Winston Salem State University

Location: Winston Salem, North Carolina
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

  • Electronic Mail Systems Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: August 14, 2014

    Electronic mail must not be used for the purpose of chain letters, personal advertisements, or solicitations. All electronic mail should be professional and courteous. The use of profanity or offensive language is prohibited.

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  • Undergraduate Catalog: Policies and Regulations Governing Student Life- General Guidelines for Student Behavior 13-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: August 14, 2014

    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 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Bullying Policies
    Last updated: August 13, 2014

    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

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Yellow Light Policies
Green Light Policies
  • Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 13, 2014

    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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  • Student Code of Conduct 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: August 13, 2014

    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 13-14

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: August 13, 2014

    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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  • 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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