South Dakota Board of Regents Policy Manual: 6:13:1 Use of Institutional Facilities and Grounds for Expressive Activity by Student Organizations, Students, Employees, and their Guests

Relevant excerpt


 To promote and facilitate free expression while allowing the institution to ensure such activities do not interfere with the institution’s mission and operations or with the rights of others.


  1. Policy Statement: The South Dakota Board of Regents recognizes and supports the educational institutions as marketplaces of ideas. The primary function of the institutions is to discover and disseminate knowledge by means of research and teaching. The Board supports the right of student organizations, students, employees, and their guests to speak in public and to demonstrate for or against actions and opinions with which they agree or disagree. Freedom of expression is vital to the shared goal of the pursuit of knowledge. Such freedom comes with a responsibility to welcome and promote this freedom for all, even in disagreement or opposition. In doing so, however, students, employees, and their guests must comply with this and other Board policies, and institutional policies.

2. Guidelines

2.1. The Board and its institutions are committed to providing an educational, research, and service environment that is conducive to the development of each individual. As a public entity, the Board and its institutions provide both formal and informal forums for the expression of ideas and opinions as long as it is done within the context of federal and state law and Board and institutional policies, and does not impede pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic, disturb or interfere with normal academic, administrative or student activities, or involve prohibited conduct. 2.2. Because institutional facilities and grounds are tax-exempt public facilities and grounds, they are not generally available for use for commercial purposes, subject to the specific exception set forth in Board Policy 3:7 and 6:13.

3. Outdoor Areas

3.1. To facilitate robust debate and the free exchange of ideas, the outdoor areas within the boundaries of the institution, unless otherwise properly restricted, constitute a designated public forum for the benefit of student organizations, students, employees, and their guests to engage in expressive activity. This use may be without prior permission from the institution so long as: 3.1.1. The area has not been previously reserved or scheduled for a particular function; 3.1.2. No sound amplification is used; 3.1.3. Participants do not violate any Board or institutional policy or engage in prohibited conduct; and 3.1.4. The General Guidelines outlined in Section C.2 are followed. 3.2. Nothing in this section 3 shall be interpreted as limiting the right of a student’s free expression elsewhere on campus, in keeping with the nature of the forum designated by the institution in which the expressive activity occurs and the implementation of Board Policy 6:13, so long as the expressive activities or related conduct do not violate any other applicable Board or institutional policy or constitute prohibited conduct. 3.3. An institution may not designate any outdoor area within its boundaries as a free speech zone or otherwise restrict the expressive activities of students, employees and their guests to particular outdoor areas within its boundaries in a manner that is inconsistent with this policy.

5. Guidelines for Expressive Activity by Students and Student Organizations

 5.1. A student’s right of freedom of expression at the institution includes organized demonstrations or events. At the same time, the institution has long recognized that this right does not include the right to engage in conduct that disrupts the institution’s operations, infringes other students’ freedom in learning, interferes with the academic freedom of faculty, endangers the safety of others, or constitutes prohibited conduct. 5.2. The institution shall require any student or student organization, planning a largescale event to contact the designated institutional office in advance of the large scale event. A representative of the designated institutional office will work with the requesting person to either meet the request or find a reasonable alternate time and location. 5.3. The institution may require the requesting party to provide a parade route, hire security, ensure egress to facilities, or take other steps to maintain the safety of the campus; however, any such requirement(s) must be based on definite and objective criteria that are not content-based. All participants must follow all Board and institutional policies and applicable law. 5.4. Access to, and use of, facilities and grounds at institutions shall be equally available to all student organizations, regardless of the ideological, political, or religious beliefs of the organization.

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