Procedure VII.7003.A.a, Expressive Activities

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Associated Policy

Policy VII.7003.A, Expressive Activities

Procedures

I. Overview

  1. San Jacinto College is committed to fostering a learning environment where free inquiry and expression are encouraged. The College may not take action against a College-related organization (student or employee) or outside organization or deny these organizations any benefit generally available to other organizations at the College on the basis of a political, religious, philosophical, ideological, or academic viewpoint expressed by the organizations or of any expressive activities of the organizations.  College-related organizations (student or employee) or outside organizations may, subject to this policy, invite speakers to speak on campus.
  2. The College expects that persons engaging in organized expressive activities will demonstrate respect for the safety of persons and property, respect for those who may disagree with their message, and compliance with College policies and applicable local, state, and federal laws. As permitted by law, San Jacinto College imposes reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on organized expressive activities. Additionally, any expressive activities that are unlawful or materially and substantially disruptive to the normal operations of the College will not be tolerated. Groups or individuals engaging in disruptive activities, unduly interfering with the expressive activities of others on campus or failing to comply with College policies and procedures and applicable local, state, and federal laws may face immediate removal from the campus and other appropriate and lawful sanctions.  See Section IV, Violations and Sanctions, for further information.
  3. These guidelines regulate the time, place, and manner of organized expressive activities by (i) individuals and groups that are affiliated with the College (current students, faculty, and staff) and (ii) individuals and groups that are not affiliated with the College. The location of organized expressive activities will depend upon the factors listed in these guidelines, including the size of the audience for the activity. Decisions to be made by College officials will be based on these guidelines and will not be based on the content or viewpoint of a proposed organized expressive activity, or on any anticipated controversy related to the proposed event. Organized expressive activities permitted under these guidelines do not imply official endorsement by the College.
  4. The Chancellor, Deputy Chancellor and College President, or other designated College representatives retain the authority to take such steps to prevent expressive activities that materially interfere with the educational mission of the College. Permissible activities must be conducted in a manner that does not disturb or interfere with the academic programs or administrative or business activities of San Jacinto College or any program or activity that is conducted by or is authorized by the College. Additionally, permissible activities shall not:
  • interfere with the free entry to or exit from a building, structure, or facility;
  • interfere with the flow of pedestrians or vehicular traffic on sidewalks or streets or at places of ingress and egress to and from property, buildings, or facilities;
  • deny the use of offices or other facilities to the students, faculty, staff, or guests of the College;
  • threaten or endanger the safety of any person on a campus;
  • engage in conduct that is likely to result in damage to or destruction of College property or to cause disruption in utilities;
  • create a sustained or repeated noise disturbance that substantially interferes with a speaker's ability to communicate with others and/or the rights of others to listen; or
  • attempt to prevent a College event or other lawful assembly by the threat or use of force or violence.  

Additionally, no person, including a student or employee of the College or outside group, shall distribute any petition, handbill, object, or piece of literature; post or carry any sign, placard, or banner; or engage in speech or conduct on property or in buildings or facilities owned or controlled by the College if it is obscene, libelous, or directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. 

  1. These guidelines do not apply to official College activities.

II. Definitions

  1. Amplified sound: The use of any loudspeaker, loudspeaker system, sound amplifier, or any other machine or device that produces, reproduces, or amplifies sound.
  2. College: The San Jacinto College and any of its campuses or buildings.
  3. College department: Any academic or non-academic unit or division or any other official College entity.
  4. College grounds: Any College-owned, leased, or maintained property, including, but not limited to, the College's South Campus, Central Campus, North Campus, Maritime Campus, Generation Park Campus, and District Administration Building.
  5. Commercial activity: The selling of objects or services by an individual, organization, or company for personal gain or for the financial benefit of owners or investors.
  6. Non-profit group: A group whose purpose is to serve a public or mutual benefit other than the pursuit or accumulation of profits for owners or investors. The term includes, but is not limited to, registered student organizations, public charities, social welfare agencies, religious organizations, and organizations exempt from federal income tax.
  7. Official College event or activity: Any event, program, or activity sponsored by a College department or division in the course of fulfilling its College mission, activities that occur within the classroom, or events that occur within the regular or recurring sphere of activity of a College department or division.
  8. Organized expressive activity: Any rally, parade, demonstration, stationary structure or display, concert or other similar event designed to attract a gathering of twenty-five  or more people during a specified period of time. The term also includes a stationary structure, display, or activity that is scheduled to be in the same location for two or more hours in a single day and that is intended to distribute or is prepared to distribute literature or materials to twenty-five or more people.
  9. Outside group:  A group not affiliated with the College and who requests indoor or outdoor expressive activities and/or literature distribution on College property.
  10. Registered student organization: A student organization officially registered with the Office of Student Engagement & Activities at the College.

III. Use of Outdoor Space by Individuals Affiliated and Not-affiliated with the San Jacinto College

  1. Time, Place, and Manner for Outdoor Expression
    Common outdoor areas are traditional public forums and are not subject to the same approval procedures. Students, employees, student organizations, and outside groups may engage in expressive activities in common outdoor areas without prior approval or reservation, unless:
    1. The person’s conduct is unlawful;
    2. The activity is commercial activity rather than expressive activity;
    3. The use would constitute an immediate and actual danger to the peace or security of the College District that available law enforcement officials could not control with reasonable efforts;
    4. There is inclement weather;
    5. The use would materially or substantially disrupt or disturb the regular academic program; or
    6. The use would result in damage to or defacement of property.
  2. Areas Where Outdoor Expressive Activity May Not Take Place
    The College will regulate outdoor expressive activity under criteria that is content and viewpoint neutral and is narrowly tailored to serve significant institutional interest. Therefore, an outdoor expressive activity may not take place:
    1. In areas already reserved for an official College event during the specific times reserved for the official College event;
    2. In areas that block free movement of pedestrian or vehicle traffic;
    3. In areas that prevent or substantially hinder entry or exit of a campus building; or
    4. In any areas on campus during times that the College campus is closed to the public.
  3. Reserving Space for Outdoor Expression
    While no approval or reservation is required by the College to engage in outdoor expressive activity, individuals affiliated or not affiliated with the College have the ability to reserve an outdoor space on campus in order to guarantee their desired space of expression is kept available to them during the specific date/time of their planned activity. To make reservations for an outdoor expressive activity, individuals must:
    1. Contact the Student Engagement & Activities Office on the campus of their planned activity and complete an Outdoor Expressive Activity Reservation Form.
    2. Student Engagement and Activities will ensure the space is not already reserved for the desired date/time and send the requestor a confirmation within 5 business days. While there is no limit to the frequency that an organization may engage in expressive activity on campus, an organization may only reserve a specific location in advance up to four times per calendar month.
    3. Individuals affiliated or not affiliated with the College reserving an outdoor space may not assign or delegate any control or responsibility of that reservation to any other person, agent, or third party without prior written approval of the respective campus Student Engagement & Activities Coordinator.  All individuals affiliated or not affiliated with the College requesting a reservation must be clearly identified prior to confirmation of a reservation.  Reservations of an outdoor expressive activity space may not be used for a different activity without written approval of the respective campus Student Engagement & Activities Coordinator.
  4. Other Considerations
    Amplified sound is allowed, but bullhorns are prohibited. Noise levels should not interfere with classes, meetings, or activities in progress. Making sustained or repeated noise in a manner that substantially, unduly interferes with a speaker’s ability to communicate his/her message is not permitted. A student, faculty member, or staff member responsible for a structure or display must remain with the structure or display at all times.

    The College may move a scheduled or reserved event to a different location upon the occurrence of:

    1. circumstances beyond the control of the College, such as facility infrastructure disruption and/or inclement weather;
    2. unanticipated needs of the College for use of the space for College purposes;
    3. substantial changes in the needs or size of the scheduled event; or
    4. subsequent disruption to previously scheduled College events.

The Student Engagement & Activities Office will consult with the organizer of the scheduled event to consider other feasible locations or the rescheduling of the event. The Student Engagement & Activities Office will move the event to an agreed-upon location or to the nearest suitable location. The College is not responsible for any costs incurred by the organizers of the scheduled event that may result from a change in location.

Note: Each individual or organization granted a reservation is responsible for removing personal items and trash generated as a result of the activity.  If the individual or organization does not comply with this notice, the individual or organization may be denied future access to expressive activity areas.

IV. Distribution of Literature by Persons Affiliated with San Jacinto College

If San Jacinto College faculty, staff, students, or members of registered student organizations desire to distribute literature or other printed materials and the proposed distribution satisfies the definition of "organized expressive activity," then the distribution shall occur in an area designated for organized expressive activities in accordance with these guidelines.

If College faculty, staff, students, or members of registered student organizations desire to distribute literature or other printed materials, this may occur in the College's outdoor common areas such as sidewalks, walkways, and plazas. No prior approval is required.

Additionally, no person, including a student or employee of the College, shall distribute any petition, handbill, object, or piece of literature; post or carry any sign, placard, or banner; or engage in speech or conduct on property or in buildings or facilities owned or controlled by the College if it is obscene, libelous, or directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.  All literature distribution by San Jacinto College faculty, staff, students, or members of registered student organizations, regardless of the size of the expected or intended audience, must comply with the following rules:

  • Literature or other printed materials must be distributed in person.
  • Literature or other printed materials must not be forced upon others.
  • The materials must not be considered prohibited harassment.
  • The materials must not infringe upon intellectual property rights of the College.
  • The free flow of pedestrian, vehicular, or other traffic must not be obstructed at any point at any time. Entrances and exits shall not be blocked, and pedestrians shall have sufficient space to safely maneuver around the individual(s) offering literature or material.
  • Groups or individuals are responsible for ensuring that literature/printed materials do not litter the area.
  • Literature/printed materials must not promote non-permitted commercial activities.
  • Faculty, staff, and students must produce upon request by a College official their College identification or other objective proof that the faculty member, staff member, or student is currently affiliated with the College.
     
  • Additionally, as permitted by Section 51.209 of the Texas Education Code, it shall violate these regulations for any person who is on any property or in a building owned or controlled by the College to fail to identify themselves in response to a request by an institutional representative. For the purpose of this section, a person identifies themselves by: (1) giving their name and complete address substantiated by a current driver's license, voter registration card, or other official documentation; and (2) stating truthfully whether they are a student or employee of the College, institutional representative, outside group, or outside individual. An "institutional representative" is any member of the Board of Trustees; any College administrator or manager; or any peace officer or security officer of the College acting pursuant to authority of Texas law. Any person who refuses to properly identify themselves in accordance with this regulation may be required to leave the premises and may be subject to arrest for trespass.

V. Distribution of Literature by Persons Not Affiliated with San Jacinto College

Individuals and non-profit organizations that are not affiliated with the College may distribute literature and materials in the outdoor common areas of the College in accordance with these guidelines.

No person, including a student or employee of the College, shall distribute any petition, handbill, object, or piece of literature; post or carry any sign, placard, or banner; or engage in speech or conduct on property or in buildings or facilities owned or controlled by the College if it is obscene, libelous, or directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.  All literature distribution, regardless of the size of the expected or intended audience, must comply with the following rules:

  • Literature or other printed materials must be distributed in person.
  • Literature or other printed materials must not be forced upon others.
  • The materials must not be considered prohibited harassment.
  • The materials must not infringe upon intellectual property rights of the College.
  • The free flow of pedestrian, vehicular, or other traffic must not be obstructed at any point at any time. Entrances and exits shall not be blocked, and pedestrians shall have sufficient space to safely maneuver around the individual(s) offering literature or material.
  • Groups or individuals are responsible for ensuring that literature/printed materials do not litter the area.
  • Literature/printed materials must not promote non-permitted commercial activities.

Additionally, as permitted by Section 51.209 of the Texas Education Code, it shall violate these regulations for any person who is on any property or in a building owned or controlled by the College to fail to identify themselves in response to a request by an institutional representative. For the purpose of this section, a person identifies themselves by: (1) giving their name and complete address substantiated by a current driver's license, voter registration card, or other official documentation; and (2) stating truthfully whether they are a student or employee of the College, institutional representative, outside group, or outside individual. An "institutional representative" is any member of the Board of Trustees; any College administrator or manager; or any peace officer or security officer of the College acting pursuant to authority of Texas law. Any person who refuses to identify themselves properly in accordance with this regulation may be required to leave the premises and may be subject to arrest for trespass.

VI. Reservation of Indoor Space

The buildings and facilities owned or controlled by the San Jacinto College District generally are not traditional public forums open for assembly, debate, demonstrations, or similar activities by members of the general public or by students or employees of the College. The space and facilities of the College are intended primarily for the support of the instructional programs of the College and for the support of programs conducted or sponsored by the College's academic and administrative departments or organizations affiliated with those departments. The responsibility of the College to operate and maintain an effective and efficient institution of higher education requires that the College regulate the time, place, and manner of assembly, speech, and other expressive activities inside the buildings of the College.

  1. Authorized Uses

    The College permits individuals and organizations to reserve a table (also known as a booth) in certain designated areas of certain campus buildings for certain limited purposes. Authorized uses include the distribution of literature to promote a College or community event or to provide information about the organization or its activities; membership recruitment; and fundraising by a non-profit organization.

Identification of Sponsor: applicants may not assign or delegate any control or responsibility to any other applicant or co-sponsor, agent, or third party without prior written approval of the respective campus Student Engagement & Activities Coordinator.  All applicants or co-sponsors of indoor expressive activities must be clearly identified prior to confirmation of a reservation.  Reservations of an indoor expressive activity space may not be used for a different activity without written approval of the respective campus Student Engagement & Activities Coordinator.  Indoor site availability is determined by the days and times that the building is open to the public.  

Designated indoor sites:

Central Campus

  • Newton Student Center northwest lobby

Maritime Campus

  • First floor covered open area adjacent to the main entrance

North Campus

  • Slovacek Student Center 1st floor west entrance

Generation Park Campus

  • First floor covered open area adjacent to the main entrance

South Campus

  • Bruce Student Center, 1st floor west atrium adjacent to stairway

District Building 1

  • First Floor Lobby area outside of and adjacent to the Boardroom (A-1.104)
  1. Restrictions on Use of Space
    Tables/booths may be reserved by individual students, student organizations, employees, and employee organizations. Tables/booths also may be reserved by groups and non-profit organizations that are not affiliated with the College so long as their purpose is non-commercial in nature. The tables/booths may not be used for a commercial purpose or a for-profit business activity. Fundraising is not permitted unless the group is affiliated with a registered College student organization or any official College entity.
  2. Table/Booth Restrictions
    Persons distributing information at a reserved table/booth must remain within three feet of their reserved table space. Tables/booths may not be moved and must remain in the location designated by the College. Signs and displays at reserved tables/booths may not extend beyond three (3) feet of the reserved table space and may not exceed six (6) feet in height. Under no circumstances may any stationary display, exhibit, or structure present a significant safety hazard or threat to public safety. A member of the group reserving the table/booth must tend the table/booth at all times.
  3. Distribution of Printed Materials
    Literature or other printed materials must be distributed in person. Individuals or groups distributing literature or other materials may not force literature or materials upon others. The free flow of pedestrian, vehicular, or other traffic may not be obstructed at any point at any time. Groups or individuals are responsible for ensuring that literature/printed materials do not litter the area. At the conclusion of the reservation, the individual or organization is responsible for removing personal items and trash generated as a result of the activity.

    Additionally, no person, including a student or employee of the College, shall distribute any petition, handbill, object, or piece of literature; post or carry any sign, placard, or banner; or engage in speech or conduct on property or in buildings or facilities owned or controlled by the College if it is obscene, libelous, or directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.  All literature distribution, regardless of the size of the expected or intended audience, must comply with the following rules:

  • Literature or other printed materials must be distributed in person.
  • Literature or other printed materials must not be forced upon others.
  • The materials must not be considered prohibited harassment.
  • The materials must not infringe upon intellectual property rights of the College.
  • The free flow of pedestrian, vehicular, or other traffic must not be obstructed at any point at any time. Entrances and exits shall not be blocked, and pedestrians shall have sufficient space to safely maneuver around the individual(s) offering literature or material.
  • Groups or individuals are responsible for ensuring that literature/printed materials do not litter the area.
  • Literature/printed materials must not promote non-permitted commercial activities.
  1. Restrictions on Amplified Sound
    Amplified sound is allowed but bull-horns are prohibited. Noise levels should not interfere with or disrupt classes, meetings or activities in progress. Making sustained or repeated noise in a manner that substantially interferes or disrupts with a speaker’s ability to communicate his/her message is not permitted.
  2. Space Availability
    The space available for reserved tables/booths is limited. Other than the designated table/booth located in the student centers, all other indoor areas on campus may only be reserved by official College departments or organizations. To ensure that all eligible groups have a reasonable opportunity to reserve a table/booth, eligible individuals and organizations will be limited to a maximum of four advance reservations per space each month. Eligible individuals or a group may inquire with the Student Engagement & Activities Coordinators/Event Services Coordinator about same-day table/booth availability beginning at 8:30 AM. If the designated space has not been reserved then an application for that same-day usage can be submitted and accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. All applications actually received between 8:30 AM. and 4:00 PM. on the same day will be eligible for selection using the neutral, random method.
  3. Application Process
    Eligible individuals or groups may request the use of indoor space by completing an application. Applications are available at the Student Engagement & Activities Offices. The requesting group or individual must submit a completed Application to Reserve Indoor Space for Organized Expressive Activity to the relevant campus. Reservations must be made at least five business days in advance of the planned event but no more than sixty days in advance of the planned event. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. An application is "received" for purpose of this section if it is actually received between the hours of 8:30 AM. and 4:00 PM. Reservations may be sent via email, but such reservations are not considered received until opened. Registered student organizations and/or College employees are given priority over outside organizations if a campus receives two or more applications on the same day seeking to reserve the same location at the same or conflicting times. In the event of conflicting applications between multiple registered student organizations and/or College employees, applications will be selected using a neutral, random method.  In the event of conflicting applications between organizations not affiliated with the College, applications will be selected using a neutral, random method.

    The Student Engagement & Activities Coordinator, or his or her designee, will approve or deny a requested reservation within three business days of receiving the application. Applicants must supply the following information:

  • Date of application;
  • Proposed date(s) of the reservation;
  • Proposed start and finish times;
  • Proposed location;
  • Name of the activity;
  • Anticipated attendance;
  • Advertising methods;
  • Description of the activities planned for the table/booth and the dimensions of any display or exhibit;
  • Campus sponsoring organization name, if any;
  • Contact person name, address, phone number, and email address; and
  • Applicant's signature.  

Applicants must supply all of the above information. If the College, in its sole discretion, determines that a proposed event poses a potential hazard to public safety, the expressive activity may be cancelled or denied.  An application may be denied for the following reasons:

  1. the applicant failed to supply requested information on the application;
  2. the requested space is not available because it has already been reserved;
  3. the application contains a material misrepresentation of fact;
  4. the applicant is ineligible due to a previous violation of these regulations within the previous six months (including prior non-compliances, including but not limited to, failure to remove personal items and trash during prior expressive activity requests);
  5. the proposed use is not suitable for the location because the anticipated attendance exceeds the reasonable capacity of the space;
  6. the proposed use is not suitable for the location because the design or dimensions of the display will substantially interfere with pedestrian access, traffic flow, or public safety;
  7. the proposed use would constitute an immediate and actual danger to the peace or security of the College and/or the local community, that available law enforcement officials could not control with reasonable efforts;
  8. the proposed use would constitute a material and substantial disruption to the regular academic program or other operation of the College;
  9. the proposed use conflicts with previously scheduled activities and events in the same area; and/or
  10. the proposed activity is commercial in nature.

Additionally, the campus Administration may move a scheduled event to a different location upon the occurrence of:

  • circumstances beyond the control of the College, such as facility infrastructure disruption and/or inclement weather;
  • unanticipated needs of the College for use of the space for College purposes;
  • substantial changes in the needs or size of the scheduled event; and/or
  • subsequent disruption to previously scheduled College events.

The Administration will consult with the organizer of the scheduled event to consider other feasible locations. The Administration will move the event to an agreed-upon location or to the nearest suitable location, which may include an outdoor location if available. The College is not responsible for any costs incurred by the organizers of the scheduled event that may result from a change in location.

The decision to grant or deny a reservation will not be based on the content or viewpoint of the organized expressive activity or upon the expected reaction of others to the activity.

VII. Violations and Sanctions

Any individuals or groups who unduly interferes with the expressive activities of others on campus or are found in violation of this procedure will be asked to immediately correct the behavior or instance that caused the violation.  Any further, continued violation may result in being barred from the ability to use any indoor or outdoor expressive activity area for a specified period of time, as determined by the Student Engagement & Activities Office of the respective campus.   

If the violator is a College student, the Student Engagement & Activities Office may also file a complaint with the Compliance & Judicial Affairs Office.  If the violator is a College employee, notification of the continued violation will be sent to the employee’s leader.   

VIII. Appeals

Any person who feels their right to free expression on-campus has been denied or prevented may appeal to the Compliance & Judicial Affairs Office using the College’s established and published complaint procedures.

Definitions

Expressive Activities:  Any speech or expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or by Section 8, Article I, Texas Constitution, and includes assemblies, protests, speeches, the distribution of written material, the carrying of signs, and the circulation of petitions. The term does not include commercial speech.

Date of SLT Approval

December 9, 2020

Effective Date

December 9, 2020

Associated Policy

Policy VII.7003.A, Expressive Activities

Primary Owner of Policy Associated with the Procedure

Deputy Chancellor & President

 

Secondary Owner of Policy Associated with the Procedure

Associate Vice Chancellor, Student Services