Expressive Activity

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A. Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to set out the policy and procedures that will govern all expressive activities on

B. Policy

  1. This policy applies to all buildings, grounds, and other spaces owned or controlled by a college. The term “expressive activity” includes:
    • 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 leafleting and pamphleting
    • Any other expression protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    This policy does not apply in instances when speakers, performers, groups, etc. are invited by the college or to external groups that arrange to use college space through a Facilities Use Agreement. Guidelines for Use of Facilities by Community Groups

  2. College property is primarily dedicated to academic, student life and administrative functions. But it also represents the “marketplace of ideas,” and especially for students, many areas of campus represent a public forum for speech and other expressive activities. Colleges may place restrictions on expressive activities occurring indoors, but especially for students and student organizations, the outdoor areas of campus remain venues for free expression, including speeches, demonstrations, and the distribution of literature.
  3. Indoors or outdoors, colleges 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, colleges 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.
  4. 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.

C. Responsibilities
The Vice President of Finance and Administration is responsible for implementing this policy. Direct inquiries about this policy should be directed to the Vice President of Finance and Administration at 276-739-2426 or

D. Procedures for Reserving Campus Facilities

  1. If students, student organizations, or college employees desire to reserve campus facilities, they shall submit their requests to the Office of the Vice President of Institutional Advancement at 276-739-2449. Requests must be made with at least 24 hours’ notice. (Note that this does not suggest that any facility requested must be made available within one day if the facility is already reserved. If the procedure at the college does not allow for one day’s notice, then state what notice is necessary
    to reserve facilities, i.e., two days’ notice.) More notice may be required to allow for sufficient logistical support and to ensure the safety and security of the campus.
  2. If individuals or organizations who are not members of the college community (i.e., not students, student organizations, or college employees) desire to reserve campus facilities, they must be sponsored by a recognized student organization or the college to conduct expressive activities or events on campus. These individuals or organizations should contact the Vice President of Finance and Administration at 276-739-2426 or if interested in being sponsored by the college. 
  3. The college will assess appropriate fees for equipment and facility use to users who are not members of the campus community. Security fees may be assessed to defray the actual costs of providing security when the size of the audience may pose a risk to safety. At no time shall the college assess a security fee based on the anticipated reaction to the expressive activity.
  4. Facilities available for use are available only during normal operating hours or as otherwise posted. 
  5. Students, student organizations, and college employees may request to reserve campus facilities on a first-come, first-served basis. These requests may be denied for the following reasons only:
    1. The requested venue is an indoor facility that the college has designated as not available for
      expressive activity under section F of this policy;
    2. The requested venue is an indoor facility and the request conflicts with restrictions enacted pursuant to section D(4) of this policy;
    3. The venue is already reserved for another event 1;
    4. The activity will attract a crowd larger than the venue can safely contain;  
    5. The activity will substantially disrupt another event being held at a neighboring venue2;
    6. The activity will substantially disrupt college operations (including classes);
    7. The activity is a clear and present threat to public safety according to the college’s police or security department;
    8. The activity will occur during college examination periods; or
    9. The activity is unlawful.
  6. During an event, the student, student organization, or college employee requesting the reservation is
    responsible for preserving and maintaining the facility it reserved. If it causes any damage to those facilities, the person(s) or organization (and its officers, if applicable) shall assume responsibility. 
  7. When assessing a request to reserve campus facilities, the college will not consider the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to that expression. The college will 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 police or security) shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.

E. Spontaneous Expressive Activity

  1. 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, (d) substantially disrupt college operations, (e) constitute unlawful activity; or (f) create a clear and present threat to public safety, according to the college’s police or security department. 
  2. No indoor areas or facilities are available for spontaneous expressive activity. 

F. Areas Not Available for Expressive Activity

The following indoor areas/facilities are not available for expressive activity:

  • Library
  • Administrative/business/faculty/staff offices
  • Classrooms (during instructional hours)

G. Banners and Distribution of Commercial Materials

  1. Banners used in expressing speech should comply with the provisions of this policy and cannot be used to block, obstruct or otherwise deny access to any pedestrian or to block or obstruct vehicular traffic.
  2. Distribution of commercial advertising or the placement of commercial material is prohibited in the following areas:
  • Administrative/business/faculty/staff offices
  • Classrooms, computer rooms, laboratories, and other places where instruction takes place
  • Libraries

In 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.

2 The expression of competing viewpoints or multiple speakers in proximity to each other does not, without more, constitute a substantial disruption.