6.31 Free Speech, Public Assembly, and Distribution/Petitioning Regulations

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I. Purpose

Central Piedmont Community College is committed to supporting freedom of speech and recognizes that free speech is the best means for arriving at truth and mutual understanding. The College also recognizes that the rights to assemble peaceably and to petition the government for redress of grievances are important components of free speech. Therefore, the College will protect the rights of free speech, petition, and peaceable assembly as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. However, it is also the responsibility of the College to provide a suitable environment for its students, faculty, and staff to study, conduct research, and perform other activities without undue interference or disturbance. Thus, the College has adopted these regulations to set forth reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions concerning acts of expression and dissent. Participants in expressive speech, outdoor assemblies, and distribution/petitioning must abide by these regulations:

II. Regulations

1. Designated Areas: The College has designated certain areas for free speech, outdoor public assemblies, and distribution/petitioning and requires all individuals, without regard to the content of their activities, to confine such activities to these areas. The College reserves the right to relocate any assembly to ensure that the activity does not interfere with the normal operation of the College. If campus buildings are used as public polling places, all activity must be in accordance with statutory and state/local Board of Elections requirements.

2. Time Restrictions: The designated areas are available for use by both persons affiliated with the College and the public between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays when the College's general curriculum classes are in session.

3. Registration: Persons or organizations desiring to use a designated area must register with the Student Life Office at the campus at which the activity is to be conducted. They must register at least 3 business days, but no more than 30 days, in advance by completing the Registration for Use of Designated Area form. A separate registration form is required for each day and site. The Student Life Office will notify Campus Security, the Campus Dean, and the Public Information Officer regarding any registration. Upon request of a College official, participants will be required to provide proof of registration for use of the designated area.

4. Priority: The College will assign use of a designated area to the person or organization that requests the area first; however, the College reserves the right to deny use of a designated area if necessary for public safety reasons.

5. Non-Interference: Assembly and petitioning activities may not interfere with or inconvenience College operations or programs and must be consistent with the College's educational purposes. Participants in assembly and petitioning activities must comply with the College’s Student Code of Conduct and may not obstruct, disrupt, interrupt, or attempt to physically force the cancellation of any event or activity sponsored by the College or by users authorized to use the College facilities. Further, participants may not engage in harassing, physically abusive, threatening, or intimidating conduct toward any person. Participants shall comply with the directives of any College official acting in the performance of his or her duty.

6. The Right to Dissent: The right to dissent is the complement of the right to speak, but these rights need not occupy the same forum at the same time. A speaker is entitled to communicate his or her message to the audience during his or her allotted time, and the audience is entitled to hear the message and see the speaker during that time. A dissenter must not substantially interfere with the speaker's ability to communicate or the audience's ability to hear and see the speaker. Likewise, the audience must respect the right to dissent.

7. No Public Address System: Use of public address systems or amplified sound will not be permitted.

8. Dissemination or Display of Printed Material: Duly registered participants may petition and/or distribute pamphlets, booklets, brochures, and other forms of printed material within designated areas on the condition that such material is designed for informational (not commercial) purposes. The participants must provide a receptacle for the disposal of such materials. The College does not assume any obligation or liability for the content of such distributed material. Any signs used may not be larger than three feet by four feet in size. Signs must either by held by participants or be freestanding signs that do not stick into the ground. No signs may be mounted on buildings, trees, or other College property.

9. Care of Designated Areas: Participants are responsible for the cleanliness and order of a designated area following its use; they should leave the designated area in the same condition it was in before the activity. Individuals who damage or destroy College property shall be held responsible for such damage or destruction. This includes the campus buildings, sidewalks, lawns, shrubs, and trees.

10. Non-Compliance: All individuals and organizations participating in expressive speech, outdoor assemblies, and distribution/petitioning are subject to sanction for failing to comply with these regulations or other College policies. Such sanctions may include payment of reasonable charges resulting from non-compliance, including but not limited to repairing, cleaning, painting, and/or replacement costs. College students, faculty, and staff may also be subject to institutional disciplinary or administrative action as outlined in the CPCC Student Handbook and/or policies governing staff and faculty. Those who violate these regulations may be issued a trespass warning and denied future access to College premises. Violations that require police intervention will be reported to the College's Security Services.

Approved by Cabinet on March 26, 2007; September 28, 2009; September 26, 2011; February 11, 2013