Expressive Activity on Campus (DRAFT)

Preamble

The proposed Expressive Activity on Campus Policy is not a new policy but is a comprehensive revision of existing policies in the Campus Administrative Manual and the Student Code. The proposed policy would replace the current Campus Demonstrations and Protests Policy and the Quadrangle Noise Policy. It recognizes the right to engage in expressive activity protected by the First Amendment, including peaceful protests and orderly demonstrations.

The proposed policy presents clear and consistent standards related to speech in a single document. It is not in response to any particular event, protest or other expressive activity. Rather, the policy is intended to promote a safe environment where protected expressive activities can take place alongside the proper functioning of university missions and operations.

Purpose

University Community Members and Visitors have the freedom to engage in Expressive Activities on University Property subject to restrictions that are consistent with established First Amendment principles. This policy affirms the university’s commitment to the open exchange of ideas and values through Expressive Activities without intimidation, harassment or discrimination and establishes parameters to help provide a safe environment, protect property and promote the proper functioning of the university’s teaching, research, economic development, and public service missions and business operations. “Expressive Activities” is defined in greater detail within this policy and generally refers to speech, assembly, demonstrations, and any other expression protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or Article I of the Constitution of the State of Illinois.

Scope

This policy applies to all University Community Members and Visitors.

This policy is not intended — and shall not be construed — to impair any right or activity, including speech, protest, or assembly, protected by the U.S. Constitution, by the Constitution of the State of Illinois and by other federal or state law, such as the Illinois Labor Dispute Act, the Illinois Public Demonstrations Law and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. Further, this policy is not intended — and shall not be construed — to supersede, nullify, modify or impair any faculty member’s exercise of academic freedom as set forth in University of Illinois Statutes.

Authority

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Operations

Policy

  1. Expressive Activities Permitted. University Community Members and Visitors may use outdoor publicly accessible areas of University Property for Expressive Activities.
  1. Restrictions on Expressive Activities. Expressive Activities must comply with the following restrictions. The university shall not consider the content or viewpoint of Expressive Activities in applying these restrictions.
      1. Lawful Activities. Expressive Activities must comply with applicable federal, state and local laws, as well as university policies, rules and codes, including lawful directives and orders from federal and state governments, law enforcement agencies and public health authorities.
      2. Public Safety. Expressive Activities must not injure persons, damage or destroy property, or threaten to cause such injury or damage.  Expressive Activities must not create safety hazards or threaten the health or safety of any person. Conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person, includes but is not limited to:
        1. causing bodily harm to a person,
        2. inappropriate physical contact with another person, such as pushing, slapping, or spitting, of an insulting or provoking nature;
        3. reckless disregard for the health or safety of any person; or
        4. any verbal threat or physically threatening behavior that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety.
      3. Substantial and Material Disruption with University Activities. Expressive Activities must not substantially and materially disrupt, impair, or interfere with (i) teaching, study, research, or administration of the university; (ii) the authorized use of University Property, including meetings of university students, faculty, staff, administrators or guests; or (iii) the rights and privileges of other University Community Members. Disruptive conduct includes but is not limited to (1) obstruction, impairment, or interference with university sponsored or authorized activities or University Property in a manner that is likely to or does deprive others of the benefit or enjoyment of the activity or University Property and (2) use or threatened use of force against any University Community Member that substantially and directly bears upon the University Community Member’s functions within the University. See the Demonstration Response Plan for guidance on demonstration response management, planning and procedures.
      4. Obstruct Access to Buildings or Impede Movement. Expressive Activities must not obstruct entrances or exits to buildings. Expressive activities must not obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic or restrict the free movement of persons on University Property.
      5. Conflicts with Reservations. Expressive Activities must not take place in a location that has been reserved by another University Community Member, substantially interfere with another University Community Member’s prior reservation, or substantially disrupt a scheduled university event. Reservations of University Property must be made in accordance with the university’s Reservation of University Property Policy.
      6. Alma Mater and Surrounding Area. The university may establish restrictions on the use of the area bounded by Green Street, Wright Street, the Illini Union and Altgeld Hall to avoid substantial and material disruption or interference with university-sponsored events and activities in this area, such as graduate photos with Alma Mater and university-installed decorations of Alma Mater.  Any such restriction will be approved by the Office of the Chancellor and published on a university website available to the public.
      7. Open Flames. Expressive Activities must not include the use of open flame devices, bonfires or the lighting of any material on fire except hand-held candles, which may be used with vigils if approved in advance by the university’s Campus Code Compliance and Fire Safety in Facilities and Services by sending an email request to ccandfs@illinois.edu. This policy does not apply to the use of open flame devices in controlled settings as part of authorized university operations, such as laboratories for teaching or research, food service as part of a university event or activity, or construction and maintenance.
      8. Noise. University Community Members and Visitors must moderate noise so as not to materially and substantially disrupt, impair or interfere with (i) teaching, study, research, or administration of the university, (ii) the authorized use of University Property, including meetings of university students, faculty, staff, administrators or guests; or (iii) the rights and privileges of other University Community Members. Noise levels must comply with applicable laws and ordinances.
              1. Amplified Sound. Amplified sound is not permitted unless approved:
                1. As part of a reservation request under the university’s Reservation of University Property Policy for an event or activity occurring after 5 p.m. or on weekends or if held at Anniversary Plaza or Quad Spaces, for an event or activity occurring from noon-1 p.m. Monday-Friday, excluding final exam periods, or
                2. by the Chancellor’s Special Event Advisory Committee for an event or activity sponsored by a university unit or recognized student organization.
              1. University operations. Noise related to authorized university operations (e.g., approved university sporting or music events, construction and maintenance) is not governed by this policy.
      9. Property Damage. Expressive activity that results in damage or destruction of University Property or property belonging to University Community Members is prohibited. Persons or organizations causing such damage may be held financially responsible, in addition to possible consequences under other applicable policies and law.
  1. Posting Materials. University Community Members may post written or printed materials regarding any non-commercial topic on general campus bulletin boards and general campus kiosks. These boards can be used to post information on non-commercial topics.
      1. Affixing or physically attaching written or printed materials to University Property other than a designated area authorized by this policy, including but not limited to statues, doors, light posts, utility poles, walls, trees, and trash cans, is prohibited.
      2. Use of classroom bulletin boards is restricted to instructional information, as defined by the instructors who use that classroom. Classroom bulletin boards may not be used by other groups or individuals for other purposes.
      3. Use of unit bulletin boards that are assigned to specific university units is restricted to the assigned unit and may not be used by other groups or individuals for other purposes.
      4. The University Community Member who posted material for an event or activity is responsible for ensuring that the material is removed within 48 hours after the event or activity.
      5. The university may remove and destroy unauthorized, outdated, or improperly posted materials. Materials that violate university policy, including but not limited to the restrictions in Paragraph 2 of this policy, may be removed and destroyed by the university and may result in discipline or sanctions for violators.
      6. Posting of written materials in residence halls is governed by Student Code § 2-407(b)(1).
  1. Distribution of Written Materials. University Community Members and Visitors may distribute non-commercial, written or printed materials, including but not limited to pamphlets, leaflets, handbills, circulars, and publications, on a person-to-person basis in outdoor, publicly accessible areas of University Property. University Community Members and Visitors may distribute non-commercial, written or printed materials, including but not limited to pamphlets, leaflets, handbills, circulars, and publications, on a person-to-person basis inside the common areas (g., foyers, vestibules, or hallways) of publicly-accessible buildings while open to the public. The interiors of computer labs, designated study lounges, classrooms, auditoriums, museums, theatres, lecture halls, offices, gymnasiums, retail shops, and dining or social reception halls, as well as mailboxes, are not “common areas” for this purpose.
      1. Those individuals and groups engaged in the distribution of written materials are responsible for removing all written materials associated with the Expressive Activity and for picking up any written materials dropped on the ground around the area of distribution. Failure to do so may result in the university charging such individuals and groups a reasonable cleanup fee.
      2. The university may remove any written materials left behind or unattended, and the university assumes no responsibility for the safety and care of such materials.
      3. Distribution of materials that violates university policy, including but not limited to the restrictions in Paragraph 2 of this policy, or state or federal law is prohibited and may result in discipline or sanctions.
      4. Distribution of written materials in residence halls is governed by Student Code § 2-407(b)(1).
  1. Structures and Outdoor Displays. Placement of signs and structures into concrete or grass on University Property is prohibited without prior written authorization from the Architectural Review Committee in Facilities and Services or as may be permitted by an approved reservation of University Property. University Community Members may erect Outdoor Displays in accordance with the university’s Outdoor Displays Policy (FO-49). This provision does not apply to university operations (g., construction and maintenance) or to university personnel carrying out a duty or responsibility on behalf of the university. University units must comply with the university’s Lawn Signs Policy (FO-38).
  1. Chalking. University Community Members may use water-soluble chalk, easily removed by rain, for Expressive Activity regarding any non-commercial topic on university sidewalks. Chalking is prohibited:
      1. On University Property including, but not limited to, all vertical surfaces, buildings, walls, planters, doors, trash receptacles, steps, fountains, benches, tables, signs, poles, columns, bus stops, light posts, and trees; and
      2. Underneath any covering where chalk would not be washed away by rainfall. Chalking and other markings on University Property that violate university policy, including but not limited to the restrictions in Paragraph 2 of this policy, or state or federal law are subject to removal by the university and may result in discipline or sanctions.
  1. Camping. Camping, as defined in the university’s Reservation of University Property Policy, is not permitted on University Property except in accordance with the university’s Reservation of University Property Policy.
  1. Commercial Activity on University Property. Commercial Activity on University Property is prohibited unless authorized through a written contract with the university or otherwise authorized by university policy. This policy does not apply to official university activity or university-sanctioned activity, such as the Campus Charitable Fund Drive or solicitation or other activity by employees of the university acting in the course and scope of their university duties and authority. Commercial Activity in residence halls also must comply with Student Code § 2-406.
  1. No Endorsement. Use of University Property does not imply or signify the university’s endorsement, sponsorship, approval or disapproval of the views expressed in any Expressive Activity.

Definitions

“Commercial Activity” means:

  1. Conducting a commercial transaction;
  2. Activity conducted for the purpose of peddling, selling, or offering goods and services for sale, or distributing samples of goods and services for sale; or
  3. Soliciting funds or financial contributions for an organization.

“Commercial Activity” does not include an isolated, personal transaction between individuals not in the course of repeated transactions of a like nature.

“Designated Official” means the individual who has been appointed by the Chancellor or the Chancellor’s designee to manage events and activities and to make decisions about use of specific University Property. If no Designated Official has been appointed for the specific University Property, then the Facility Management and Scheduling unit of the Office of the Registrar is appointed to manage such decisions with appropriate stakeholders.

“Expressive Activities” means speech, assembly, demonstrations, and any other expression protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or Article I of the Constitution of the State of Illinois. Expressive Activities do not include commercial activity, which must comply with all applicable laws and university policies. Expression and activities that fall outside First Amendment protection, such as obscenity, defamation, and true threats, are not protected under this policy.

“Non-commercial topic” means any campus event, student group activity, job opportunity, current event, news, political cause, opinion and other topics that are not primarily related to a commercial transaction or an advertisement to promote the sale of goods or services.

“University Community Members” means all university employees (including faculty members and staff), students, Registered Organizations, Registered Student Organizations, invited guests of any party listed in the foregoing provided such guests are in the company of the inviting party.

“University Property” means all buildings, grounds and other internal and external spaces owned or controlled by the university.

“Visitor” means any individual or group who is not a University Community Member.

Processes/Procedures/Guidelines

  1. Non-compliance with this policy or applicable law could result in imposition of relevant disciplinary procedures, arrest, or other enforcement action, such as a Notice of Trespass.
  2. A Designated Official and authorized university officials acting within the scope of their university duties may respond to alleged violations of this policy and take reasonable action to enforce the policy.
  3. Refer to the Demonstration Response Plan for guidance on demonstration response management, planning and procedures.
  4. Refer to the Campus Threat Assessment Policy (FO-19) for the campus community’s responsibilities to report and respond to potential indicators and threats of violent behavior, as well as the processes and resources available, and the Violence Prevention and Response Policy (FO-76) for information related to the university’s commitment to safety.
  5. Refer to the Nondiscrimination Policy (HR-48) for the policy and associated procedures to address complaints of discrimination or harassment based on the protected categories as set forth in that policy.
  6. A University Community Member or Visitor who believes their freedom to engage in Expressive Activities on University Property has been infringed in violation of this policy may file a complaint in writing with the Office of the Chancellor within 30 days of the alleged infringement. Any such complaint must be made in good faith. The Office of the Chancellor will review the complaint, gather information, and consult with others as it deems necessary and may seek to resolve the conflict informally between the parties. If a complaint is not resolved informally, the Office of the Chancellor will make findings and a final determination that will be communicated in writing to the complainant within 30 days of the complaint, unless good cause exists to extend this time, as determined in the discretion of the Office of the Chancellor. Actions that violate the Student Code, the university’s Code of Conduct or other applicable university policy, may be referred to the appropriate body.

 

References

Campus Threat Assessment Policy (FO-19)

Demonstration Response Plan

Lawn Signs Policy (FO-38)

Outdoor Display Policy (FO-49)

Reservation of University Property Policy

Student Code § 2-406

Student Code § 2-407(b)(1)

University of Illinois Statutes

Violence Prevention and Response Policy

Contact

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Operations