Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Location: Worcester, Massachusetts
Website: http://www.wpi.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 1st Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Worcester Polytechnic Institute 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.

At present, FIRE has not been involved in any cases at this school.

Red Light Policies

  • Equal Opportunity, Anti-Discrimination & Harassment and Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2019

    Unlawful discrimination or harassment consists of treating a person differently in any WPI program or activity based on their race, sex, age, color, national origin, religion, genetic identity, disability, gender identity or expression, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, transgender status, veteran status, or any other protected status. This includes, for example, the display or circulation of written or electronic materials or pictures degrading to either gender or to racial, ethnic, or religious groups; and verbal abuse or insults directed at or made in the presence of members of a racial, ethnic, or minority group.

    » Read More


Yellow Light Policies
  • Undergraduate Housing Contract

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2019

    Only 30% of any single wall or door may be covered with posters and/or hangings. All such decorations must be affixed flat against the wall/ door. … Obscene or offensive materials are strictly prohibited.

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  • Acceptable Use Policy

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2019

    Users must not use any WPI system or service for unethical or illegal activities. Users shall respect the privacy of others, use data only as authorized by the data owner, and not use WPI technology resources to harass or attack others.

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  • WPI Student Code of Conduct: Expectations of Student Behavior

    Speech Code Category: Other Speech Codes
    Last updated: January 2, 2019

    Listed below are broad categories of expectations and responsibilities to which all students are expected to abide. Each category includes examples of prohibited behaviors; however, the list is not exhaustive and the Dean of Students Office preserves the right to identify additional prohibited behaviors, as necessary and appropriate.

    A. Respect the safety of community members by avoiding behavior that harms, endangers, or intimidates others. Prohibited behaviors include abuse, assault, bullying/cyberbullying, fraud, hazing, impairing the well-being of another community member or self, retaliation, or threat.

    D. Engage respectfully and civilly with other members and guests of the WPI community.

    E. Treat fellow students with respect, specifically associated with any words or actions of a sexual nature.

    G. Avoid behavior that causes disruption in the WPI or broader community. Prohibited behaviors include disorderly or harassing conduct on or off-campus, at university-sponsored, affiliated, or supervised functions, or affiliated academic/professional programs that adversely affects the WPI community or institutional reputation.

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  • Equal Opportunity, Anti-Discrimination & Harassment and Sexual Harassment

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: January 2, 2019

    Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment where: … Such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person’s academic or work experience by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive academic or work environment.

    While it is not possible to list all of the circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are examples of conduct that, depending on the circumstances, may rise to the level of sexual harassment:   …

    • Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct; gossip regarding one’s sex life; comments on one’s body; comments about one’s sexual activity, deficiencies or prowess;
    • Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons;
    • Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments;
    • Inquiries into one’s sexual experiences;
    • Discussion of one’s sexual activities; …

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Green Light Policies
  • WPI Policy on Campus Events Involving External Speakers

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: January 2, 2019

    All events on campus, including events involving external speakers, must comply with all WPI policies, rules and regulations. Such events must not interfere with University property or the orderly conduct of University affairs or the University’s obligation to protect the right to teach, study, and freely exchange ideas.

    » Read More


At present, FIRE does not maintain information on this school's policies.
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Can’t Say They Didn’t Warn You

    December 22, 2005

    Prospective students beware: at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Worcester, Mass., you don’t have nearly as many rights as your fellow students just down the road at Worcester State. That’s because, as a private institution, WPI is not bound by the U.S. Constitution, and WPI takes full advantage of that by stripping its students of their First Amendment rights. WPI doesn’t try to hide this fact, either. Unlike many private universities, its website makes no promises that students will have the constitutional rights that they enjoy in society at large. Moreover, it prominently advertises that “[s]tudents enter WPI voluntarily…If they do not […]

    » Read More