Student Handbook: Free Speech and Demonstration Policy 13-14

Category: Protest and Demonstration Policies School: Bridgewater State University Statement Rating: Yellow

Relevant excerpt

As defined below, public forum areas are generally available for speeches and demonstrations between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Except as further provided below, the use of these areas for speaking, demonstrating, and other forms of expression must be approved at least 24 hours in advance by the university’s chief of police or his or her designee.

Other areas of the campus and other times are occasionally used for speeches and demonstrations. Such activities in these limited forum areas must be approved by the chief of police or designee at least 48 hours in advance.

Traditional public forums include the university’s lawns, sidewalks, malls, and similar common areas such as the Boyden Quadrangle and the Maxwell Library Mall. These facilities shall be available to any person, but members of the university community and their organizations shall have preference in the use of the facilities. Prior restraint and most content-based restrictions are prohibited, but reasonable time, place, and manner regulations may be applied. Courts have determined that the establishment of exclusive “free speech zones”—where all free speech activity must occur—is usually insufficient to protect expressional rights, especially where a different location may be symbolic to the protest, or is a place where people habitually gather, or which is significant in some other way. Therefore, the university will refrain from establishing exclusive free speech zones, and it will define public forum areas as broadly as possible.

With the approval of the vice president for student affairs or designee at least 24 hours in advance, non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines, and other written materials may be distributed on a person-to-person basis in open areas on campus that are at least 10 feet from the entrances or exits of college buildings. …Distributed materials must clearly identify the author or sponsor of the materials.

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