Winston Salem State University

Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina
Website: http://www.wssu.edu
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 4th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Winston Salem State University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of 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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Red Light Policies

  • Undergraduate Catalog: Policies and Regulations Governing Student Life- General Guidelines for Student Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Students are not to use profanity and/or vulgar language or gestures which are deemed to be offensive and/or inappropriate for community living or an institution of higher learning.

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  • Cyber Bullying Policy

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Cyber bullying by a member of the WSSU community directed towards another is prohibited. It
    includes, but is not limited to:

    • Sending mean, threatening or harassing messages to another person through texts, e-mail,
    web pages, or instant messaging.
    • Spreading lies and rumors about victims through the internet or text messages.
    • Posting pictures without the consent of the individual.
    • Tricking someone into revealing their personal information and sending it to others.
    • Creating websites, polls, or blogs about the individual that are meant to embarrass or hurt
    the person.
    • Recording conversations or videos without the individual’s consent and then posting it
    online.

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when … such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

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  • Racial Harassment Policy

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Racial harassment is any behavior that would verbally or physically threaten, torment, badger, heckle, or persecute an individual because of his or her race.

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  • Undergraduate Catalog: Policies and Regulations Governing Student Life

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    When a student does not demonstrate the desire to live according to approved codes of social behavior, the university may suspend enrollment until the student can adjust to the required standards. The institution reserves the right to suspend and expel any student whose actions are undesirable or injurious to the university community.

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  • Student Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Students are expected to exercise judgment and discretion in their actions, and are not to:: … Engage or subject another individual, whether intentional or unintentional, in activity likely to cause physical injury, mental distress, personal indignities of a highly offensive nature; engage in fighting.

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  • Policy on Outdoor Assemblies

    Speech Code Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Anyone who wishes to sponsor or organize an assembly or public address must contact the Director of Student Activities … for an application and permit. The application must be received at least 48 hours before the proposed time and date of the event.

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  • Undergraduate Catalog: Policies and Regulations Governing Student Life- General Guidelines for Student Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Students are not to engage in any form of fighting, physical abuse, harassment, verbal abuse, or disorderly
    conduct.

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Green Light Policies
  • Student Code of Conduct

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Any activity that deliberately threatens, harasses, intimidates an individual, places an individual in reasonable fear of harm to the individual or damage to the individual’s property; or has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the individual’s daily life via the use of electronic information and communication devices, to include but not be limited to: email messages, instant messaging, text messaging, cellular telephone communications, internet blogs, social media sites, internet chat rooms, internet postings, and defamatory websites

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  • Policy on Campus Demonstrations and Disruption of University Activities

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: September 13, 2016

    Winston-Salem State University respects the rights of all groups or individuals to express opinions, publicly and privately, regarding matters relating to their welfare while members of the university community.

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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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  • Jefferson Muzzles go to 50 Colleges and Universities

    April 20, 2016

    By Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post The Thomas Jefferson Center (with which I’m involved as a member of the board of trustees) has just released its yearlyJefferson Muzzles, so I thought I’d pass along the center’s explanation of who the “winners” are this year. Note that the Ccnter supports academic freedom and free speech broadly, and not just those aspects that are legally protected by the First Amendment; so you’ll see many private institutions mentioned here, even though the First Amendment as such does not restrict private entities, as well as the public institutions to which the First Amendment applies… Read […]

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  • Yale Vs. Princeton: The Battle For Free Speech On Campus

    November 13, 2015

    By Karin Agness at Forbes Yale and Princeton will square off on the gridiron on Saturday. While the schools are tied in the Ivy League football standings, it is becoming clear that the Tigers are winning when it comes to free speech on campus. Yale is in the national spotlight this week as campus protests and confrontations there heat up highlighting a national trend of students stifling free speech and the free exchange of ideas on campus. At issue in New Haven is an email sent out by The Intercultural Affairs Committee on Halloween costume guidelines to discourage students from […]

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  • Free Speech on Campus at Risk

    November 3, 2015

    By Staff at The Virginia Gazette  Open debate or ideological conformity? This question is among the free speech issues facing institutions of higher learning nationwide, including William & Mary. To address this topic, the Society for the College, an independent non-profit alumni organization and the SFTC Student Association has engaged speaker Catherine Sevcenko, noted authority on legal issues affecting student rights, to discuss how W&M students can defend the first amendment and academic freedom on campus. Sevcenko, associate director of litigation at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, will also present some wide legal challenges affecting free speech and academic […]

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  • Free speech “zones,” police crackdowns threaten to muzzle debate

    August 19, 2009

    By Sam Wardle at IndyWeek.com Haley Koch is a senior at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, a Morehead-Cain scholar and a graduate of Sidwell Friends, a northeastern high school that counts Chelsea Clinton and Gore Vidal among its alumni. Koch has received numerous UNC-CH awards for her work as an LGBT activist and community organizer. In mid-April, she accepted the Engaged Scholarship Award on behalf of UNC-NOW, a grassroots student group Koch works with. A few days later, on April 23, she garnered another distinction: She was arrested by campus police outside of a classroom. Koch is charged with disorderly conduct […]

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  • Plain talk about free speech

    January 16, 2008

    It must have seemed like a good idea at the time-making sure that people who wished to spontaneously grab a soapbox and publicly announce their views on the campus of Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) do so in an appropriate fashion. But by declaring a campus “free speech zone,” which limits speakers to one small area of campus, the WSSU Board of Trustees stepped right into one of the most controversial issues in American higher education. Crafting effective speech regulations that do not infringe on the rights of the regulated today requires hair-splitting attention to legal precedents and language. Recently, Fayetteville […]

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  • WSSU will alter policy on protests and demonstrations

    January 6, 2008

    The chancellor of Winston-Salem State University said Friday that the university will revise a new policy that limits unscheduled protests and demonstrations to one area of campus. Donald Reaves said that the new policy wasn’t intended to limit free speech at WSSU. But it has caught the attention of a national civil-liberties watchdog group that has successfully helped challenge free-speech zones at public universities across the country. The Foundation for Individual Rights for Education, or FIRE, sent a letter to WSSU on Friday criticizing the university’s policy for being too restrictive and suggesting that it may violate the First Amendment. […]

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  • WSSU assigns area for protests

    December 23, 2007

    Any groups who want to hold unscheduled demonstrations and protests at Winston-Salem State University will now be able to gather on only one area of campus. The adoption of a “free-speech zone’’ at WSSU – an idea that has brought controversy elsewhere, and was rescinded last year at UNC Greensboro – was approved by WSSU’s trustees earlier this month. The area designated for free speech is the breezeway in front of the Thompson Center. The center is a main building on campus that houses many student-affairs offices, such as financial aid and admissions, as well as the campus bookstore and […]

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