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College-wide Policies

Freedom of Expression

As a private institution, Colorado College is a voluntary association of persons invited to membership with the understanding that they will respect the principles that govern the college. Freedom of thought and expression is essential to any institution of higher learning. Uncensored speech — which does not include a right to harass, injure, or silence others — is essential in an academic community and will be vigorously defended. Members of the college community should understand that standards of civility, consideration, and tolerance must shape our interactions with each other. Infringing on the expression of views, either by interfering with a speaker or by defacing or removing properly posted or distributed notices or materials, will not be tolerated. Reasoned dissent is welcome at Colorado College. Disruption of college activities is not, and such behavior will not be tolerated. Members of the community are free to support causes by orderly means that do not disrupt the regular operation of the college community.

Responsible office
Dean of the College
Responsible party
Dean of the college; Vice president for student life/Dean of students
Last revision
August 2013
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
August 2013
Effective date
August 2013
Additional references
: Higher Education Opportunity Act Section 104 (Protection of Student Speech and Association Rights)

Scope

All financial and administrative policies involving community members across campus are within the scope of this policy. If there is variance between departmental expectations and the common approach described through college policy, the college will look to the campus community to support the spirit and the objectives of college policy.

Policy

Authorities delegated and retained/administrative responsibility

The president of the college delegates administration of the college’s Freedom of Expression Policy to the dean of the college, the vice president for student life/dean of students and the chief of staff.

Methods of expression

Individual members of the college community speak only for themselves in their public expressions and/or demonstrations. The Office of Communications coordinates institutional responses to the media.

 (a)   Written materials:

Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to distribute literature where it will not interfere with classes or other college functions. Protesters may neither impede nor harass people wishing to attend an event, or to see or hear a speaker. Disruption, force, or threat of force are not acceptable forms of protest at Colorado College. The college may call on local law-enforcement agencies and may choose to impose the college’s disciplinary sanctions on members of the college community who violate college policy.

(b)   Demonstrations:

Demonstrations by members of the campus community may occur on campus, but must not disrupt the regular operation of the college. Given that, the college reserves the right to control the time, place, and manner of events that occur on campus. The college does not seek to censor the expression of ideas, but rather to maintain campus safety and order. Protestors may be assigned to particular places on campus by campus safety officers.

Guidelines for Freedom of Expression

So that campus community members can exercise freedom of expression in a manner that does not disrupt our operations or distract from pursuit of our mission, the college establishes reasonable guidelines on the time, place and manner of speeches, demonstrations, distribution of written material (see definition below), marches, and other means of expression. These guidelines are not intended to minimize expression: rather, they are intended to provide an environment that:

  • remains conducive to learning;
  • is secure for individuals exercising freedom of expression;
  • balances the freedom of some to express themselves with the rights of others.

Pre-approval by student life  required

Prohibited

Events which may obstruct vehicular, pedestrian or other traffic must be approved at least 48 hours in advance. Time, place, and manner of the expression are considered during the approval process.

Obstruction of entrances or exits of buildings

Use of sound amplification on campus

Interference with college activities inside or outside of buildings.

Speeches, demonstrations, marches

Impediment of passersby or other disruptions of normal activities.

Camping and temporary structures (tents, etc.)

Interference with scheduled college ceremonies, events or activities.

 

Affixing of items to any permanent structure (fences, trees, etc.)


Malicious or unwarranted damage or destruction of property owned or operated by the college, or property belonging to students, faculty, staff or guests of the college.

Controversial events and speakers

The scheduling of a speaker or event known or considered to provoke public controversy requires adequate advance notice — usually four weeks. In addition, the sponsor must consult regarding the logistical arrangements with the dean of the college for a departmental- or employee-sponsored event, or with the vice president of student life for a student- or student-organization sponsored event.

Procedures

None

Definitions

Written  materials 

Include but are not limited to non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, and magazines.