Special announcement

Germanna will be closed July 4th and 5th.

Expressive activity – students

Student Services Policy 80400

1. Purpose

1.1 This policy addresses organized and spontaneous expressive activity by students and student organizations at Germanna Community College

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 students, many areas of campus represent a public forum for speech and other expressive activities.  The College may place restrictions on expressive activities occurring indoors, but especially for students and student organizations, the outdoor areas of campus remain venues for free expression, including speeches, demonstrations, and the distribution of literature.

2.3 Indoors or outdoors, the College 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, the College may establish reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on expressive activity.  Such as 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 of Student Services is responsible for implementing this policy.  Inquiries regarding this policy should be directed to the office of the Vice President of Student Services.

3. Procedures

3.1  Reserving campus facilities:

A. Students and student organizations 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 as 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;1

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;2

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.

B. During an event, the student or student organization 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.

C. 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 students or student organizations due to the content or view-point of their expression or the possible reaction to that expression.  In the event that other persons react negatively to a student’s or student organizations, 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, other than those listed below, shall be used by students or student organizations for the purpose of spontaneous expressive activity:

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

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

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

Science Engineering and Information Commons – Second floor, near elevator

Stafford Automotive Center – Front lobby

Barbara J. Fried Center in Stafford – Student lounge

B. For outdoor campus facilities and areas, student organizations, and their sponsored guests 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 preciously scheduled campus events,[3] (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. No college personnel may impose restrictions on students, student organizations or their sponsored guests who are engaging in spontaneous expressive activities 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 these activities, college officials (including college police or security) shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.

3.3   Implementation report:

A.   Germanna Community College will include this policy in its student handbook, on its website, and its student orientation programs.

B.    Members of the campus community and invited guests should report incidents of disruption of constitutionally protected speech to our online reporting system called TIPS which also provides contact information to a designated college official and in cases of an emergency, contact information for campus police or campus security.

C.    Germanna will maintain materials on the policy and provide such materials to any employee responsible for the discipline or education of enrolled students. Germanna may also provide such materials to other employees if so desired.

D.   All college policies and materials on expressive activities must have prior approval from the Office of System Council.

E.    Germanna has policies and procedures to comply with the requirements of Va. Code 23.1-401.1, and notify the Office of System Counsel as soon as practicable, but no later than 20 days after being served with a complaint when served with a complaint that alleges a violation of the First Amendment.

1 In 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 completing viewpoints or multiple speakers in proximity to each other does not, without more, constitute a substantial disruption.

4. Definitions

5. References

VCCS Policy 6.5.1

6. Point of contact

Vice President of Student Services

7. Approval and revision dates

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

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

College Board: September 18, 2014; November 19, 2018

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