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Freedom of Expression

Arkansas State University highly regards the first amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the right to assemble peaceably. Because the mission of Arkansas State University is education, the campus of Arkansas State University is not a public forum open for assembly and expression of free speech as are the public streets, sidewalks, and parks.  Arkansas State University remains firmly committed to affording each member of the university community the opportunity to engage in peaceful and orderly protests and demonstrations in areas designated as free expression areas. However, these activities must not disrupt the operation of the university. Additionally, such opportunities must be provided on an equal basis and adhere to the basic principle that the university will remain neutral as to the content of any public demonstration. In order to achieve this objective, while at the same time insuring that the institution fulfills its educational mission, the university has the responsibility to regulate the time, place, and manner of expression. Through such regulation, equal opportunity for all persons can be assured, order within the university community can be preserved, university property can be protected and a secure environment for individuals to exercise freedom of expression can be provided.

 

The following provisions and regulations shall apply to faculty, staff, students, student organizations, and visitors:

  1. Speeches and Demonstrations. There are several areas designated as a Free Expression Area for speeches and demonstrations at Arkansas State University. These areas will generally be available for this purpose between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Use of this area for speaking, demonstrating and other forms of expression will be scheduled through the Director of Student Development and Leadership in order to accommodate all interested users. Should any individual or group desire the use of other areas of the campus and other times for speeches and demonstrations, a request must be made to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, his/her designee, or the Director of Student Development and Leadership at least 72 hours in advance of the event. Such plans will be considered in accordance with the principle of content neutrality.  
  1. Lawn near the arch located between Wilson Hall and Computer Science and Math Building
  2. Amphitheatre located near the Lab Sciences Building, Education Communication Building, Library and Computer Science and Math Building
  3. Heritage Plaza east of Reng Student Union at Caraway Road 
  4. Convocation Center, Fowler Center, and Athletic Complex provide several freedom of expression areas   
  • Lawn at University Loop and Cooper Alumni Center next to the Convocation Center
  • Lawn at the east side of Olympic Drive near Tomlinson Stadium/Kell Field
  • Lawn at the east side of Olympic Drive At the Alumni Boulevard Intersection
  • Lawn at the west side of Intersection of A Street and Johnson Ave. across from Soccer Complex
Distribution of Written Material. Non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines and other written materials may be distributed on a person-to-person basis in the following designated areas:  
    1. Between International English Studies Building and Nursing Building - east of Caraway Road
    2. Between Computer Science and Fine Arts Building - Bookout Plaza
    3. Outside front entrance of Lab Science East - Bookout Plaza
    4. Plaza between Dean B. Ellis Library and Education Building
    5. Campus Mall between Ellis Library and Administration Building - near emergency phone
    6. North of Business Building
    7. East of Physical Education Building 
    8. Freedom of Expression Areas (if not occupied)
    9. Heritage Plaza east of Reng Student Union at Caraway Road 

No stand, table or booth shall be used in distribution areas except at the Free Expression Area and only with permission from the Director of Student Development and Leadership. The university maintains a position of neutrality as to the content of any written material distributed on the campus under this policy.

 

The distribution of commercial materials and publications is covered by the Campus Solicitation Policy and is prohibited.

  1. Marches. Marches may take place on streets and sidewalks of the campus. In order to insure the safety of all individuals, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, his/her designee, or the Director of Student Development and Leadership must approve plans for an event of this nature at least 72 hours in advance.
  2. Provisions. In order that persons exercising their freedom of expression not interfere with the operation of the University or the rights of others, the following stipulations shall apply, without exception, to any form of expression and will be used to evaluate any plan requiring approval. Reasonable limitations may be placed on the time, place and manner of speeches, demonstrations, distribution of written material, and marches in order to serve the interests of health and safety, prevent disruption of the process, and protect against invading the rights of others.
    1. Events that may obstruct vehicular, pedestrian or other traffic on streets or sidewalks in the Free Expression Area must be approved at least 72 hours in advance by the Director of Student Development and Leadership.
    2. Use of sound amplification on campus is regulated and must be approved at least 72 hours in advance by the Director of Student Development and Leadership.
    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 impediment to normal pedestrian or vehicular traffic or other disruptions of university activities.
    6. There must be no interference with scheduled university ceremonies, events or activities. Damage or destruction of property owned or operated by the university, or damage to property belonging to students, faculty, staff or guests of the university is prohibited. Persons or organizations causing such damage may be held financially responsible.
    7. Persons or organizations responsible for a demonstration or other Freedom of Expression event must remove all resulting structures, signs and litter from the area at the end of the event. If this is not accomplished, persons or organizations responsible for the event may be held financially responsible.
    8. There must be compliance with all applicable state and federal laws and university policies, rules and regulations.

Approved by the Board of Trustees December 18, 1998.