Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) is committed to providing a forum for free and open expression of divergent points of view by students, student organizations, faculty, staff and visitors. GGC also recognizes its responsibility to provide a secure learning environment which allows members of the community to express their views in ways which do not disrupt the operation of the College. Georgia Gwinnett College, in establishment of this policy, in no way supports, fails to support, neither agrees nor disagrees with ideas that may be voiced, but allows for a diversity of viewpoints to be expressed in an academic setting.
This policy is applicable to students, student organizations, faculty, staff and visitors. Free speech area request forms (PDF) are available on the GGC website and also from the Division of Student Affairs. The following procedures apply to all activities authorized to use the designated free speech expression areas. Reasonable limitations may be placed on time, place and manner of speeches, gatherings, distribution of written materials, and marches in order to serve the interests of health and safety, prevent disruption of the educational process, and protect against the invasion of the rights of others as deemed necessary by Georgia Gwinnett College.
Designated Speech and Demonstration Areas
GGC has identified the concrete area/walkway between Student Housing and the Student Center or the concrete in front of the Food Court area, Building A as “free speech expression areas.” These areas are generally available from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday. On occasion upon written request, other areas and other times may be authorized, and the College reserves the right to modify the free speech areas based on the operational needs of the institution. A designated Student Affairs official is responsible for reservation scheduling and authorization of the free speech expression areas in order to accommodate all interested users. Authorization will be granted in accordance with the principle of content neutrality. Appeals related to the decision of the Student Affairs official should be made to the Dean of Students. The decision of the Dean is final.
Reservation Procedures for Use of Free Expression Areas
All requests must follow the appropriate facility reservation process. The designated free speech forms (PDF) must be completed and any publicity materials must be attached and submitted to the Student Affairs official at least three (3) business days prior to the free expression speech, program, event or gathering in accordance with this policy. Organizers are encouraged to submit their requests as early in the planning stages of the event as possible.
In order that persons exercising freedom of expression not interfere with the operation of the College or the rights of others, all engagements for speakers (internal and external) must meet the following criteria:
- All publicity materials must be submitted with the application form. Admission charges, if any, or suggested donations which are used as a condition of admission, must be included in all publicity for the event. No publicity for a speaker or program may be released prior to authorization of the registration form. Unauthorized use of the College’s name, other than to indicate the location of the event, is strictly prohibited. Upon authorization, copies of the application form and any publicity material shall be distributed to the campus Senior Associate Provost for Student Affairs, the Director of Public Services/Campus Police, the Office of Public Relations the Dean of Students and the applicant.
- If a speaker is being sponsored by a student organization, an Advisor (or designee, who must be a full-time faculty or designated staff member) if applicable, must be present at the event.
- No interference with the free flow of traffic nor the ingress and egress to buildings on campus is permitted and no use of microphones, bullhorns or any sound amplification device is allowed.
- No interruption of the orderly conduct of college classes or other college activities is permitted.
- No impediment of passersby or other disruption of normal activities is permitted.
- No intimidation or harassment, verbal or otherwise, of passersby is permitted.
- No interference with scheduled college ceremonies, events or activities is permitted.
- Marches, either independent or related to an event or speech, must be authorized at least 3 business days prior to the program or event in accordance with this policy and appropriate local ordinances, and may only take place on the streets or sidewalks of the campus.
- No commercial solicitations, campus sales or fundraising activities shall be undertaken which are not authorized by GGC.
- Non-commercial pamphlets, handbills, circulars, newspapers, magazines and other written materials may be distributed on a person-to-person basis in the free speech expression areas designated above, as long as the reservation procedures for use of the free expression areas have been completed. Such distribution shall not violate any campus solicitation policies or government ordinances.
- 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. (unless already part of the facility). No sound amplification devices may be used at any time (unless already part of the facility). No camping is allowed and temporary structures (tents, etc.) are prohibited.
- Malicious or unwarranted 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.
- Disorderly conduct is prohibited. Examples of disorderly conduct can be found in the Georgia Gwinnett College Student Handbook.
- Individuals and programs using the free speech expression area must comply with all applicable state and federal laws and institutional 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 judicial action may be pursued. Additional internal disciplinary actions may be enforced against students and staff members who fail to comply with the outlined policy.
Freedom of Expression Policy Questions
Questions about this policy may be addressed to the Division of Student Affairs at 678.407.5882 and should be handled in advance of any speech, event or demonstration.