucky U. Getting Tough on Social Media at Expense of First Amendment

    February 27, 2012

    As reported late last week by the College Heights Herald and today by the Associated Press, Western Kentucky University is making alarming inroads against its students’ use of social media. First, WKU President Gary Ransdell took to the university’s official Facebook page with this message for students about "responsible" use of social media applications. Ransdell… Read more

  • Western Kentucky U. Student Senator Seeks to Reform ‘Red Light’ Policy

    February 22, 2012

    The College Heights Herald, the main student newspaper at Western Kentucky University (WKU), reports a promising development coming from WKU’s Student Government Association. Student senator Christopher Costa, the Herald reports, is preparing a resolution for consideration by the SGA that would call for the removal of WKU’s External Computer Use and Ethics policy from WKU’s… Read more

  • Your Tuition Dollars at Work

    September 16, 2010

    We have written before about the problem of administrative bloat on college campuses and its tendency to lead to the micromanagement of students’ lives, particularly in the area of free speech. As Azhar discussed last month here on The Torch, a recent study by the Goldwater Institute found that between 1993 and 2007, the number… Read more