This University has always created an environment for raising challenging questions and the discussion of significant issues. There is perhaps none more significant than the challenge and issue of free speech. A function of free speech is to invite debate which can result in unrest, anger, and dissatisfaction. It is in this light that the University has traditionally understood the First Amendment’s application to our campus. Of all social institutions, universities should be the most friendly toward and protective of the right of free expression.
For over one hundred years, the University has followed the traditions of college campuses in this country by designating public forum areas on campus. The University has interpreted law and policy in a broad and flexible manner so as to allow all views to be expressed while continuing to carry on the mission of learning, discovery, and engagement. The public forum policy now reflects the long time practices of this University. It was, in fact, developed in full consultation with student, faculty and staff whose ideas are reflected in this policy. The ability to craft a policy that is open and inclusive while taking into consideration such a diverse set of views, is a testament to the value of what is taught, learned and practiced at the University.
Public expression in the form of freedom of speech and advocacy, including video recording of matters of public interest, is a fundamental right and an essential element in the marketplace of ideas of higher education. In the spirit of open discussion and freedom of expression, any individual or group may use campus grounds to exercise this constitutionally protected right. The University is obligated to create an environment where free speech and higher learning will enhance its mission of teaching, research and service.
While it is the university’s intention to assure maximum use of its grounds for the purpose of free expression, reservations are strongly encouraged in order to ensure that a location is available for outdoor assembly at a specific date and time. An individual or group with a reservation will have priority in the use of the location. Reservations for outdoor space should be made pursuant to section 5,302.