Gwinnett Campus Policy on Freedom of Expression
No rights are more highly regarded at the University of Georgia than the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of expression and the right to assemble peaceably. The University of Georgia remains firmly committed to affording every member of our community the opportunity to engage in peaceful and orderly protests and demonstrations that do not disrupt the operation of the university. However, these opportunities must be provided on an equal basis and adhere to the basic principle of neutrality regarding the content of any public demonstration. To achieve this objective while ensuring that the university fulfills its educational mission, the university has the responsibility to regulate the time, place and manner of expression. Through such regulation, the university can assure equal opportunity for all persons, preserve order within the university community, protect and preserve university property and provide a secure environment for individuals exercising freedom of expression.
The following provisions and regulations apply to faculty, staff, students, student organizations and visitors at the University of Georgia’s Gwinnett Campus:
A. Speeches and Demonstrations.
1. The area designated as the “Free Expression Area” for speeches and demonstrations is the table and chair seating area near the first floor vending area, which is generally available for this purpose during the hours of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.
2. Use of these areas for speaking, demonstrating and other forms of expression must be scheduled through the Gwinnett Campus Office of Student Affairs to best accommodate all interested users.
3. Plans for speeches and demonstrations in other areas of the Gwinnett Campus and times must be approved by the Gwinnett Campus Director of Student Affairs.
4. Such plans will be considered in accordance with the principle of content neutrality.
5. The Gwinnett Campus physical space is leased and, therefore, any activities prohibited by this lease cannot be approved. Further, approval must be sought from the building owner for free expression events outside the UGA space – e.g., outdoor demonstrations. This process may take several days and approval may not be granted by the building owner.
6. All requests for approval must be submitted to the Gwinnett Campus Office of Student Affairs at least two university business days before the event.
B. Distribution of Written Material.
1. Non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines and other written materials may be distributed on a person-to-person basis in the UGA lobby area.
2. No stand, table, or booth may be used in distribution except in the designated Free Expression Area, and only with the permission of the Office of Student Affairs.
3. The university maintains a position of neutrality as to the content of any written material distributed on the campus under this policy.
4. The distribution of commercial materials is covered by the UGA Solicitation Policy.
C. Marches. The University does not own the outdoor areas – e.g., sidewalks and parking lot -- adjacent to the Gwinnett Campus. See section A for information about the approval process.
D. Provisions. To assure that persons exercising freedom of expression do not interfere with the operation of the university or the rights of others, the following will apply without exception to any form of expression and will be used to evaluate any plans requiring approval.
1. Reasonable limitations may be placed on the time, place, and manner of speeches, demonstrations, distribution of written material and marches in order to serve the interests of health and safety, prevent disruption of the educational process, and protect against the invasion of the rights of others.
2. Use of sound amplification on the Gwinnett Campus is prohibited.
3. Entrances and exits to the building must not be obstructed.
4. There must be no interference with educational activities.
5. Passersby must not be impeded in any way and there must be no disruption of the normal activities of the university.
6. There must be no interference with scheduled university ceremonies, events, or activities.
7. Malicious or unwarranted 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.
8. Persons or organizations responsible for a demonstration or other expressive event must remove all resulting signs and litter from the area at the end of the event. Failure to do so may result in persons or organizations responsible for the event being held financially responsible for such removal.
10. Participants must comply with all applicable state and federal laws and university policies, rules and regulations.
Questions about this policy may be directed to the Director of Student Affairs, Suite 153, 2530 Sever Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30043.