Policy: Campus Free Speech
Document Number: 1.049
Title: Campus Free Speech Policy
Effective Date: 10/01/2018
Revised Dated: 10/12/2018; 11/28/2018
Related: Free Speech Guidelines
The Board of Supervisors of the Louisiana and Community Technical College System (LCTCS) and River Parishes Community College (RPCC) 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”), 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 member institutions, subject only to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. All post-secondary institutions under the management and control of LCTCS shall allow and protect expressive activities by any person lawfully present on campus property in accordance with all applicable laws and this Policy.
Expressive activities may be undertaken in most outdoor areas or campuses. RPCC encourages civil dialogue and expression and sharing of opinions and beliefs that do not pose a threat of physical harm to any student, faculty, staff, or visitor.
Compliance with Laws
- River Parishes Community College will strive to ensure the fullest degree of intellectual freedom and free expression, allowing for all forms of peaceful assembly, protest, speech, distribution of literature, carrying signs, and circulating petitions, 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. Neither the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America nor Article I, Section 7, of the Constitution of Louisiana protects harassment or threats or expressions directed to provoke and likely to produce imminent lawless actions
- River Parishes Community College’s role is not 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. RPCC shall not deny a belief-based student organization any benefit or privilege available to any other student organization, or otherwise discriminate against a belief-based organization, based on the expression of the organization, including any requirement that the leaders or members of the organization:a. Affirm and adhere to the organization’s sincerely held beliefs;b. Comply with the organization’s standards of conduct;c. Further the organization’s mission or purpose, as defined by the organization.
- Students, faculty, and staff 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 that are necessary to achieve a significant institutional interest; such restrictions shall provide ample alternative means 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. Those who wish to assemble and engage in noncommercial expressive activities on the public areas of RPCC’s campuses shall be permitted to do so freely, as long as the conduct is not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the campus. Public areas which include outdoor areas of the RPCC’s campuses, are considered traditional public forums, and are open to expressive activities. All expressive activities, protests, or demonstrations must be held during normal working hours of the College. Such activities are not permitted when the campus is closed.
- RPCC students, faculty and staff 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 RPCC campuses 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 RPCC campuses are traditional public forums that are open on the same terms to any speaker. Public areas generally consist of outdoor areas that are accessible to the majority of students, administrators, faculty, and staff, such as grassy areas, public walkways, or other similar common areas, and do not include areas where access is restricted including, but not limited to, classrooms, faculty and staff offices, administrative offices, service area offices, Testing Centers, Success Centers, or any areas where students are engaging in learning activities, or faculty, staff, and administration are performing their official duties.
- This 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.
- Students who feel aggrieved by a violation of this policy should contact the Office of Student Affairs. Faculty or staff who feel aggrieved by a violation of this policy should contact the Director of Human Resources.
Publication and Dissemination:
RPCC’s policy on campus free expression will be made public in the institution’s handbook, on its website, and through the Office of Student Affairs programs. They will be incorporated in the materials, programs, and procedures provided to all employees and students.
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 due diligence efforts to comply with applicable laws and regulations, including those listed above.
* Free Speech Guidelines
* Act 666 of the 2018 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature, codified at R.S. 17:3399.31 through 3399.37
* LCTCS Policy #2.018