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Expressive Activity

Responsible Department
University Wide
Effective Date
Revision Date
  1. .


    1. The University of North Georgia (the “University”) is committed to providing an educational and work climate that is conducive to the personal and professional development of each individual.  In fulfilling its mission as an institution of higher learning, it encourages the free exchange of ideas.

    2. The purpose of this policy is to promote and facilitate Expressive Activity and respect the constitutional rights of the University Community while allowing the University to make necessary arrangements (such as arranging march routes, providing security, avoiding multiple events at the same time and location) and ensuring such activities do not interfere with the University’s mission and operations or with the rights of others.

    3. It applies to all students, employees, visitors and other individuals while at the University.  This policy does not replace, but supplements, applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
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    1. Designated Public Forum: The following areas are designated by the University for Expressive Activity:

      1. Cumming Campus – the grass area in front of the building closest to the lower parking lots

      2. Dahlonega Campus – the west side of the promenade nearest the drill field

      3. Gainesville Campus – the grass area stretching from the Student Center to the Strickland Building

      4. Oconee Campus – the grass area between the quad walkway and the Library wing of the Student Resource Center

      5. Blue Ridge Campus – Due to space restrictions, no area has been designated.

    2. Expressive Activity:  Communicative conduct or activity, other than commercial speech/activity, that is protected by the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution, such as public speeches, demonstrations, marches, protests and picketing, and the distribution of literature.  Commercial speech is governed under the University’s Solicitation Policy.

    3. Recognized Student Organization or RSO: Any number of persons who have complied with the formal requirement for University recognition including Fraternities, Sororities, Chapters and Student Clubs, the Corps of Cadets and affiliated Co-curricular Clubs.

    4. Limited Public Forum: Areas with limited access for Expressive Activity and that may be limited to particular groups or particular topics.  Examples include but are not limited to: classrooms, sidewalks, streets, paved areas, terraces, patios, lawns, and parks on campus.

    5. Non-Public Forum: Areas that are not traditional public forums, designated public forums, or limited public forums.  Examples include, but are not limited to, residence hall rooms, faculty and staff offices, administration buildings, medical treatment facilities, libraries, the Pine Valley Recreation Area, the William Livsey Drill Field, Colonel Ben Purcell Formation Plaza, Retreat Triangle, and Memorial Wall and other memorial areas. These forums will be restricted to use for their intended purpose and are not available for public Expressive Activity.

    6. Structured Volunteer: A non-employee who performs service for the University for civic, charitable, educational or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for services rendered, and who has completed all of the necessary requirements as outlined by Human Resources and the Structured Volunteer Policy is considered to be a volunteer during such hours.

    7. Traditional Public Forum: The public streets and sidewalks surrounding a UNG campus.

    8. University Community Member: Any persons enrolled at or employed by the University including faculty, staff, administrators and employees, and recognized University affiliated entities including University foundations, Recognized Student Organizations, University Departments, and Structured Volunteers.
  3. .


    The University supports and encourages Expressive Activity. Nothing in this policy prohibits individual students, faculty, staff or administrators from engaging in Expressive Activity in the Designated Public Forums, Traditional Public Forums or Limited Public Forums on campus and does not apply to University-sponsored activities or classroom instruction or participation; but rather establishes the content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions concerning acts of expression and dissent. Nothing in this policy permits the University to regulate the content of Expressive Activity protected by the First Amendment.  The University maintains a position of neutrality as to the content of expression and any materials distributed on campus under this policy.

    1. University Community Members

      1. Campus Locations Available for Expressive Activity

        University Community Members may use Traditional Public Forums, Designated Public Forums and Limited Public Forums for Expressive Activity, subject to the following conditions:

        1. Designated Public Forums - To better facilitate the free exchange of ideas, the University has Designated Public Forums for speeches and demonstrations in high visibility areas at each of its campuses.

          1. Each area is available for this purpose between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

          2. Generally, it is not necessary for University Community Members to request a reservation for use of the Designated Public Forum for the purposes of expression.

          3. Reservations are required when groups of twenty-five (25) or more wish to gather in the Designated Public Forums.

          4. Use of the Designated Public Forums must comply with the time, place and manner restrictions in Section C of this policy.

          5. To ensure the safety of the participants, the University reserves the right to move individuals to other locations on campus, if the size of the group cannot be accommodated by the Designated Public Forum.

        2. Limited Public Forums - Recognized Student Organizations, Faculty and Staff wishing to engage in Expressive Activity in a Limited Public Forum must submit a request for reservation of that location, at least two business days prior to the planned activity. Reservation requests will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis, but in the event that multiple requests conflict, the use of the space will be reserved in a manner consistent with the reservation priorities detailed in the University Facilities Use Policy.

      2. The following categories of activities or speech are not protected by law and are not permitted on campus:  speech that incites imminent lawless action that is integral to the commission of a crime, speech that triggers an automatic violent response (“fighting words”), true threats, obscenity, child pornography, certain types of defamatory speech, and certain types of commercial speech.

    2. Non-University Community Members

      1. Designated Public Forums

        1. Individuals or groups who are not University Community Members or the invited guest(s) of University Community Members are permitted access to the Designated Public Forums between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

        2. All individuals or groups who are not University Community Members parties must make a reservation to use the Designated Public Forum.

        3. The Designated Public Forums are provided on a content-neutral basis and are designated for any non-University Community Members or groups to share an opinion or viewpoint with the University Community.

        4. Non-University Community Members or groups are limited to three scheduled (3) activities per month so that opportunities are available to other applicants to use the area.  Once scheduled, if you cannot use the space, please cancel as early as possible to allow others to use the space.  Missed scheduled dates count towards the limit of three activities per month.

        5. Use of the Designated Public Forum must comply with University policies, including, but not limited to the Solicitation Policy.

      2. Other Areas of the University Campus

        1. Individuals or groups, who are neither a University Community Member nor the invited guest(s) of a member of a University Community Member, may reserve Limited Public Forums, as set forth in the University Facilities Use Policy for Expressive Activity.

        2. All reservations of other areas on campus must comply with the time, place and manner restrictions in Section C of this policy.

    3. Time, Place and Manner Restrictions

      Individuals engaging in Expressive Activity on campus must also abide by the following requirements. Expressive Activities must not:

      1. Attract a crowd larger than the occupant limitations for the location can safely contain;

      2. Significantly disrupt University activities inside or outside of buildings (including classes);

      3. Significantly disrupt previously scheduled campus events (remain 20 feet from entrances and exits);

      4. Obstruct entrances or exits to buildings;

      5. Obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic;

      6. Represent a threat to public safety, according to the discretion of the Campus Public Safety Department;

      7. Include camping or the use of temporary shelters (tents), as such activities are prohibited on University property;

      8. Affix items to any permanent structure (fences, trees, etc.);

      9. Light any material on fire, with the exception of hand-held candles which may be utilized with special permission of the Associate Dean of Students; other open flame devices and fires are strictly prohibited;

      10. Additional time, place and manner restrictions for chalking, signs and political activities are set forth in separate University policies;

      11. Utilize any amplification device;

      12. Include camping or the use of temporary shelters;

      13. Last longer than eight hours in a 24-hour period;

      14. Involve solicitation or commercial enterprises.

    4. Additional Provisions

      The following provisions apply to both reservation requests and Expressive Activity:

      1. No publicity for a speaker or program may be released prior to confirmation of the reservation by the University.

      2. When assessing a reservation request for Expressive Activity on campus, University personnel must not consider the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to that expression, except to the extent such factors are relevant to assessing appropriate security measures.  University personnel may not impose restrictions on individuals or organizations engaged in Expressive Activity 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 this expression, University personnel shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety, while allowing the Expressive Activity to continue.  The Public Safety Department maintains discretion to end any activity if it is deemed to be a threat to campus safety.

      3. Persons or organizations responsible for an activity covered under this policy must remove all signs and litter from the area at the end of the event.  If this is not accomplished, persons or organizations responsible for the event will be held financially responsible.  Any items left behind or unattended (including memorials) may be removed at the conclusion of the event.

      4. Distribution of written material: Non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines and other written materials may be distributed on a person-to-person basis.  The University Solicitation Policy covers the distribution of commercial materials and publications.

      5. Activity that results in damage or destruction of property owned or operated by the University or property belonging to students, faculty, staff or guests of the University is prohibited.  Persons or organizations causing such damage may be held financially responsible.
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    Support Info

    Related policies include:  Facilities Use Policy, Chalking Policy, Sign Policy, and Political Activities Policy which can be located in the UNG Policy Database.

  5. .


    Any operating procedures developed must comply with and reference this policy.

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