Policy Name: Free Speech and Public Assembly
Responsibility for Maintenance: Campus Safety and Security
Date of most recent changes: September
I. Policy Statement
Community College recognizes and supports the rights of free speech. This
policy informs members of the College community and the public of the manner in
which they may engage in constitutionally protected speech and expression at
Onondaga Community College. It is intended to ensure the primary educational purpose
of the College, which includes promoting debate and the sharing of information.
II. Reason for Policy
College will protect the rights of freedom of speech, petition, and peaceful
assembly as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Onondaga Community College
maintains the right to regulate reasonable time, place and manner restrictions
concerning acts of expression and dissent. Any acts that are disruptive to the
normal operations of the College including but not limited to classes and
College business, or invades the rights of others, will not be tolerated and
may result in termination of the assembly. Faculty, staff and students engaging
in disruptive activity may be subject to disciplinary actions. Any participant
in a disruptive activity may face criminal charges.
III. Applicability of the Policy
members of the College community should be familiar with this policy.
IV. Related Documents
- Noise Ordinance, Town of Onondaga
Title or Position
Free Speech and Public Assembly
Campus Safety and Security
|Director, Campus Safety and Security
That area located between the Coulter Library and the Ferrante Building, also
known as the “Quad”. Other areas of the campus may be designated by the
Director of Campus Safety and Security as public forums to accommodate free
speech in special circumstances.
and Use of Designated Public Forum
Groups wishing to use the Designated Public Forum for public gatherings,
demonstrations or marches should notify the Director of Campus Safety and
Security of their intentions. This is to allow an efficient and safe allocation
of space, generally to the first group to request it for a particular time.
College sponsored events have first priority on the use of campus grounds. The
College reserves the right to relocate any assembly to ensure that the activity
does not interfere with the normal operation of the College or interfere with
the rights of others. At the time of notification to Campus Safety and Security
the following information will be required:
- Name of the person or organization sponsoring the event
- Location, date and time requested
- List of planned activities (i.e. speech, rally, march, signs,
picketing, distribution of literature)
- Special equipment being used
- Anticipated attendance
Volume of Sound Equipment
Sound amplification is not allowed. In addition, the volume of non-amplified sound
may not exceed 70 decibels as set forth in the Noise Ordinance of the Town of
Guidelines for Speech and Public Assembly
- Speakers: In view of the desire of the College to promote free speech,
the Designated Public Forum area is open to everyone who follows the provisions
of this policy.
- The right to dissent: The right to dissent is the complement of the right to
speak, but these rights need not occupy the same forum at the same time. The
speaker is entitled to communicate his or her message to the audience and the
audience is entitled to hear the message and see the speaker. A dissenter must
not substantially interfere with the speaker’s ability to communicate or the
audience’s ability to hear and see the speaker. Likewise, the audience must
respect the right to dissent.
- Symbolic Protest: During a presentation, displaying a sign, gesturing, wearing
symbolic clothing, or otherwise protesting to the extent it is not a disruptive
activity and does not impede access, including, but not limited to blocking the
audience’s view or preventing the audience from being able to pay attention.
- Marches: Marches are acceptable on campus with the appropriate notification
to Campus Safety and Security to allow the College to prepare for the march and
provide for the necessary safety of the participants and bystanders, as well as
to assure adequate parking and maintain the flow of vehicle ands pedestrian
traffic. The notification should outline expected attendance, and the
anticipated parade/march route.
The policies and procedures of the College, especially those related to the
safety and security of persons and property, must be observed at all
times. In addition, those who schedule
speech or public assembly activities on campus must not:
- Interfere with, impede, or cause blockage of the flow of vehicular
or pedestrian traffic.
- Commit any act likely to create imminent safety or health hazards.
- Interfere with or disrupt any other lawful or permitted activity
by anyone in the same general location at the same time.
- Post any materials on any buildings, walls, windows, doors,
sidewalks, trees, light poles, or any other College owned equipment except in
- Conduct speech that includes words that by their very nature tend
to incite an immediate breach of the peace.
- Engage in any speech or action that is not allowed by law.
- Engage in any speech that is likely to incite or produce immediate
lawless action or that is, under current legal standards, either defamatory or
- Incite others to commit any of the acts prohibited.
Onondaga Community College reserves the right to charge individuals wishing to
use the Designated Public Forum for additional security at a rate determined by
the Director of Campus Safety and Security. The Director of Campus Safety
and Security will determine the need for and the number of additional Campus
Peace Officers to perform security functions during any public assembly
by the OCC Board of Trustees August 15, 2011
and approved by the OCC Board of Trustees September 27, 2016