Expressive activity, community and non-college affiliated entities

Human Resources Policy

1. Purpose

1.1 This policy addresses organized and spontaneous expressive activity by the community and non-college affiliate entities, referred to as external entities, at Germanna Community College. This policy applies to external users of the college for expressive activities, not for facility rental or partnerships with external entities for training, meetings or conferences that support the College’s mission.

2. Policy

2.1 This policy applies to all buildings, grounds, and other spaces owned or controlled by a college. The term “expressive activity” includes:

  • Meetings and other group activities of students and student organizations;
  • Speeches, performances, demonstrations, rallies, vigils, and other events by students, student organizations, and outside groups invited by student organizations;
  • Distributions of literature, such as leafleting and pamphleting; and
  • Any other expression protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

2.2 College property is primarily dedicated to academic, student life and administrative functions. But it also represents the “marketplace of ideas,” and especially for external entities, many areas of campus represent a public forum for speech and other expressive activities. Colleges may place restrictions on expressive activities occurring indoors, but especially for external entities, the outdoor areas of campus remain venues for free expression, including speeches, demonstrations, and the distribution of literature.

2.3 Indoors or outdoors, colleges shall not interfere with the rights of individuals and groups to the free expression of their views or impermissibly regulate their speech based on its content or viewpoint. Nevertheless, colleges may establish reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on expressive activity. Such restrictions must be content-neutral, narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and allow ample alternative channels for communication of the information.

2.4 No event or expressive activity shall be permitted to violate or hinder the rights of others within the campus community or substantially disrupt normal college operations.

2.5 The Vice President for Workforce and Community Development is responsible for implementing this policy. Inquiries regarding this policy should be directed to the office of the Vice President for Workforce and Community Development.

3. Procedures

3.1 Reserving Campus Facilities

A. If external entities desire to reserve campus facilities, they shall submit their requests to the Vice President for Workforce and Community Development. The College normally may not require more than twenty-four hours advance notice for reservation requests. More notice may be required to allow for sufficient logistical support and to ensure the safety and security of the campus.

B. No indoor facilities, other than those listed below or those rented through college procedures, shall be used by external entities for the purpose of expressive activity:

Daniel Technology Center – Front lobby, next to the grand stairwell.

Dickinson Building – Student lounge and lobby adjacent to the student lounge

French Slaughter Building – Student lounge and lobby adjacent to the student lounge

Science Engineering and Information Commons – Second floor, near the elevator

Stafford Automotive Center – Front lobby

C. External entities may request to reserve campus facilities on a first-come, first served basis. These requests may be denied for the following reasons only:

i. The requested venue is an indoor facility that the college has designated as not available for expressive activity under section 6.5.2.0(a)(3) of this policy;

ii. The requested venue is an indoor facility and the request conflicts with restrictions enacted pursuant to section C of this policy;

iii. The venue is already reserved for another event;

iv. The activity will attract a crowd larger than the venue can safely contain;

v. The activity will substantially disrupt another event being held at a neighboring venue;

vi. The activity will substantially disrupt college operations (including classes);

vii. The activity is a clear and present threat to public safety, according to the college’s police or security department;

viii. The activity will occur during college examination periods; or

ix. The activity is unlawful.

D. During an event, the external entity requesting the reservation is responsible for preserving and maintaining the facility it reserved. If it causes any damage to those facilities, the person(s) or organization (and its officers, if applicable) shall assume responsibility.

E. When assessing a request to reserve campus facilities, Germanna Community College and its administrators will not consider the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to that expression. The College and its administrators will not impose restrictions on external entities due to the content or viewpoint of their expression or the possible reaction to that expression. In the event that other persons react negatively to an external entity, college officials (including college police or security) shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.

3.2 Spontaneous Expressive Activity

A. No indoor facilities shall be used by external entities for the purpose of the spontaneous expressive activity.

B. For outdoor campus facilities and areas, external entities may freely engage in spontaneous expressive activities as long as they do not (a) block access to campus buildings, (b) obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic, (c) substantially disrupt previously scheduled campus events, (d) substantially disrupt college operations, (e) constitute unlawful activity; or (f) create a clear and present threat to public safety, according to the college’s police or security department.

C. Banners used in expressing speech should comply with the provisions of this policy and cannot be used to block, obstruct or otherwise deny access to any pedestrian or to block or obstruct vehicular traffic.

D. Distribution of commercial advertising or the placement of commercial material is prohibited in the following areas:

  • Administrative offices
  • Classrooms, computer rooms, laboratories, and other places where instruction takes place
  • Libraries

4. Definitions

5. References

VCCS Policy 6.5.1

6. Point of Contact

Associate Vice President for Human Resources

7. Approval and Revision Dates

College Council: April 25, 2014; July 25, 2014

President’s Council: April 21, 2014; August 18, 2014

1In the event that multiple individuals or organizations submit conflicting reservations requests, the following order of precedence shall govern: (1) official college-sponsored activities and events; (2) recognized student organization activities and events; (3) student activities and events; and (4) all other activities and events.

2 The expression of competing viewpoints or multiple speakers in proximity to each other does not, without more, constitute a substantial disruption.

3The expression of competing viewpoints or multiple speakers in proximity to each other does not, without more, constitute a substantial disruption.

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