FREE SPEECH, DEMONSTRATION AND PROTEST POLICY
A policy has been established to facilitate free speech, demonstrations and protests on campus. Students and others should understand the parameters for such events.
Reason for Policy/Purpose
This policy is required for the effective communication of university policy regarding free speech, demonstrations and protests on campus.
Who Needs to Know This Policy
All members of The University of Southern Mississippi community.
Website Address for this Policy
A. The University has established high visibility areas on campus in order to facilitate robust debate and the free exchange of ideas. These “free speech zones” may be used by any person, including non-students and other campus guests:
A. Weathersby Lawn
B. Union Plaza
C. Shoemaker Square
D. Kennard-Washington Lawn
E. Centennial Lawn
B. These may be used without permission from the University so long as the area has not been previously reserved or scheduled for a particular function, no sound amplification is used, no structure is erected, and the participants do not violate other University policies. Although it is not necessary for a person visiting to obtain prior permission, it is strongly suggested that all activities be registered with the Dean of Students’ office 48 hours in advance in order to make adequate arrangements for safety and security and to insure the space desired is available. Any speaker may be denied or asked to leave if the proposed speech would constitute an immediate and serious danger to the University’s orderly operation by the speaker's incitement of such actions by
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as limiting the right of student expression elsewhere on the campus so long as the expressive activities or related student conduct does not violate any other applicable University policies.
C. Demonstrations or protests sponsored by a student organization must be registered with the Office of Student Activities. If a student organization desires to demonstrate in “free speech zones” or if the student organization intends to advertise for an event or anticipates an event that may draw a large crowd or impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic or will involve a parade, march or other similar activity, the University requires the student organization to complete an event form through the Office of Student Activities at least ONE month in advance of the activity. The Office of Student Activities will work with the organization to meet the request or find a suitable time and location that balances the rights of the student organization with the rights of others and the University’s educational mission. Should an outside group or individual student wish to conduct an organized demonstration or to demonstrate in areas other than the “free speech zones”, the group should seek the sponsorship of a registered student organization.
The Director of Union and Programs is responsible for the review of this policy every four years (or whenever circumstances require immediate review).
Amendments: Month, Day, Year – summary of changes
04/12/13: Formatted for template. Minor editing throughout.
10/17/13: Revised - expanded free speech zones and changed registration authority.