To establish a policy addressing free expression on College campuses.
This policy applies to all buildings, grounds and other spaces owned or controlled by John Tyler Community College.
Examples of events and activities covered by this policy include:
- Meetings and other group activities of students and student organizations;
- Speeches, performances, demonstrations, rallies, vigils, and other events by students, student organizations, and outside groups invited by student organizations;
- Distributions of literature, such as leaflets and pamphlets; and
- Any other expression protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
College property is primarily dedicated to academic, student life and administrative functions, but it also represents a “marketplace of ideas,” and especially for students, many areas of campus represent a public forum for speech and other expressive activities. The College may place restrictions on expressive activities occurring indoors, but especially for students and student organizations, the outdoor areas of the campuses remain venues for the free expression, including speeches, demonstrations, and the distribution of literature.
Indoors and outdoors, the College shall not interfere with the rights of individuals and groups to the free expression of their views or impermissibly regulate their speech based on its content or viewpoint. Nevertheless, the College may establish reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on expressive activity. Such restrictions must be content-neutral, narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and allow ample alternative channels for communication of the information.
No event or expressive activity shall be permitted to violate or hinder the rights of others within the campus community or substantially disrupt normal College operations.
- Reserving College Facilities
- If students, student organizations, or College employees desire to reserve campus facilities, they shall submit their requests at least two business days in advance to the Office of Student Activities. Note: for events and activities of more than twenty-five (25) individuals more notice may be required to allow for sufficient logistical support and to ensure the safety and security of the College.
- Individuals and organizations who are not members of the College community (i.e., neither students, student organizations, nor College employees) desiring to reserve College facilities must be sponsored by a recognized student organization or the College in order to conduct expressive activities or events on College campuses. The student organization must be involved in the planning and execution of any activity or event and will be held responsible for any violations of policies, procedures, or guidelines committed by the external individuals, group, or organization.
- The College has designated administrative offices, libraries, laboratories, and classrooms (during instructional hours) as areas that are not available for expressive activity.
- Students, student organizations, and College employees may request to reserve campus facilities on a first-come, first-serve basis. Such requests may be denied for the following reasons:
- The requested venue is an indoor facility that the College has designated as not available for expressive activity under section 3 of this policy;
- The requested venue is an indoor facility and the request conflicts with restrictions enacted pursuant to section 3 of this policy;
- The venue is already reserved for another event;1
- The activity will attract a crowd larger than the venue can safely contain;
- The activity will substantially disrupt another event being held at a neighboring venue;2
- The activity will substantially disrupt College operations (including classes);
- The activity is a clear and present threat to public safety;
- The activity will occur during College final examination periods; or
- The activity is unlawful.
- During the event, the student, student organization, or College employee requesting the reservation is responsible for preserving and maintaining the reserved facility. If the event or activity results in any damages to the reserved facility, the person(s) or organization (and its officers, if applicable) shall assume responsibility.
- When assessing a request to reserve campus facilities, the College and its administrators must not consider the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to said expression. The College and its administrators may not impose restrictions on students, student organizations, or College employees due to the content or viewpoint of their expression or the possible reaction to that expression. In the event that other persons react negatively to a student’s, student organization’s, or College employee’s expression, College officials (including College Security) shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.
- Spontaneous Expressive Activity
- The College is not required to designate any indoor area as available for spontaneous expressive activities. In the event that the College elects to do so, College officials shall prominently post the areas in which students, student organizations, and their sponsored guests may engage in spontaneous expressive activities. Any areas so designated must: (a) apply equally to all students and student organizations and (b) not depend upon the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to that expression.
- For outdoor campus facilities and areas, students, student organizations, and their sponsored guests may freely engage in spontaneous expressive activities as long as they do not: (a) block access to campus buildings, (b) obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic, (c) substantially disrupt previously scheduled campus events,3 (d) substantially disrupt College operations, (e) constitute unlawful activity, or (f) create a clear and present threat to public safety.
- No College personnel may impose restrictions on students, student organizations, or their sponsored guests who are engaging in spontaneous expressive activities due to the content or viewpoint of their expression or the possible reaction to that expression. In the event that other persons react negatively to these activities, College officials (including security shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.
1In the event that multiple individuals or organizations submit conflicting reservation requests, the following order of precedence shall govern: (1) official college sponsored activities and events; (2) recognized student organization activities and events; (3) student activities and events; and (4) all other activities and events.
2The expression of competing viewpoints or multiple speakers in proximity to each other does not, without more, constitute a substantial disruption.
3The expression of competing viewpoints or multiple speakers in proximity to each other does not, without more, constitute a substantial disruption.