Understanding what 'Freedom of Expression and Peaceable Assembly' means at Western
Western Washington University is committed to freedom of expression and encourages treating others with respect, civility, and empathy.
Red Square is a Limited Public Forum, which means it is characterized as a space that can be used for freedom of expression and general assembly and is subject to time, place, and manner (see below for more) restrictions. Approved space reservations for campus activities take priority over unscheduled activity in Red Square.
It is important to remember that free speech activities may be distressing; be prepared to walk away or keep your distance if you might find the speakers or the topic distressing or triggering.
WWU has several policies related to Freedom of Expression and Use of University Property that can be found here: https://wp.wwu.edu/timeplacemanner/relevant-university-policies/.
For answers to more FAQ’s about Freedom of Expression at WWU, go here: https://wp.wwu.edu/timeplacemanner/faqs/.
Basics About Freedom of Speech:
- Free speech is protected by the constitutions of the United States and the State of Washington
- Most speech, even speech or imagery that is controversial, is hurtful, is against our values, or causes distress, is protected
- Narrow exceptions to free speech exist, but they are very specific.
- Significant disruption of free speech is a violation of law and policy
Possible Personal Actions for Freedom of Speech activities:
- Exercise good judgement about your own health and well-being
- Engage critically and respectfully
- Ignore or walk away – do not give the speaker your time or energy
- Find multiple viewpoints or perspectives to integrate into your own thinking
- Create or join a club to explore your passions
- As a member of the WWU community (student, staff, faculty, and visitors) it is your responsibility to know and understand laws and University policies (https://wp.wwu.edu/timeplacemanner/).
- As a student, if you see or hear something that causes you unusually high distress, please seek support by contacting the University Counseling & Wellness Center at 360-650-3164 (cwc.wwu.edu).
- As a staff or faculty member who may need support please contact the Employee Assistance Program (https://hr.wwu.edu/employee-assistance-program).
- For general student concerns or questions, contact the Office of Student Life at 360-650-3706 or Student.Life@wwu.edu