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College-wide Policies

Freedom of Expression

As a private educational institution of higher learning, Colorado College is a voluntary association of persons who understand and respect the principles that govern the College. The College’s educational mission will always be paramount. Freedom of thought and expression are essential to any institution of higher learning. Academic freedom is essential to the mission of Colorado College, and freedom of expression is a vital component of academic freedom. Uncensored speech is essential in an academic community and will be vigorously defended; however, unlawful disruption of the expression of views by preventing a speaker from expressing views, through violence or the destruction of property, will not be tolerated. The College’s commitment to freedom of expression does not countenance communications or conduct that demean, denigrate, humiliate, or express hatred to any particular person or class of persons. Some communications or conduct may so violate our community standards that formal College intervention may be necessary. The College may restrict or sanction communications or conduct that violates the law, defames an individual, is physically threatening, or discriminates against, unlawfully harasses or retaliates against others simply because of that person’s protected status or because of that group’s message or content of communication. To these ends, the College reserves the right to control the time, place, and manner of events and communications, whether they occur on campus, at off-campus College activities, or on any College property. The College does not seek to censor the expression of ideas, but rather to maintain the regular operations of the College and the safety and security of individuals.

Responsible office
Provost, Student Life
Responsible party
Provost, Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students
Last revision
November 2018
Approved by
The Cabinet
Approval date
November 2018
Effective date
November 2018
Last review
September 2018
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 Provost, the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students and the AVP of Institutional Planning & Effectiveness.

Methods of expression

 (a)   Institutional Response:

The Office of Communications is solely responsible for institutional responses to the media;

 (b)   Written materials:

  • Students, faculty, and staff may distribute written and electronic material that does not defame others or interfere with the normal business or activities of the College;
  • These written materials must comply with the College’s Distribution of Printed Materials and Solicitation Policy, and electronic material must comply with the College’s Acceptable Use of Information Technology Resources Policy.

 (c)   Demonstrations:

  • The College encourages its members to be engaged citizens of their community and the nation, which may include participation in protests and demonstrations. The exercise of these rights should not endanger others, disrupt the normal business or activities of the College, damage property, or constitute illegal activity;
  • Students, faculty, and staff may participate in protests, demonstrations or other political activity, in whatever form, including via electronic or social media but must ensure that they in no way represent themselves as a spokesperson for the College. Students, faculty, and staff in leadership roles, should carefully consider whether their participation in protests and demonstrations will affect their work at the College, and should take all reasonable precautions to avoid the appearance of being a spokesperson for the College;
  • As always, staff should consult with their supervisor in advance of leaving work during regular hours.

It is a violation of College policy to interrupt, shout down, or otherwise disrupt an event. It is also a violation to obstruct the view of the speaker with banners or placards.

Campus Safety will ask individuals engaged in disruption to stop disrupting and to leave the area. Failure to follow directions of the Campus Safety officers is a violation of College policy; those who fail to comply promptly with such a request may be subject to disciplinary action or other sanctions according to Student Honor and Community Standards and college handbooks. Any reports of alleged violations of this policy will be handled in accordance with College policy.

Review Process by Student Life is required for:

  1. Events which may obstruct vehicular, pedestrian, or other traffic, and must be approved at least 72 hours in advance. Time, place, and manner of the events are considered during the review process;
  2. Use of sound amplification on campus;
  3. Camping and/or temporary structures (tents, etc.)
  4. Demonstrations and marches

Prohibited Activities:

  1. Obstruction of entrances or exits of buildings;
  2. Unlawful interference with College business or activities inside or outside of buildings;
  3. Interference with scheduled College ceremonies, events, or activities;
  4. Damaging, defacing, or destruction of property;
  5. Impeding traffic or passersby.

Procedures

All College events that are open to the public must be at the invitation of a College department, program, office, or organization.  In addition, the sponsor, department or program chair, division head, or student organization chair must notify in a timely manner the Provost, or their designee, for a departmental- or employee-sponsored event, or the Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or their designee, for a student- or student-organization sponsored event, to assure the practicability of the logistical arrangements.  The Provost, Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students, or their respective designees, reserve the right to impose restrictions, reschedule, relocate, or cancel speakers, activities, or events as a result of considerations relevant to assessment of campus safety, security, resources, or disruption of the normal business or activities of the College.

The following documents provide further information on procedures for events and speakers: