2022-2023 Administrative Policy Manual Published September 2, 2022 
    
    Apr 20, 2024  
2022-2023 Administrative Policy Manual Published September 2, 2022 [ARCHIVED COPY]

Freedom of Expression


Policy Number: 4.1.9
Effective Date: March 14, 2023
Revision History: May 1, 2017; February 28, 2017; May 26, 2016; June 4, 2015; May 28, 2013; May 12, 2012
Policy Contact: Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs

I. Purpose and Policy Statement

Georgia Gwinnett College (“GGC”) recognizes and upholds the rights protected by the First Amendment, including the rights of free speech and free expression, and the right to assemble peaceably. GGC also recognizes its responsibility to provide a secure learning environment that allows members of the College Community (as defined below) to express their views in ways that do not disrupt the operation of the College. Members of the College Community are free to express their views, individually or in organized groups, on any topic, in all unrestricted outdoor areas of the GGC campus. Persons not affiliated with GGC are free to similarly express their views on any topic in the designated Public Forum Areas, as defined below. These expressions are subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions as are necessary to promote campus safety, to ensure the proper functioning of the academic environment and institution activities, or to further other significant institutional interests. By placing reasonable limitations on time, place, and manner of speech, GGC does not take a position on the content or viewpoint of the expression, but allows for a diversity of viewpoints to be expressed. This policy does not restrict expressive activity by members of the College Community to the designated Public Forum Areas nor does it apply to College-sponsored activities or areas of campus that are not publicly accessible, such as classrooms, auditoriums, or athletic venues. 

The opinions expressed by organizations, groups or individuals using GGC facilities do not necessarily reflect the position of GGC. The College affirms its commitment to freedom of speech, assembly, and expression even though the language or ideas of those seeking a venue for free expression may contradict the College’s ideals and policies or the personal views of GGC employees and students.

II. Scope

This policy applies to all members of the College Community and to all visitors to the GGC campus who are not members of the College Community.

III. Definitions

College Community: For purposes of this policy, the College Community means GGC students, faculty, staff, and their invited guests.

IV. Expressive Activity on the GGC Campus
  1. Members of the College Community: Members of the College Community who plan to engage in expressive activity on campus may utilize all unrestricted outdoor areas of GGC as Public Forums Areas and reservations are not required. Groups that are expected to consist of 30 or more persons are encouraged to submit a formal reservation request to the Office of Student Affairs prior to the scheduled activity. Prior notice is only requested to ensure that there is available and sufficient space for the large group event, that necessary College resources are existing for crowd control and security, and that the academic and other operations of the College are not disrupted. However, please note, reservations are not required.
  2. Persons Who Are Not Members of the College Community: Individuals or groups of persons who are not members of the College Community may only engage in expressive activity on GGC’s campus in the designated Public Forum Areas after submitting a completed reservation request to the Office of Student Affairs at least two college business days prior to the scheduled expression and receiving approval in writing from a Student Affairs official pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section VI below. Organizers are encouraged to submit their requests as early in the planning stages of the event as possible. This provision does not apply to classroom instruction or College-sponsored events.
V. Designation of Public Forums on GGC’s Campus for Outside Individuals or Groups
  1. To better facilitate the free exchange of ideas, GGC has designated ZONE A and ZONE B as public forums on GGC’s campus (“Public Forum Area(s)”), which are depicted on the enclosed map. These Public Forum Areas are generally available from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, provided that the Public Forum Areas have not previously been reserved.
  2. Though reservations to use the Public Forum Areas are only required as set forth in this policy, GGC recommends that all parties interested in utilizing the Public Forum Areas submit a completed Forum Reservation Request Form to GGC’s Office of Student Integrity in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs prior to use so that GGC may minimize scheduling conflicts, accommodate all interested users, and provide adequate security for the speaker and the audience.
VI. Reservations
  1. Submitting a Reservation.
    1. Completed Forum Reservation Request Forms should be submitted to GGC’s Office of Student Integrity in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs in person or by email to studentintegrity@ggc.edu. Any written materials that will be distributed in connection with the expression must be attached to the Forum Reservation Request Form and submitted to GGC’s Office of Student Integrity in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs at least two college business days prior to the distribution of the written materials.  College officials may not deny any request to distribute written materials based on the content or viewpoint of the expression. Reservations will only be processed on days that GGC’s Administrative Offices are open for business (“College business days”). No publicity for a speaker or program may be released prior to authorization of the Reservation Request Form.
    2. Reservation scheduling will be coordinated by a Student Affairs official, who will schedule forums for expression on a first-come, first-served basis. The Student Affairs official must respond to all requests in writing as soon as practicable, but in no event more than one College business day following receipt of the request, either authorizing the reservation and noting any special instructions, if applicable, or setting forth the reason for denial of the reservation. The Public Forum Area is not reserved until the requestor receives a confirmation from the Student Affairs official.
  2. Denial of Reservation.
    1. The Student Affairs official may only deny a reservation request for one of the following reasons:
      1. The Forum Reservation Request Form is not fully completed;
      2. The Forum Reservation Request Form contains a material falsehood or misrepresentation;
      3. The Public Forum Areas have been reserved by persons who previously submitted a completed Forum Reservation Request Form(s), in which case the College will work to provide a reservation for the applicant at an alternate location, alternate date, or alternate time;
      4. The use or activity intended by the applicant would conflict with or disturb previously planned programs organized and conducted by the College;
      5. The Public Forum Areas are not large enough to accommodate the expected or actual number of persons engaging in large group expression, in which case the College will work to provide a reservation for the applicant at an alternate location that can safely accommodate the applicant provided that the applicant is a member of the College Community and that such a location exists on GGC’s campus;
      6. The use or activity intended by the applicant would present a danger to the health or safety of the applicant, other members of the College Community, or the public; or
      7. The use or activity intended by the applicant is prohibited by law, Board of Regents’ policy, or GGC policy.
    2. When assessing a reservation request, the Student Affairs official must not consider or impose restrictions based on the content or viewpoint of the expression, including the possible reaction to the content or viewpoint anticipated to be expressed during the event.
  3. Appeals. Any denial of a reservation request in whole or in part may be appealed to GGC’s Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students in a writing setting forth the reasons why the appeal should be granted. The Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (or his or her designee) must decide all appeals within one College business day. The decision of the Associate Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (or his or her designee) is final. 
  4. All campus reservations are subject to the general provisions below.
VII. General Provisions
  1. In addition to the requirements set forth above, all individuals expressing themselves on GGC’s campus must comply with the following guidelines and provisions:
    1. There must be no obstructions to and from buildings, no interference with other authorized and scheduled College activities, no impediments of passersby, or any disruptions of normal activities of the College.
    2. Sound amplification (including microphones and bullhorns) is not permitted due to the disruption of classes and other academic and administrative functions of the College.
    3. Georgia Gwinnett College equipment will not be available for assemblies, demonstrations, or protest activities.
    4. Events may not present a threat to public safety as determined by the Office of Public Safety or another College official.
    5. Open flame devices and bonfires are prohibited. 
    6. Items may not be affixed to permanent structures.
    7. Camping and the use of temporary shelters for such activities is prohibited.
    8. No commercial solicitations, campus sales, or fundraising activities shall be undertaken which are not authorized by GGC. For GGC’s policies on solicitation and fundraising, refer to APM 7.61 and APM 8.2.54.
    9. The individuals or groups engaging in expression are required to remove signs, placards, litter, and all other materials when the approved activity period ends.
    10. Any activity that results in damage or destruction of property owned or operated by the College or property belonging to students, faculty, staff, or guests of the College is prohibited. Persons or organizations causing such damage may be held financially and/or criminally responsible.
    11. In the case of inclement weather, the assembly, demonstration, or protest activity will be postponed until the next available assembly date that the group would like provided that the Public Forum Areas are available during that date and time.
    12. Individuals and groups of individuals expressing themselves on GGC’s campus must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws; Board of Regents’ policies; and GGC policies, rules, and regulations.
  2. Authorization of a speech, event, or demonstration is contingent upon compliance with the criteria listed above. The College reserves the right to refuse to permit individuals or groups to assemble, demonstrate, protest, or otherwise express themselves in the designated Public Forum Areas if the individual or group refuses to abide by these administrative procedures and guidelines. Speakers or organizations failing to comply with the above policy may be asked to leave, a trespass warning may be issued, and/or College disciplinary action or judicial action may be pursued.
VIII. Freedom of Expression Policy Questions

Questions about this policy may be addressed to the Office of Student Integrity in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs at 678.407.5882 or studentintegrity@ggc.edu.

IX. Related Regulations, Statues, Policies, and Procedures

Board of Regents Policy Manual 6.5 Freedom of Expression
GGC Campus Map Public Forum Areas