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CHAPTER VII

3. SPEECH AND ASSEMBLY

3.1 Definition.

Freedom of inquiry and discussion is basic and essential to intellectual development, provided such freedoms are exercised in a manner that does not illegally derogate the rights of others or interfere with the academic programs and administrative processes of a Component. The grounds of all Components are limited public forums, subject to such reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions as the Component President may impose (see Subparagraphs 3.3 and 3.5 of this Chapter).

3.2 Off-Campus Speakers in Component Facilities.

The freedoms of speech and assembly guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution shall be enjoyed by the students, faculty, and staff of the Components of The Texas State University System with respect to the opportunity to hear off-campus or outside speakers.

3.21    If a registered campus organization is sponsoring a campus speaker, it has the responsibility of making clear the fact that the organization, not the Component, is extending the invitation to speak and that any views the speaker may express are the speaker's own and not necessarily those of the System or of the Component.

3.22    Students, faculty, staff, and registered organizations campaigning for public office on behalf of candidates for public office must abide by the provisions of this Paragraph.

3.23    Speakers to be paid from state funds to speak on a Component campus shall speak in a facility that is open to the public. This Subparagraph does not apply to classes, seminars, symposia, and conferences intended for the use and benefit of students, faculty, staff, and invited guests. No person may obstruct or lessen in any way the opportunity for the audience to see and hear the speaker. The number of students, faculty, staff, and guests may be limited to prevent a hazard to the safety of the audience.

3.24    Off-campus speakers who have not been sponsored or invited by a registered student, faculty, or staff organization or by the Component administration shall be prohibited from speaking to groups in campus facilities and buildings unless the speaker is speaking to an off-campus organization that has been authorized to meet on the campus.

3.25     With the prior written approval of the Component President, the Component may, at its sole discretion, lease or rent space in the student center or other appropriate buildings or grounds for political rallies and meetings provided that space is made available to legitimate political candidates in a nondiscriminatory fashion and the rent for such space is based on a fair market value.

3.3 Time, Place and Manner Restrictions.

While freedom of speech and assembly is encouraged, the law recognizes that there is no absolute right to assembly or to make or hear a speech at any time or place regardless of the circumstances, content of speech, purpose of assembly, or probable consequences of such meeting or speech. The issuance of invitations to outside speakers shall be limited as follows:

3.31    A request to invite an outside speaker will be considered by the Component only when made by a registered student, faculty, or staff organization. No invitation shall be issued to an outside speaker without prior written concurrence of the Component President or a designee for scheduling of speaker dates and assignment of campus facilities.

3.32    Any speaker request shall be made in writing to the President or a designee by an officer of a registered student, faculty, or staff organization, or by an administrative officer of the Component, desiring to sponsor the proposed speaker not later than six (6) business days prior to the date of the proposed speaking engagement. This request shall contain the name of the sponsoring organization; the proposed date, time, and location of the meeting; the expected size of the audience; and the topic of speech. Any request not acted upon by the Component President or a designee within five (5) business days after submission shall be deemed granted.

3.33    A request made by a registered organization may be denied only if the Component President, or the authorized designee, determines, after proper inquiry, that the proposed speech will constitute a clear and present danger to the Component's orderly operation as defined in Subparagraph 3.5.

3.34    Where the request for an outside speaker is denied, the sponsoring organization may appeal to the President or an authorized designee in writing within three (3) business days of the denial. A hearing within will be held within four (4) business days following the filing of its appeal before an impartial board or administrator appointed by the President for a de novo consideration of the request. Such board or administrator shall make a recommendation to the Component President, whose decision shall be final. If the President fails to decide the matter within seven (7) business days following the filing of the appeal, it shall be deemed granted, and the speaker's invitation may be issued by the organization.

3.35    Where the request for an outside speaker is granted and the speaker accepts the invitation, the sponsoring organization shall inform the President or a designee, immediately in writing of such acceptance. The President or a designee, may, at his or her discretion, require that the meeting be chaired by a member of the administration or faculty and that a statement be made at the meeting that the views presented are not necessarily those of the Component or of the sponsoring organization. By acceptance of the invitation to speak, the speaker shall assume full responsibility for any violation of law committed by the speaker while on campus.

3.4 Assembly on Component Grounds.

Any group or person, whether or not a student or employee, and whether or not invited by a registered student, faculty, or staff organization, may assemble and engage in free speech activities on the grounds of the campus. However, the Component President or a designee may adopt reasonable nondiscriminatory Rules and Regulations as to time, place, and manner of such activities and may prohibit such activities if it is determined, after proper inquiry, that the proposed speech constitutes a clear and present danger as defined in Subparagraph 3.5 below.

3.5 Clear and Present Danger.

Proposed speech which constitutes a clear and present danger to the Component's orderly operation by the speaker's advocacy (i.e., preparing the group addressed and steeling it to such action as opposed to the abstract espousal of the propriety of resort to force) may be prohibited. In determining the existence of a clear and present danger, the Component President, may consider all relevant factors, including whether, within the past five years such speaker has incited violence resulting in the destruction of property at any public institution or has willfully caused the forcible disruption of regularly scheduled classes or other educational functions at any such institution. There must be not only advocacy to action but also a reasonable apprehension of imminent danger to the essential functions and purposes of the Component.

3.6 Demonstrations, Publications, Posters.

Reasonable and nondiscriminatory Rules and Regulations as to time, place, and manner may be promulgated by the President or a designee of the Component to authorize students, faculty, staff, and their registered Component organizations to petition, distribute publications, post signs, set up booths and/or peacefully demonstrate on the Component campus. Such regulation shall prohibit any activity that would interfere with academic or Component programs.

3.61    No group or person, whether or not a student or employee, shall publicly display, distribute, or disseminate on the Component campus any petition, handbill, or piece of literature, work, or material that is obscene or libelous, or that advocates the deliberate violation of any federal, state, or local law (see Subparagraph 3.62). Literature may not be distributed where the manner or form of said distribution constitutes disorderly conduct, disrupts classroom discussion, impedes the maintenance of public order, or constitutes a danger to the person distributing or disseminating the material or to any group or individual.

3.62    For the purposes of Subparagraph 3.5, advocacy means addressing the group for imminent action and steeling, bolstering, or bracing it to such action as opposed to the abstract espousal of the moral propriety of a course of action.

3.63    Any group or person, whether or not a student or employee, demonstrating on campus shall adhere to the provisions of Education Code, Section 51.935, as cited in Chapter VI, Subparagraph 5.4, of these Rules and Regulations.

3.7 Disruptive Activities.

Disruptive activities are prohibited on a Component campus. See Education Code, Section 51.935 and Chapter VI, Subparagraph 5.4. The President shall promptly utilize all lawful measures to halt and eliminate any and all such disruptive activities and shall immediately notify the Chancellor and the Chairman of the Board of Regents.