Handbook at The University of West Georgia

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Appendix L: Speeches, Demonstrations, Distribution of Written Material

Policy Governing Outdoor Speeches, Demonstrations, Distribution of Written Material and Marches

No rights are more highly regarded at the University of West Georgia than the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of expression and the right to assemble peaceably. The university remains firmly committed to affording groups and individuals the opportunity to engage in peaceful and orderly protests and demonstrations. In order to achieve this objective, while at the same time insuring that the university fulfills its educational mission, the university has the responsibility to regulate the time, place and manner of expression. This regulation is to assure equal opportunity for all persons, preserve order within the campus community, protect and preserve university property and provide a secure environment to individuals exercising freedom of expression.

The following provisions and regulations shall apply:

A. SPEECHES, MARCHES, AND DEMONSTRATIONS. The open areas designated for speeches, marches, and demonstrations are the Quad and outside the University Community Center, Library and Food Service Building. The Center for Student Involvement acting on behalf of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management asks student organizations interested in the use of these areas to register with that office so the university can provide necessary support for public and student safety. Individuals and non-UWG organizations are asked to register/reserve facilities with Auxiliary Services to ensure the university can provide the necessary support for public and student safety. Organized marches in other areas must be coordinated with the University Police prior to the event.  Failure to register or coordinate could result in removal from the university campus or facility if the University Chief of Police or the President finds that the speech, march, or demonstration 1) creates significant hazards to the public; 2) includes language or conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies or limits an individual's ability to work, or participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity; or 3) unduly interrupts or interferes with the orderly and peaceful conduct of the university. Conduct that does not otherwise violate University policy or the objectives in the preceding sentence, but which is intended to demonstrate solidarity with a cause (i.e., the wearing of particular clothing or carrying items) may be expressed in areas other than the designated areas above.  In the interest of allowing equal time for all points of view, the university may consider other limitations on the time, place, and manner of the speech. All structures, signs and litter resulting from the activity must be removed from public areas by the end of the event. All sponsors of events may be subject to costs for cleanup or repair of university property resulting from the participants in the event.

B. DISTRIBUTION OF WRITTEN MATERIAL. Pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines and other materials which are protected by the First Amendment may be distributed on a person to person basis on the Quad and outside the University Community Center, Library and the Food Service Building between the hours of 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Monday - Friday, when school is in session. In accordance with the University Posting Policy, handbills cannot be placed on cars. Tables must be reserved forty-eight hours in advance with the Office of Student Activities. The university maintains a position of neutrality as to the content of any written material distributed on the campus under this policy.

C. PROVISIONS. In order that the persons exercising freedom of expression not interfere with the operation of the university or rights of others the following shall apply without exception to any form of expression.

1. Events which may obstruct vehicular, pedestrian or other traffic must be approved at least forty-eight hours in advance by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

2. Use of sound amplification on campus is regulated and must be approved at least forty-eight hours in advance by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

3. There must be no obstruction of entrances or exits to buildings.

4. There must be no interference with educational activities inside or outside of buildings.

5. There must be no harassment of passersby or other disruptions of normal activities.

6. There must be no interference with scheduled university ceremonies or events.

7. Malicious or unwarranted damage to, or destruction of property owned or operated by the university or by students, faculty, staff or visitors to the university is prohibited. Persons or organizations causing such damage will be held financially and legally responsible. The group or individual may be required to provide proof of liability insurance depending on the nature of the activity.

8. There must be compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and university rules and regulations. Violators will be referred for appropriate legal or disciplinary action.

9. Exceptions to this policy may be appealed to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.