Policy: Campus Free Speech
Document Number: 1.049
Title: Campus Free Speech Policy
Effective Date: 10/01/2018
Revised Dated: 10/12/2018
River Parishes Community College (RPCC) deems the free and open inquiry into all matters fundamental to the mission of higher education and is committed to the preservation of the lawful, free expression of ideas at all of its campuses, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. All campuses of RPCC shall allow and protect non-commercial expressive activities by students, administrators, faculty members, staff members, and invited guests in accordance with all applicable laws and this policy.
In accordance with Act 666 of the 2018 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, codified at R.S. 17:3399.31 through 3399.37 (“Louisiana Campus Free Expression Law”), RPCC hereby adopts this policy on Campus Free Expression (“Policy”). This Policy applies to all campuses under the management of RPCC. For the purposes of this Policy, the definition of key terms and other mandatory provisions shall remain consistent with those in Act 666 of 2018, codified at R.S. 17:3399:31 through 3399.37. RPCC will amend this policy to reflect any subsequent changes to these statutes. In cases of any inconsistency, the statutory provisions shall supersede any such inconsistent provision in this policy.
In accordance with Louisiana Revised Statutes 17:3399.31 through 3399.37, relative to free expression on college campuses, River Parishes Community College will uphold the following provisions:
- RPCC will strive to ensure the highest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression, allowing for all forms of expression which are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America and Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution of Louisiana.
- It is not the proper role of RPCC to shield individuals from speech protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America and Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution of Louisiana, and other applicable laws, including, without limitation, ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.
- Students and faculty have the freedom to discuss any topic that presents itself, as provided under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America and Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution of Louisiana and other applicable laws within the limits on time, place, and manner of expression.
- Any limitations on time, place, and manner shall be those that are necessary to achieve a significant institutional interest only, and that provide ample alternative means of expression. In order to accommodate free expression viewpoints, RPCC has designated the central circle, between the Academic and Technical Buildings (Gonzales campus) as the Free Expression Area. The Free Expression Area is available for use during the following times when the college is open for business: Monday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 – 6:30 p.m., and Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Applicants must specify the time requested on the Free Expression Area Application.
- Students and faculty may assemble and engage in spontaneous and contemporaneous expressive activity as long as such activity is not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the institution.
- Any person lawfully present on a campus may protest or demonstrate there.
- Protests and demonstrations that infringe upon the constitutional rights of others to engage in or listen to expressive activity by creating a substantial and material disruption to the functioning of the institution or to someone’s expressive activity shall not be permitted.
- The public areas of all campuses of RPCC are traditional public forums that are open on the same terms to any speaker. The public area of RPCC, for the purpose of this policy, is herein defined as the Free Expression Area, and is the central circle, between the Academic and Technical Buildings (Gonzales campus) as the Free Expression Area
- The policy supersedes and nullifies any provision in the policies and regulations of RPCC that restricts speech on campus and that any such provision is therefore inconsistent with this policy on free expression.
Publication and Dissemination
RPCC’s policy on campus free expression will be made public in the institution’s handbook, on its website, and through student orientation programs. They will be incorporated in the materials, programs, and procedures provided to all employees and students. A person aggrieved by a violation of the institutional policy on free expression may seek relief by filing a written complaint on the standard complaint form available in the Office of Student Services, 925 West Edenborne Parkway, Gonzales, LA 70737; P.O. Box 2367, Gonzales, LA 70737.
Failure to comply with any applicable laws and regulations, including those listed above, shall constitute a failure to comply with this policy. RPCC shall make all due diligence efforts to comply with applicable laws and regulations, including those listed above.