Western Michigan University

Location: Kalamazoo, Michigan
Type: Public
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Speech Code Rating

Western Michigan 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
  • Student Code: Proscribed Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: January 9, 2019

    Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to conduct sanctions … Bullying / Cyber-bullying – Repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise p... Read More
  • Western Michigan University Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking POLICY AND PROCEDURES

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 9, 2019

    Sexual Harassment: Any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, i.e. it is sufficiently serious, pervasive o... Read More
  • Student Code: Proscribed Conduct

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 9, 2019

    Any student found to have committed the following misconduct is subject to conduct sanctions … Use of computing facilities to send obscene or abusive messages. Read More
  • WMUnet Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 9, 2019

    You are not allowed to use your connection to: … Post or send obscene, pornographic, sexually explicit, or harassing material as defined by applicable federal and state law. Read More
  • Posting and Distributing Written Materials on Campus

    Speech Code Rating: Yellow
    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: January 9, 2019

    Because of limited space, individuals must register all materials with the Office of Student Engagement.  Registered material may only be placed in authorized posting areas.  If the material is not stamped for posting, it may be removed.  Materials posted over validly-placed flyers or posters may be removed. Read More
  • Student Code: Student Rights

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 9, 2019

    Students have the right to free inquiry, expression, and association. Read More
  • RSO Handbook: Outdoor Space Policy

    Speech Code Rating: Green
    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: January 9, 2019

    Outdoor Common Spaces. WMU will not restrict free expression in “areas generally available to students and the community,” defined as grassy areas, walkways or other similar common areas. This definition governs the phrase “areas generally available to students and the community” as it is use... Read More
  • Western Michigan University – Stand Up For Speech Lawsuit

    October 20, 2014

    This lawsuit is a part of FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.  In 2014, a Western Michigan University (WMU) student organization filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the university with assistance from FIRE. The lawsuit alleged that when Kalamazoo Peace Center (KPC) sought to secure university space for rapper and social activist Boots Riley’s keynote address… Read more

  • WMU Has Now Posted Its New Policies Where Students Can Find Them

    June 16, 2015

    Over the past few days, FIRE published several blog posts, sent a barrage of tweets and posted a clock webpage (www.wmuhidestheball.org) pointing out that Western Michigan University had hidden the policies it had promised to enact as part of a settlement in a lawsuit filed under FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project.   WMU apparently got… Read more

  • The Clock is Ticking for Western Michigan University

    June 15, 2015

    As my colleague Catherine Sevcenko informed Torch readers last week, Western Michigan University (WMU) shirked its legal and moral duties to its students by making its free speech policies nearly impossible to find. Those same policies are the ones WMU agreed to change and enact after student group Kalamazoo Peace Center (KPC) sued WMU for… Read more

  • WMU Sacrifices Students’ First Amendment Rights to Keep Settlement Agreement Secret

    June 12, 2015

    On April 30, 2015, Western Michigan University (WMU) and the Kalamazoo Peace Center (KPC) settled a lawsuit over WMU’s use of an unwritten security policy to keep rapper and social activist Boots Riley off of campus, marking the fifth victory in FIRE’s Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project. That should have been the end of… Read more

  • WMU Can’t Spin Away the Facts: It Has to Pay Damages and Reform Its Speech Codes

    May 6, 2015

    Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project plaintiff Nola Wiersma has one regret about settling her First Amendment lawsuit with Western Michigan University: She didn’t get an apology from the university for violating her constitutional rights. We generally encourage plaintiffs to let university defendants save face and savor the fact that they have restored free expression… Read more

  • Western Michigan U. Settles Boots Riley ‘Speech Tax’ Lawsuit, ‘Stand Up For Speech’ Scores Fifth Victory

    May 4, 2015

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 4, 2015—Western Michigan University (WMU) has agreed to settle a First Amendment lawsuit that alleged the university taxed controversial speech by making student organizers pay for extra security to host rapper and social activist Boots Riley on campus. The lawsuit, filed in October 2014 as part of the Foundation for Individual… Read more

  • FIRE’s Sevcenko: Censorship on Michigan’s College Campuses Must Stop

    November 6, 2014

    FIRE fights not just college administrators’ efforts to censor speech on campus but also students’ complacency with, or even support for, such censorship. FIRE Associate Director of Litigation Catherine Sevcenko wrote for The Huffington Post Tuesday to remind students what happens when administrators are allowed discretion in allowing or disallowing speech on campus. Catherine first… Read more

  • Lawsuit! Student Group Sues After Western Michigan U. Taxes Controversial Speech

    October 20, 2014

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2014—A Western Michigan University (WMU) student organization has filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the university today with assistance from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). The lawsuit stems from WMU’s demand that the Kalamazoo Peace Center (KPC), a registered student organization, pay a hefty security fee before hosting rapper… Read more

  • Western Michigan University Bans Rapper, Burdens Free Expression

    April 18, 2014

    Have you ever been a participant in, or vocally supportive of, the “Occupy” movement? Have you ever spoken in favor of (or against) a controversial cause or idea? Is there something about you that is susceptible to being unreasonably interpreted as even mildly suspicious? If you answered any of these questions in the affirmative, good luck speaking your mind on Western Michigan University’s (WMU’s) campus—at least without the watchful gaze of law enforcement constantly surveilling you and your listeners.

  • ‘Speech Code of the Month’ in ‘The FIRE Quarterly’

    May 25, 2007

    As Torch readers know, each month, FIRE features a college or university with a particularly egregious speech code as its Speech Code of the Month. We use Speech Code of the Month to educate the public about the ever-present problem of speech codes on campus, but the feature also helps put public pressure on these… Read more

  • New Speech Code of the Month Website Feature

    April 13, 2007

    FIRE’s Speech Code of the Month program has been an important vehicle for change. Since June 2005, five universities—Albertson College of Idaho, the University of Nevada at Reno, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Jacksonville State University, and the University of Mississippi—have changed their policies after being named Speech Code of the Month. In addition, the… Read more

  • Western Michigan University to Revise ‘Sexism’ Policy

    March 21, 2007

    Students at Western Michigan University (WMU) are freer today thanks to a concerned alumnus who wrote to an open-minded university president about an unlawful policy in place at the school. After FIRE named WMU’s sexism policy its March 2007 Speech Code of the Month, WMU alumnus Brian Akers wrote to WMU President Diether Haenicke to… Read more

  • Speech Code of the Month: Western Michigan University

    March 1, 2007

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2007: Western Michigan University. Not content to merely prohibit sexual harassment, this public university actually bans “sexism,” which it defines as “the perception and treatment of any person, not as an individual, but as a member of a category based on sex.” The Policy on… Read more