Freedom of Speech, Expression, and Assembly

Board Policy 8.008

Delta College holds in high esteem the freedoms of speech, expression and peaceful assembly. Delta College respects the constitutional rights of groups and individuals to lawfully exercise such freedoms on its grounds. These freedoms are collectively referred to as “expressive activity” throughout this policy. The purpose of this policy is to facilitate expressive activities while ensuring that these activities do not unduly disrupt the College’s operations and its learning environment.

For anyone lawfully present on the College’s campuses, our common areas are hereby designated as forums for expressive activity, including but not limited to spontaneous expression, speeches, demonstrations and the distribution of information. Provided, however, any individual or group wishing to engage in commercial solicitation is required to reserve time and space for such activities following the terms of the College’s commercial use policies.

Delta College understands that expressive activities can take many forms and will, therefore, interpret the phrase expansively. For purposes of reference and example, the term “expressive activity” generally includes activities such as: meetings, speeches, performances, demonstrations, protests, parades, marches, rallies, vigils and other events; distribution of informational materials like circulars, newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets; the use of banners, placards, or similar signage, or any other expressive activity, including spontaneous expression, protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Expressive activity includes participating in the type of activities specified herein, as well as the freedom to listen, watch, record, or otherwise observe such activities.

While Delta College retains authority to regulate the time, place and manner of expressive activities, it never considers or regulates the content or viewpoint of expressive activities. Nor does Delta College restrict protected expressive activity due to the possibility the activity may be viewed negatively by some. Delta College will work to ensure that such activities occur without improper interference by the College, provided the learning environment is not substantially and materially disrupted and campus safety is not compromised. If individuals or groups react negatively to expressive activities occurring on the campus of Delta Community College, the College will take necessary steps to ensure campus safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue, unless the College’s operations are materially and substantially disrupted.

For purposes of this policy, the term “common areas” generally refers to: lawns, sidewalks, benches and other outdoor areas; student lounges, cafeterias, and other indoor areas, which are designated for social interactions that are not otherwise reserved for use and are open to the public.

For purposes of this policy, the peaceful distribution of informational materials in the College’s common areas does not represent a substantial or material disruption to the learning environment at the College.

Expressive activities, as defined by this policy, are allowed on Delta College campuses’ common areas, during the periods that College facilities are open to the general public.

Non-Public Forums are not considered common areas and specifically include campus offices and office hallways, classrooms/lecture halls, and, when instruction is in session, the indoor and outdoor areas immediately surrounding classrooms/lecture halls, online classrooms, warehouses, maintenance areas, locker rooms, and similar areas of the College that are not open to the public. Delta College reserves the right to designate additional areas as non-public forums, consistent with law, as it deems necessary to prevent substantial disruption to the orderly operation of the College.

Expressive activity must be conducted within lawful parameters.  No expressive activity at Delta College is permitted to:

    • Violate the legal rights of others;
    • Defame an individual;
    • Constitute a genuine threat or harassment;
    • Invade privacy or confidentiality interests;
    • Impede ingress or egress to the College, any College property, or any College event;
    • Obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic;
    • Include the use of audio amplification devices, unless specifically authorized by the College;
    • Include the use of fire or pyrotechnics, unless specifically authorized by the College;
    • Erect structures on College property or affix materials to College buildings, equipment, fences, trees or property, unless specifically authorized by the College.

In the event the use of banners, signs, or similar materials are determined to create a dangerous situation or to impair the operations of the College, the individuals carrying such banners, signs, or similar materials will be asked to move to a different location or remove the materials.

Where the attendance of more than twenty (20) participants is anticipated for expressive activity, Delta College requests forty-eight (48) hours advance notice of the event.  Notice is requested in order to facilitate Delta College’s ability to ensure the event takes place safely and in order to take such other steps that might be prudent to ensure the effectiveness of the activity and the continued operation of the College.

Delta College does not assume any obligation or responsibility for the content of expressive activities or materials distributed. People engaging in expressive activities assume responsibility for damages to College property, for the cleanup of materials immediately following the conclusion of expressive activities, and for remaining in compliance with applicable local, state and federal laws.

Board Action 5378 – April 6, 2021