Dec 10, 2018  
2018-2019 ULM Student Policy Manual 
    
2018-2019 ULM Student Policy Manual

Public Forums Regulations Policy on Expressive Activities (FREE SPEECH, and Distribution of Leaflets)


As a publicly supported institution within the University of Louisiana System, ULM values the publicly accessible nature of its campus and facilities and embraces the free and open exchange of ideas in the context of a diverse community of teachers and learners.

The University recognizes its responsibility to maintain focus on its primary educational objectives. As such, the University strongly encourages its students, faculty, staff and to engage in vigorous and collegial debate and discussion within the context of classroom instruction, formal and informal interactions with others, and in social interactions throughout the campus.

University students, employees and visitors may freely communicate their ideas through the exchange of verbal and written communications and through formal and informal gatherings on the campus at any time and are encouraged to do so in a manner that does not interfere with the University’s capacity to administer its core values of teaching and learning, research, public service, and student success.

The purpose of this Policy is to address forum activities affiliated with the university and conducted by individuals and groups that fall into the following categories:

  • Public Speech
  • Public Demonstrations
  • Distribution of Leaflets (Hand-outs) 

Persons affiliated with the University by virtue of enrollment or employment and / or visitors who wish to conduct activities on the campus which, by their nature, involve engaging in public speech, public demonstrations, political campaigning, and distribution of literature in an effort to appeal to wide audiences and attract interest from internal and external constituents of the campus community, must adhere to the guidelines set forth in this policy. Public areas on campus are traditional public forums, open on the same terms to any speaker.

Definitions:

Expressive Activities – to include any lawful verbal or written means by which individuals or groups communicate ideas to one another, as provided by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America and by the Constitution of Louisiana, including all forms of peaceful assembly, protest, speech, distribution of literature, carrying signs, and circulating petitions.

  • Excluded from the definition of “expressive activities” commercial activities where individuals or groups are being compensated or attempting to advertise, market, or accrue financial gain to any individual, corporation, business, or organization.

Procedures:

Application and Approval: Application to utilize Public Forum areas for expressive activities is requested but not required through the Office of Student Life and Leadership to ensure adequate review.  Persons or groups wishing to utilize Public Forum areas are strongly urged to submit an application seven to ten days prior to the desired event.  The application must occur on the prescribed form (available through the Office of Student Life and Leadership) and must contain the date and starting time of the proposed activity, the name and appropriate contact information (address, telephone number, email address, etc.) of the reserving party, identification of the specific proposed activity (public speech, public demonstration, political campaign, literature distribution), and signature of the person making application. The University may deny requests for use of Public Forum areas if the event is deemed to require substantial planning and preparation beyond what can reasonably be accomplished within 72 hours in light of normal daily operations of the campus.

Cancellations: Cancellation of reservations of Public Forum areas must occur in advance of the event start time.  Events not properly canceled shall be deemed to have occurred at the date and time indicated on the original application.

Concurrent Events: Due to the relatively small and intimate nature of the ULM campus, it is not unusual for multiple events to occur in close proximity to one another, particularly in central areas such as the campus Quadrangle, Student Union Building, and the Library.  Persons reserving public forum areas do so with the understanding that previously scheduled events and activities of the University may be ongoing in close proximity to public forum areas even during periods when such areas are reserved for use by individuals and groups not affiliated with the University.

Continuity of University Operations: The University’s primary educational objectives relate to teaching, research, public service, and student success.  Individuals and groups not affiliated with the University who exercise their right to utilize the Public Forum will conduct their activities in a manner that complements the University’s educational mission, does not interfere with normal operations, and that conforms to University regulations regarding time, place, and manner.  Threats to passersby, impeding or blocking the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic, committing acts  leading to unsafe and/or unhealthy conditions, and posting or affixing signs or materials on walls, windows, grounds, doors, trees, sidewalks, benches, poles, fixtures, or any other equipment or surface, except where specifically authorized, or violations of time, place, and manner restrictions are strictly prohibited and will result in cessation of Public Forum activities by appropriate University authorities.

Inclement Weather: The University does not provide alternative locations for Public Forum events interrupted by inclement weather, but does provide for events to be rescheduled to a later date according to the same procedure under which the original event date was booked.

Literature Distribution: Literature (fliers, brochures, information sheets, push cards) may be made available to interested persons during Public Forum activities.  Forcing literature onto observers or passersby or affixing literature to automobiles, trees, grounds, fixtures, or other stationary objects on the campus shall constitute a violation of University regulations and will result in cessation of the Public Forum activity by appropriate University authorities.

Maintenance of Physical Environment: Persons utilizing the Public Forum will conduct their activities in a manner that does not deface, litter, or otherwise damage the physical environment of the campus.  Individuals and groups responsible for littering, vandalizing, defacing, or otherwise damaging University property are subject to restitution and criminal prosecution.

Official University Events: Events sponsored by the University and auxiliary groups officially recognized by the University may occasionally render designated public forum areas temporarily unavailable for use by persons and groups unaffiliated with the University.  In circumstances where a public forum area is reserved in advance of the University’s need for such space, the University may request the reserving party consider utilizing an alternate venue mutually agreeable to the reserving party and University.  In such cases where a mutually agreeable alternate venue is not available, the reserving party’s use of the public forum area will be honored.

Prohibited Activities: Activities that incite illegal conduct and/or disrupt University operations are strictly prohibited at all times.

Penalties for Non-Compliance with University Regulations: Individuals and groups not affiliated with the University are subject to civil law as well as University regulations regarding personal conduct for employees and students.  Individuals and groups not complying with University regulations regarding use of the Public Forum, or any other policy of the University, are subject to immediate removal from the campus, may be barred from future access to the campus, and may be charged for criminal acts, where appropriate.

Physical Description of Areas: 

Although most areas of the campus are available for free expression, these areas located in the center of the campus provide maximum visibility with the heaviest foot traffic.

  • Bayou Park - The Park is located on the west side of Bayou DeSiard, between the foot bridge and the Northeast Drive car bridge. 
  • The Quad - Located between the Student Union Building, the ULM Library, and the Clarke M. Williams Student Success Center. 
  • Student Union Building (SUB) Northeast Corner Exterior Space – This area is located in the center of campus with maximum foot traffic. 

Distribution of Fliers and Leaflets, Materials, and Advertisements 

  1. The distribution of material, leaflets and handbills and the circulation of petitions on campus shall be free and unhindered. Any material to be distributed should be in accordance with the applicable local, state, and federal laws.
  2. The passing out of materials cannot impede or block the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. The distribution of material must be conducted in a courteous manner and not be disruptive to the ULM community or the orderly processes of the University.
  3. Forcing literature onto observers or passersby or affixing literature to automobiles, trees, grounds, fixtures, or other stationary objects on the campus shall constitute a violation of University regulations and will result in cessation of the activity by appropriate University authorities.
  4. Literature (fliers, brochures, information sheets, push cards) may be made available to interested persons during Public Forum activities.
  5. Recommended areas for distribution of materials are the Pedestrian Walkway, Bayou Park, the Quad, Scott Plaza and Student Union Building (SUB) Exterior Area - Northeast corner.
  6. Posters, fliers, leaflets, and other printed and related promotional materials may not be affixed upon automobiles or other motor vehicles, trees, poles, doors, benches, sidewalks, walls, windows, ceilings, trash receptacles, streets, steps, or other fixtures or surfaces.
  7. Passing or handing out fliers inside any academic or administrative building, residence hall or University facility is prohibited. Exceptions may be granted in cases where the material intended to be distributed is directly related to the mission or goals of the University. Only ULM divisions/departments, ULM programs and ULM RSO’s may be granted approval. The Office of Student Life, in consultation with the President or designee, shall make a final decision regarding exceptions.
  8. The responsible party, and/or student(s), RSO’s, ULM divisions/departments/programs will be responsible for the clean-up or removal of their fliers that litter campus grounds or facilities, regardless of the individuals littering. The Office of Student Life will notify the party responsible for the materials and provide the location of the litter. The offending party will have 24 hours from the date of notice to clean up the litter. Should the offending party not act to remove the litter within the 24-hour period, accordingly the student(s) or RSO may be referred to the Office of Student Services (Student Conduct) and employee(s) to the Office of Human Resources for disciplinary action.
  9. Failure to adhere to this Policy may result in removal of the party distributing the material from the campus and action being taken by the University against the party (ies) responsible for the purchase, promotion, and/or distribution of materials.

Note: The ULM Posting Policy is located in the online Student Policy Manual. For more information on approval, and the designated display areas, contact the Office of Student Life and Leadership.

Premises Restoration: Applicants for use of the Public Forum are responsible for removal of personal effects and literature and restoration of the physical environment of the premises at the conclusion of the activity.

Public Address and Sound Amplification Systems: Use of sound amplification systems or devices (artificial, electronic, instrumental, or otherwise) of any type is strictly prohibited on University property except where authorized by appropriate administrative authorities for University-sponsored events only.

Rental of Facilities: Individuals or groups may apply to rent University facilities, subject to availability and University policy, for events and activities with special or substantial facility, equipment, and security needs. Rental cost is based upon established facility use guidelines and requests for use are considered on a case by case basis. Contact the Facility Coordinators for information regarding facility rental.

Security: The Director of University Police is the exclusive provider of security for events and activities occurring on University property and is the sole authority for determining need and quantity of officers required for an event. University police will have a presence during the university’s normal working hours for all speakers. Contact the Director of University Police at 318.342.5350 for general information regarding rates and terms for event security, if necessary.

Individuals or groups not affiliated with the University who, whether as active participants or as spectators, participate in an unauthorized activity, create a disturbance, cause destruction of University or the personal property of others, or bring discredit to the University, shall be subject to removal, arrest, prosecution, and restitution and may face University disciplinary proceedings, if applicable.

Enforcement:

The Dean of Students is responsible for the enforcement of this policy.

The Office of Student Life and Leadership charged by the Vice President of Student Affairs with oversight of Public Forum activities. Contact the Office of Student Life and Leadership via telephone at (318)-342-5287 for information regarding use of Public Forum areas.

For concerns, issues or complaints with Free Speech, contact the Office of Student Services, Student Center # 239, at 318.342.5230 or file an online student complaint form (click here). Employees with grievances may contact the Office of Human Resources at 318.342.5140 or submit complaint form online (click here).

Grievance Procedures: In cooperation with the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Office of Student Services (Student Conduct) is primarily responsible for the administration and assignment of student and student organization Free Speech hearings and grievances. Free Speech grievances and hearings related to employees are the responsibility of the ULM Human Resource Office, which will be heard and addressed by the Human Resource Director or designee.

Violations of the Code of Student Conduct or university policies will be heard by the appropriate University administrator. Appeals of the University administrators’ decision may be appealed through the Conduct Standards Committee.

Any further appeals will follow the appeal procedures listed in the online Student Policy Manual.

Policy Management:

The Office of Student Life and Leadership charged by the Vice President of Student Affairs with oversight of Public Forum activities. Contact the Office of Student Life and Leadership via telephone at (318)-342-5287 for information regarding use of Public Forum areas.