Western State Colorado University

Location: Gunnison, Colorado
Website: http://www.western.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 10th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Western State Colorado 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.
Green Light Policies
  • Student Handbook: Computer and Data Networks- Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: July 9, 2015

    Free expression of ideas is central to the academic process. Western computer system administrators will not remove any information from individual accounts, servers or electronic bulletin boards maintained in individual accounts unless it is determined that: … The information infringes on the rights of others or the normal functioning of the University, because it is disruptive of the university’s computer system, or is otherwise not in compliance with the legal and ethical usage responsibilities outlined in Federal, State, and University policies.

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  • Student Handbook: General Definitions and Conditions of Misconduct- Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 20, 2015

    The University defines harassment as conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it so undermines and detracts from a student’s educational experience or creates a hostile environment and essentially denies a student equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities. Conduct over social media that rises to this level is prohibited. Harassment, as defined above, is not protected by the First Amendment.

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  • Student Handbook: General Definitions and Conditions of Misconduct- Interference and Infringement

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: May 20, 2015

    As an academic community, Western State College is committed to the open exchange of ideas where all views, popular and unpopular, can be freely advocated.

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  • Student Handbook: Anti-Discrimination Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 20, 2015

    Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other unwelcome verbal and physical conduct based on sex when: … Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially and unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment.

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  • Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: May 20, 2015

    Sexual Harassment is:

    • Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, without regard to the gender of the Complainant and Respondent;
    • That is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying, or limiting someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from WSCU’s educational program or activities, or work activities, and;
    • The unwelcome behavior is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.

    A hostile environment is created by unwelcome sexual behavior or behavior directed at an individual because of that individual’s sex, gender or sexual orientation that is offensive, hostile and/or intimidating and that adversely affects that individual’s university work/learning/living/program performance. Harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive/persistent and patently/objectively offensive that it substantially interferes with the conditions of education or employment, from both a subjective (the alleged victim’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.

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  • 2016 Commencement Season Relatively Calm, But Lacks Viewpoint Diversity

    May 2, 2016

    By Stephanie Keaveny at The John William Pope Center Each year commencement season brings the opportunity for celebrities and politicians to speak to college graduates and impart sage advice… Read more here.

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  • New Threat to Campus Speech: Department of Education’s Plans for Racial Harassment, Report Says

    December 11, 2015

    By Peter Maxwell at The College Fix Fear that agency’s guidance could ‘parallel’ broad sexual-harassment rules Despite a plunge this year in the number of universities with severe restrictions on free speech, new threats are on the horizon thanks to outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent statements on racial issues, according to a new report. For the first time since the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education started tracking speech codes on college campuses, less than half of American colleges it has rated maintain “red light” policies, FIRE’s annual “Spotlight” report said. Between September 2014 and September 2015, FIRE downgraded 10 universities […]

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  • Report: Campus Free Speech Might Be Spreading, But the Federal Government Wants to Stop That

    December 10, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason.com Some good news and some bad news from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education: the number of college campuses maintaining restrictions on speech has decreased for an eighth consecutive year, but the Education Department’s guidance on sexual harassment continues to pose a significant threat to free expression. According to FIRE’s 2016 report on “The State of Free Speech on Our Nation’s Campuses,” just 49.3 percent of American universities maintain severely unconstitutional speech codes. This is the first time in FIRE’s 16-year history that statistic has dipped below 50 percent. Additionally, six universities eliminated speech […]

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  • FIRE’s Majeed: 2015 Already a Good Year for Speech Code Reform

    July 30, 2015

    Over at The Huffington Post today, my colleague Azhar Majeed takes an encouraging survey of the solid progress FIRE has already made in 2015 in reforming restrictive speech codes. Azhar reviews the four schools that have already earned FIRE’s best, most speech-friendly “green light” rating thus far in 2015—George Mason University, Purdue University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Western State Colorado University—and highlights the important roles that students and faculty can play in improving policies. Taking a close look at Purdue, Azhar writes: These changes benefit faculty members and students tremendously in the exercise of their […]

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  • Western State Colorado University Earns FIRE’s Highest Rating for Free Speech

    July 21, 2015

    GUNNISON, Colo., July 21, 2015—Western State Colorado University (Western) has eliminated its speech codes, earning the highest, “green light” rating for free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). With assistance from FIRE, Western joins a prestigious group of colleges and universities that have reformed their policies on student expression to ensure compliance with the First Amendment. “FIRE is very pleased to welcome Western State Colorado University to the distinguished list of institutions committed to protecting students’ freedom of speech,” said Azhar Majeed, Director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Education Program. “We commend Western’s administration for working with […]

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