Purpose and Overview of Policy

Georgia Gwinnett College (“GGC”) is committed to respecting the First Amendment rights of all individuals, including freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and the right to peaceably assemble. GGC also recognizes its responsibility to provide a secure learning environment that allows individuals enrolled at or employed by GGC (“members of the GGC community”) to express their views in ways that do not disrupt the operation of the College.  This policy in no way prohibits members of the GGC community from engaging in conversations on campus and does not apply to College-sponsored activities or classroom instruction or participation, but rather only establishes as designated public forums certain outdoor areas of GGC’s campus and sets forth requirements for forum reservations in the following limited circumstances: (1) members of the GGC community who plan an event with 30 or more persons; and, (2) individuals or groups who are not members of the GGC community who wish to speak on GGC’s campus.  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 in an academic setting. 

Designation of Public Forums on GGC’s Campus

To accommodate the need for immediate and spontaneous demonstration and 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 Areas”), 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. Reservations will only be processed on days that GGC’s Administrative Offices are open for business (“college business days”). Though reservations to use the Public Forum Areas are only required as set forth in Section C and Section D below, 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. 

Provisions for Members of the GGC Community 

Planned Large Group Expression

Members of the GGC community who plan to engage in expressive activity on campus in a group that is expected to consist of 30 or more persons must submit a completed Forum Reservation Request Form (PDF) to GGC’s Office of Student Integrity in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs two college business days prior to the scheduled activity and must receive approval in writing from a Student Affairs official prior to engaging in such activity. Prior notice is required to ensure that there is sufficient space for the large group event, that necessary College resources are available for crowd control and security, and that the academic and other operations of the College are not disrupted. The Student Affairs official may grant a reservation for one of the Public Forum Areas or another available area of campus, as requested by the applicant, and may only deny a reservation for the limited reasons set forth in Section E below. The reservation request must be processed and the requesting party must be notified within one college business day after its submission. Any denial may be appealed to GGC’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost in writing setting forth the reasons why the appeal should be granted. GGC’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost or his or her designee must respond to the appeal in writing within one college business day. 

Spontaneous Large Group Expression

If an individual or small group of individuals within the GGC community, while engaging in spontaneous expression, attracts a group of 30 or more persons, then a representative from the group should provide the College with as much notice as circumstances reasonably permit. GGC reserves the right to direct a group of 30 or more persons to one of the Public Forum Areas (PDF) or another available area of campus in order to ensure the safety of campus members, to provide for proper crowd control, and to limit disruption of the academic and other operations of the College. The GGC official must not consider or impose restrictions based on the content or viewpoint of the expression when relocating any expression. 

Provisions for Non-Campus Members

Individuals or groups of people who are not enrolled at or employed by GGC may only engage in expressive activity on GGC’s campus in the Public Forum Areas (PDF) and only after submitting a completed Forum Reservation Request Form (PDF) to GGC’s Office of Student Integrity in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs at least two college business days prior to the scheduled speech and obtaining approval for such use in writing from a Student Affairs official pursuant to the procedures set forth in Section E below. Organizers are encouraged to submit their requests as early in the planning stages of the event as possible. The reservation request must be processed and the requesting party must be notified within one college business day after its submission. Any denial may be appealed to GGC’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost in writing setting forth the reasons why the appeal should be granted. GGC’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost or his or her designee must respond to the appeal in writing within one college business day. This provision does not apply to GGC Classroom Visitors, who are covered by APM 3.15, or to any College-sponsored events.

Procedures for Forum Reservation Requests

Completed Forum Reservation Request Forms (PDF) 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. However, no publicity for a speaker or program may be released prior to authorization of the Reservation Request Form. 

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 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 must 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 must 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 GGC 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 GGC community, or the public; or
  7. The use or activity intended by the applicant is prohibited by law or GGC policy.

When assessing a reservation request, the Student Affairs official must not consider or impose restrictions based on the content or viewpoint of the expression. 

Appeals related to the decision of the Student Affairs official should be made in writing to GGC’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost. GGC’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost or his or her designee must decide all appeals within one college business day. The decision of GGC’s Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs and Provost or his or her designee is final. All campus reservations are subject to the general provisions in Section G. below.

Distribution of Written Material

Members of the GGC community may distribute non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines, and other written materials on a person-to-person basis in open outdoor areas of the campus. An individual who is not a member of the GGC community may only distribute written materials within the Public Forum Areas (PDF) and only during the time in which the individual has reserved Public Forum Area. Unauthorized use of the College’s trademark on any written material is strictly prohibited. The College Fundraising Policy, which may be found at APM 7.61, covers the distribution of commercial materials and publications.

General Provisions

In addition to the requirements set forth above, all individuals expressing themselves on GGC’s campus must comply with the following provisions:

  • No interference with the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic within and/or under the control of the GGC campus or the ingress and egress to buildings on campus is permitted. 
  • Any use of amplified sound, other than amplified sound used in connection with College-sponsored events, must only be intended to be heard in the immediate area of the expression in order to minimize any disruption of the central academic mission of the College. Use of amplified sound by student organizations is covered by the Outside Amplified Sound Provision of the Registered Student Organization Policy and Procedures Manual. 
  • No interruption of the orderly conduct of college classes or other college activities, including college ceremonies and events, is permitted.
  • 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. 
  • The individual who makes the reservation shall be responsible for seeing that the area is left clean and in good repair. If not accomplished, persons, or organizations responsible for the event may be held financially responsible for cleanup costs.
  • The individual/organization using the area must supply their own tables, chairs, etc., if needed (unless already part of the location). 
  • Individuals who are not members of the GGC campus community may not camp or erect temporary structures (e.g. tents) on GGC’s campus.
  • 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.
  • Individuals and groups of individuals expressing themselves on GGC’s campus must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and GGC policies, rules, and regulations.

Authorization of a speech, event, or demonstration is contingent upon compliance with the criteria listed above. Speakers and/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.

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.