Free Speech and Peaceful Assembly Policy
The complete Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assembly Policy can be found at the Office of Policy and Compliance website here.
The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States assures that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble …”
These rights to free speech and peaceful assembly are to be afforded and protected by the University.
The University acknowledges the right of students and others to assemble in groups on the University campus for peaceful rallies, demonstrations, and gatherings. The University may, consistent with the Constitution, establish reasonable regulations regarding the time, place, and manner in which persons exercise their free speech rights to the extent necessary to assure the safety of the campus community and the orderly operations of the institution. At such gatherings, the University expects the rights and privileges of all persons to be respected and that there will be no endangerments to health or safety. Such gatherings must in no way disrupt the normal conduct of University affairs or endanger University property. This policy both facilitates the exercise of these rights of free speech and assembly, and protects the University community.
The University reserves the right to designate the time, place, and manner of activities such as demonstrations, gatherings, use of amplified sound, and displays of signage or other materials, in order to protect the safety of persons and property and avoid unwarranted disruptions of University operations. Any action by the University that restricts speech or assembly under this Policy shall be content-neutral, i.e., shall not be based upon the content or subject matter presented, but the University may consider the effect of such activities on the safety and orderly operations of the campus when taking such action. Nothing in this Policy is intended to authorize or permit any activity which is otherwise unlawful.
Some specifics to consider
The Lory Student Center Plaza is the primary designated public forum for Colorado State University, and is open to all individuals for the purpose of exercising free speech and assembly.
To avoid conflicts in the use of space and disruption of the orderly operation of the campus, and to ensure the safety of the campus community, the University does not allow for the setting up of any fixed structures, including, but not limited to, tables, booths, displays, etc. on the Plaza without the prior, express, written permission of Lory Student Center Event Planning Services. Permission may be requested by contacting the LSC Event Planning Services staff (970-491-0229) for a reservation for the desired date and location.
To reserve space on the Lory Student Center Plaza, the user must contact the Lory Student Event Planning Services at least 14 days in advance of the event. Reservations are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
Reservations are required for:
Events that will make use of the entire LSC Plaza. Such events are limited to registered student organizations and campus academic or administrative units, and are restricted to three days per group, per semester, on a first come, first-served basis;
Events that involve the assembly of more than 25 persons.
A request for a reservation may be denied, and the University reserves the right to cancel or postpone any reservation or reserved use of a designated public forum, on one or more of the following grounds:
Conflict with a pre-existing reservation or planned use of the location that would unreasonably interfere with either event;
Conflict with reasonable restrictions on signage, display, erection of structures, sound amplification, or other aspects of the event that would unreasonably interfere with the health or safety of persons, protection of property, access, traffic, or the peaceful, orderly operations of the campus; or
Inadequate notice for purposes of providing security, facilities support, or other preparations necessary for the protection of persons and property.
It is the responsibility of the sponsoring organization to contact the Colorado State University Police Department at least 14 days before the event to determine if security arrangements and/or traffic control are necessary. The sponsoring organization and participants must cooperate with law enforcement and Lory Student Center staff with respect to all security arrangements.
Groups that have not reserved the Lory Student Center Plaza in advance may be asked to reschedule based on the University’s ability to safely support the event.
Upon the request of any person who is aggrieved by a decision regarding a reservation for or use of a designated public forum, the decision may be reviewed by the Director of Campus Activities, and, if the objection is not resolved, then by the Executive Director of the Lory Student Center, whose decision is final.
Where a Registered Student Organization wishes to solicit donations for international humanitarian efforts/natural disasters (e.g., earthquake, hurricane or flood relief efforts), that Organization must receive prior approval from the Lory Student Center Governing Board. Approval is granted only for very extreme circumstances and when well-coordinated with campus departments and organizations.
Commercial speech may be regulated by the University to a greater extent than noncommercial speech and expressive activities. The University is under no obligation to make the LSC Plaza or any other areas or facilities available for commercial activities. When permitted, commercial speech should promote an educational, rather than commercial atmosphere on campus, prevent commercial exploitation of students, and preserve the tranquility of the campus. In order to promote these objectives, the Campus Activities Director shall act as, or may designate, a coordinator for commercial events held on campus, including (but not limited to) events at the Lory Student Center Plaza. The coordinator shall be responsible for working with student organizations, other sponsors, and vendors to assure that events are in accordance with University regulations.
The LSC Flea Market is a Designated Public Forum that is limited to pre-approved commercial activities in accordance with the Flea Market Guidelines (available on the LSC web site). All commercial solicitations, demonstrations, presentations, signage, displays, distribution of literature, and events are prohibited unless sponsored by a registered student organization or other campus academic or administrative unit and pre-approved by the Campus Activities Director, or designated coordinator.
Amplified sound is generally prohibited in all non-public areas and open public forum areas, but may be permitted for official University events with the prior, express approval of the Director of Campus Activities or his/her designee.
Amplified sound is permitted in designated areas within the LSC with prior approval of Lory Student Center Event Planning Services (EPS). Amplified music levels within the LSC are not to exceed 95 decibels (dB) when measured 24” from any PA speaker and 80 dB at the room’s perimeter. Allowable amplification levels may differ in some areas of the building due to variables including room size, acoustical treatments, or the potential for adjacent meeting disruption. All requirements and measurements will be determined by LSC staff.
Amplified sound on the Lory Student Center Plaza is permitted when approved in advance by LSC Event Planning Services, with a reservation. The event must take place during the normal office hours of Event Planning Services. Sound levels are not to exceed 80 decibels at any time. Due to the proximity of classrooms, offices, laboratories, and the library, an Event Planning Services staff member will monitor the sound level and may require lower sound levels when necessary to avoid undue disruption of others. Refer to the Lory Student Center policies for information related to live outdoor music on the plaza.
Live outdoor performances that require amplification will be staged at an area designated by Event Planning Services and will only be permitted from 11:30am to 1pm (sound check may start at 11am). For most events the designated area will be the concrete cutout area near the main LSC entrance. Amplified speech and music playback are limited to normal office hours. The reserved vehicle parking area does not include sound rights. Music cannot be played from the vehicle. Clients may reserve both the vehicle spot and the sound rights but must have the sound in the designated area.
Clients not following the LSC amplification policy will be asked to comply. Subsequent infractions may result in the cancellation of the sound amplification portion of the event.
Approved by the Lory Student Governing Board, February 25, 2010
Guidelines for Expression and Assembly
Disruptive Activity. Any act that unreasonably interferes with the rights of others to peaceably assemble or to exercise the right of free speech, disrupts the normal functioning of the University, damages property, or endangers health or safety is specifically prohibited. No person may attempt to, nor actually interfere with, impair or impede the institution’s regularly scheduled classes, events, ceremonies, or normal and essential operations.
Reasonable Access. The University is required by law to provide and maintain reasonable access to, and exit from, any office, classroom, laboratory, or building. This access must not be obstructed at any time. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic cannot be impeded by demonstrations or gatherings.
Picketing. Picketing in an orderly manner in open public forums is permitted in accordance with this Policy. Such activities should not become disruptive nor should they impede access. Picketing is not permitted inside campus buildings or other non-public areas.
Commercial Literature. Commercial literature may be distributed in designated public forums only (i) in the LSC Flea Market; (ii) at University events where the commercial activity has been pre-approved; (iii) through publications such as the Rocky Mountain Collegian Newspaper, whose distribution on campus is pre-approved; and (iv) on University-approved bulletin boards (in accordance with the University Policy on Signage and Posting). All other commercial solicitations are prohibited. Literature shall be distributed only from the vendor’s Flea Market table or other arranged location. Vendors shall not distribute literature by accosting individuals, taking up a position near a building access point, or blocking foot or vehicle traffic. Anyone distributing literature is responsible for cleanup of any literature on the grounds when the event concludes.
Symbolic Protest–Displaying a sign, gesturing, wearing symbolic clothing, or otherwise protesting silently is permissible unless it is a disruptive activity or impedes access to facilities. In addition, such acts should not block the audience’s view or prevent the audience from being able to pay attention to a lawful assembly and/or an official University event.
Noise–Making-- sustained or repeated noise made in a manner that substantially interferes with another speaker’s ability to communicate his/her message is not permitted. Noise levels should not interfere with classes, meetings, or activities in progress or the privacy of residence hall students.
Force or Violence–Any attempt to impede, impair, or interfere with the orderly operations of the University, including official University events or other lawful assemblies, by the threat or use of force or violence is not permissible.
Damage to Property–Any damage to University or personal property in the course of, or as a result of, an expressive activity is prohibited. Care should be taken to ensure that University and personal property is not damaged or destroyed. This includes the campus lawns, shrubs, and trees.
Other Laws and Rules–All applicable laws, rules and regulations (including, but not limited to, the Student Conduct Code, Human Resource Services Manual, and Academic Faculty/Administrative Professional Manual) must be followed whenever engaging in activities on campus.
Laws Relevant to Rallies, Demonstrations, and Gatherings
This information is provided so that all people involved in a demonstration or assembly may know their legal rights and obligations. If you have questions about your rights or obligations during an assembly, rally, or demonstration, please contact the Colorado State University Police Department for clarification prior to engaging in behaviors that may subject you to arrest or fines.
Obstructing Highway or Passageway:
It is illegal to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly obstruct a street, sidewalk or building entrance or disobey a reasonable request from a peace officer or other person in authority to move from such location. (18-9-107 C.R.S.)
Disrupting Lawful Assembly:
It is illegal to obstruct or interfere with a gathering or meeting by any physical action, verbal communication, or other means. (18-9-108 C.R.S.)
Interference with Educational Institutions:
It is illegal to willfully deny to students, employees, or visitors: lawful freedom of movement on institutional premises; lawful ingress or egress to facilities; and lawful use of the property or facilities of the institution. It is also illegal to impede faculty or staff at an institution in the performance of their duty or to impede a student of an institution in the lawful pursuit of his or her educational activities in any way. (18-9-109 C.R.S.)
Public Buildings, Trespass, Interference:
It is illegal for any person to so conduct himself at any public building owned or operated by the state, to willfully deny to any public official, public employee or invitee the right to enter and use facilities or leave such facilities. It is also illegal to impede any public official or employee in the lawful performance of their duties. (18-9-110 C.R.S.)
It is illegal for a person to: strike, shove or subject another person to physical contact; or repeatedly insult, taunt or challenge another person in the manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response when the intent is to harass, annoy or alarm the other person. (18-9-111 C.R.S.)
Unlawful Conduct on Public Property:
It is unlawful for any person to enter or remain in any public building or on any public property or to conduct himself in or on the same in violation of any order, rule, or regulation concerning any matter prescribed in this subsection, limiting or prohibiting the use or activities or conduct in such public building or on such public property ... (18-9-117 C.R.S.)
Failure or refusal to leave premises or property upon request of a peace officer - penalties - payment of costs:
A person committing certain violations or conduct may also be billed for any extraordinary expenses resulting from such violations. (18-9-119 C.R.S.)
If you are convicted of engaging in riotous behavior, the minimum penalty is immediate suspension from all state supported universities for at least 12 months. (23-5-124 C.R.S.)
NOTE: This list of laws relevant to rallies, demonstrations and gatherings is intended to be informative, however, it is not exhaustive of all statutes that may apply, and the CSU Student Conduct Code is also applicable to activities associated with demonstrations and assemblies. Statutes are subject to change; always consult official statutes.