Policy: Free Speech Guidelines
River Parishes Community College has recommended areas for a variety of free speech activities, e.g., speeches/presentations, rallies, distribution of literature, posting, and voter registration.
To ensure that demonstrators and counter demonstrators do not interfere with the operations of RPCC or the rights of others, individuals and groups engaged in expressive activity shall not:
- Engage in activity that violates any federal, state, or local law, including but not limited to threats of violence, infliction of harm, and vandalism;
- Disrupt activities in areas that are used for instructional or administrative purposes, or are not otherwise open to the general public, such as classrooms, laboratories, or office areas;
- Obstruct pedestrian, vehicular, bicycle, or other traffic;
- Obstruct entrances or exits to buildings or driveways;
- Disrupt or preclude a scheduled speaker from being heard;
- Disrupt normal educational functions, business functions, scheduled ceremonies or events, including but not limited to cultural events;
- Damage property, including hard and vegetative landscaping features;
- Disrupt events or functions by using non-approved amplification (such as bullhorns or noise makers) or other sound (such as drums, gongs, banging on trashcans, etc.);
- Visually obstruct or cover up speakers, their supporters, protestors, signage of demonstrators or counter demonstrators;
- Camping overnight, including cooking, living outside or in overnight structures;
- Wear masks that are intended to obscure the identity of the wearer for the purpose of engaging in vandalism or other criminal activity, or are intended to intimidate or to make others fear for their safety. Students may protest or demonstrate an event as long as they are not disruptive to that event. In the event that a demonstrator or counter demonstrator who is a college student, faculty member, or staff member is observed by a College official to be engaging in disruptive behavior in violation of these guidelines, that person will identify themselves upon request by the College official.
Chalking are forms of expression and, as such, are allowed on all RPCC campuses, subject to the guidelines specified here. All chalking must adhere to college policies.
- Chalking is limited to students, registered student organizations, official college departments or offices, faculty members, and staff members.
- Chalking is a temporary form of communication, typically used for meeting call-outs or immediate responses to current events. Therefore, it is permitted only in open areas on horizontal surfaces, such as sidewalks or plazas, which can reasonably be expected to be reached by rain and are not covered by an overhang.
- Specifically, chalking is prohibited in the following areas: On exterior facades of buildings; On surfaces such as walls, columns, terrace-retaining walls, trees, benches, or covered entry walkways into a building; On steps or stairs attached to or leading toward any buildings; Underneath any covering (i.e., areas which will not be washed away by rainfall); Within 10 feet of any door or building entrance.
- Only water-soluble stick type chalk (sidewalk chalk) is allowed. No spray chalk, markers, paints (latex or oil-based), or similar products may be used.
- Violations of these guidelines constitute grounds for removal of the material by the campus Facilities and Safety Office, which reserves the right to charge for the cost of removal and any associated repairs. Individuals or organizations that violate these guidelines may be referred to the Office of Student Affairs and comes under the Student Conduct Code. They may also be subject to civil or criminal charges (e.g., vandalism), in addition to discipline under the student or employee disciplinary process appropriate to the nature of their relationship to the college.
- Posting of materials by other than college affiliated groups, will not be permitted on campus except in the recommended free speech areas.
- Kiosks and/or bulletin boards located in the recommended free speech areas are recommended for general posting.
- Posting is not permitted on building surfaces, trees, elevators or grounds.
- Material content must convey lawful activities and not be misleading.
- Commercial literature must have the organization/institution affiliation, along with address and telephone number clearly stated.
- Materials posted on recommended “free speech” bulletin boards or kiosks will be removed weekly.
- River Parishes Community College does not endorse, approve, authorize, sponsor or regulate any commercial business, commodity, or service posted or distributed on campus in the free speech areas.
- These guidelines are designed to prevent disruption of RPCC’s educational and business functions and other College events and activities, to protect individual and public safety, and to prevent destruction of property.
Distribution of Literature
- Petitions, circulars, leaflets, newspapers and printed materials may be distributed in the recommended free speech areas.
- No person or organization distributing materials in the free speech area shall coerce any person into accepting any material.
- Newspapers, leaflets, and other printed materials may be left for distribution in recommended areas only. Check with the Facilities and Safety Office, or the Office of Student Affairs.
- Litter resulting from discarded materials in and around the free speech areas must be retrieved by persons distributing the material prior to departure.
Process: (Non-Spontaneous Free Speech Events)
- Complete the Free Speech Event Registration form found on the college’s student affairs Webpage. Complete form minimum of 1 week prior to the event.
- Visitor or campus group will receive event notification approval within three business days.
- Chief Student Affairs Officer will notify all related campus personnel. (Key Personnel: Executive Team, Division Coordinators, Campus Directors, Marketing & Communications, and Safety & Security)
These guidelines apply irrespective of the content of the expressive activity; in fact, they are designed to facilitate robust opportunities for expressive activity. The Office of Student Affairs is available to help all students in planning safe, expressive activities that adhere to the guidelines provided above. The Office of Student Affairs can be contacted at 225-743-8511 or firstname.lastname@example.org.