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Speaker and Expression Policy

Preamble | General Policy | Guidelines | Posting and Distribution of Announcements and Event Publicity


Updated July 29, 2019

I. Preamble

Saint Peter’s University is an academic community committed to the intellectual life. In accordance with its Mission Statement and The Petrean Creed, Saint Peter’s University is committed to discourse intended to seek truth and recognizes its responsibility to provide a forum for the free expression of ideas. In the context of academic freedom, Saint Peter’s University gladly invites speakers of various persuasions and convictions to address its community.

II. General Policy

Saint Peter’s is committed to standards promoting free speech and expression. This statement of policy outlines principles that ensure these standards relative to the sponsored engagement of a speaker by any department chair, individual faculty member or officially recognized faculty group, officially recognized student organization, and/or administrators or administrative departments (hereinafter collectively the “University Community”), subject to the conditions set forth below and consistent with the regulations and principles outlined in the University Student Code of Conduct, the Academic Handbook, and the Employee Handbook.

A. Members of the University Community have the right to express points of view on the widest range of public and private concerns and engage in the robust expression of ideas. This freedom, however, is subject to reasonable restrictions of time, place, and manner defined as:

  • Disrupting the normal educational and administrative function of the University;
  • Infringing upon the rights of students, faculty, staff or guest of the University community;
  • Reacting to the peaceful dissent and/or protest of others by denying their rights to free speech
    or expression;
  • Obstructing and/or restricting free movement of persons on any part of the campus;
  • Endangering the safety or well-being of any person on the campus;
  • Any act resulting in the destruction of University property.

The right of free speech and expression does not include unlawful activity or activity that endangers or threatens to endanger the safety of any member of the University Community. Federal, state and local laws will be enforced as applicable.

B. The University does not condone speech that is grossly offensive on matters such as gender, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, alienage, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital or political status, affectional or sexual orientation, domestic partnership status, disability (including AIDS or HIV infection), pregnancy, liability for service in the United States armed forces, gender identity or expression, genetic information and/or any other classification protected by law; and will act as it deems necessary to promote further education on these matters.
C. In all events, the use of the University forum shall not imply acceptance or endorsement by the University of the views expressed by any speaker.

III. Guidelines

The Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for Student Affairs (hereinafter collectively the “Vice Presidents”) have the responsibility for administering the guidelines that follow below. In administering these guidelines, the Vice Presidents shall be advised by a Committee on Speakers and Expression, composed of students, faculty, and administrators of the University (“Committee on Speakers and Expression”). The Vice Presidents and the Committee may consider and recommend to the President revisions and improvements to these guidelines in a manner consistent with the ideals articulated at the beginning of this document. It is imperative that members of the University community thoroughly read the entire Speakers and Expression Policy before undertaking efforts to sponsor external speakers on the University’s campuses and property.

A. Events

  1. An individual member or group of members of the University Community may organize and sponsor an event at the University inviting any person to speak. For purposes of this document, an event is any public meeting organized and sponsored by an individual member or group of members of the University Community with invited speakers primarily for the dissemination or exchange of ideas. “Public meeting” shall not be construed to include formal academic convocations, regularly scheduled classes, department meetings, or regular business meetings of any University organization.
  2. The individual or group sponsoring such an event must reserve the place where it will occur, in accordance with registration requirements. Because of the proximity of the Quad to classrooms, sound amplification in conjunction with any presentation in the Quad is prohibited when classes are in session.
  3. The University will make every effort to accommodate an individual member or group of members of the University Community who wish to schedule an event.
  4. Members of the University Community who invite someone to speak must reserve an adequate space in advance of the event with the appropriate Office in accordance with that Office’s regulations.
  5. The person making the final determination to approve guest speakers must consult with Campus Safety to ensure that all safety precautions have been met before making the final decision.
  6. If appropriate, the Director of Campus Services and Facilities shall be notified in advance.

B. Procedures

The following describes the procedures for faculty, administrators and student organizations:

  1. Faculty who wish to invite a guest speaker to campus or host an event on campus shall obtain approval from their academic deans. The Vice· President of Finance and Business of the University must be consulted if a speaker and/or event requires a contract. In addition, the Vice President must sign-off on all contracts. If working with a student club and no money from the club is used for a speaker, student clubs may simply sign-on event as “endorsers.” If student club money is used for an event, student clubs sign-on as “co-sponsors” and must apply for approval according to procedures delineated for student organizations (see #3). If the request to invite a guest speaker is denied, the determining Vice President will provide the faculty member with a written explanation for the denial. Any appeal would go to the President of the University, who shall consult if possible with the Faculty Senate President or Student Government Association President. as applicable, and the Chair of the Speakers and Expressions Committee.
  2. Administrators or administrative departments desiring to invite a speaker and/or host an event on campus shall seek the advice and approval of their department head at least one week before an invitation is extended. The Vice President of Finance and Business must be consulted if a speaker and/or event requires a contract. In addition, the Vice President must sign-off on all contracts. If working with a student club and no money from the club is used for a speaker, student clubs may simply sign­ on event as “endorsers.” If student club money is used for an event, student clubs sign-on as “co-sponsors” and must apply for approval according to procedures delineated for student organizations (see #3).
  3. For student organizations, the sponsoring student organization must obtain a Speaker Agreement from the Center for Leadership, Engagement and Orientation. That Agreement details all the necessary terms (costs, security requirements, transportation, etc.) agreed to by the sponsoring student organization and the speaker. The Agreement must then be submitted to the Vice President for Student Life and Development for final approval and signature at least ten business days prior to the proposed date of the event. In special circumstances, at his or her sole discretion, the Vice President may waive the ten business day requirement. (In the absence of the Vice President, the Agreement may be signed by the Dean of Students.)
    1. Student organizations may invite a speaker under the following conditions:The University expects that students will be exposed to numerous perspectives during the course of their education. The University may encourage an event to include questions from the floor, a debate format, a panel of discussants, or an additional program in order to meet this expectation.The event should take place in a location and in a manner that does not disrupt the normal educational and administrative function of the University;
    2. For events that are open to a limited audience (the University community and guests), preliminary approval must be obtained from the organization’s advisor, who will then submit the request to the Director of Leadership, Engagement and Orientation. The director has the authority to overrule approval by the organization’s advisor.
    3. For speakers that are open to the whole student body and the outside public, final approval must be obtained from the Director of Leadership, Engagement and Orientation, as well as from the Dean of Students at least  ten business days prior to the proposed  date of the event. In special circumstances, at his or her sole discretion, the Dean of Students may waive the ten business day requirement.
    4. A student organization sponsoring an event is responsible for all costs (including security if such is deemed necessary by the University administration) associated with the event.

C. Access to Events

Any event that receives financial support or other benefits of any kind from the University must be open to the University Community. If seating is expected to be limited, an equitable means of ticket distribution must be approved by the appropriate University Office.

D. Literature and Publicity

Saint Peter’s University encourages the University community to promote their events and activities responsibly through a full range of available media.  Communication and publicity should be conducted in a manner that is respectful of others’ rights to share information and recognizes one’s part in the community. The foremost issue in this policy is the safety and security of the University, its students, faculty, staff, administrators, guests and facilities. Many of the restrictions exist to ensure safety and respect for all.

Any media outreach that involves contacting publications or broadcast outlets to cover a campus event must be coordinated with the Office of University Communications. This Office shall be notified of all external speakers and respond to all media inquiries.

E. Protest of Events

An individual or group wishing to protest at an event may peacefully do so as long as any speaker’s right to free speech and the audience’s right to see and to hear a speaker are not violated.

F. Disciplinary Procedures

  1. Violations of the policy and/or guidelines by students will be handled through the Student Activities Office. Individual students will be referred to the Dean of Students.
  2. Violations of the policy and/or guidelines by department heads, faculty and officially recognized faculty groups will be handled through the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  3. Violations of the policy and/or guidelines by administrators and/or administrative departments will be handled through the Office of the Vice President of Finance and Business

IV. Posting and Distribution of Announcements and Event Publicity

Posting and distributing announcements and publicity materials on University property is a privilege, and the University, therefore, reserves the right to regulate the posting and distribution of all notices. All materials must respect the rights of others as well as the goals and principles of Saint Peter’s University.

MATERIALS WILL NOT BE APPROVED IF THEY CONTAIN:

      1. Language and/or graphic illustrations that dehumanize individuals based on gender, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, alienage, citizenship, ancestry, age, marital or political status, affectional or sexual orientation, domestic partnership status, disability (including AIDS or HIV infection), pregnancy, liability for service in the United States armed forces, gender identity or expression, genetic information and/or any other classification protected by law; or,
      2. Any information that would violate local, state, or federal law, or University policies.

This policy has been designed to:

      • ensure that any individual member or group of members of the University Community have equal access to common posting areas;
      • avoid violations of fire and safety codes
      • preserve the cleanliness and aesthetic quality of the campus.

The guidelines enumerated below are effective immediately and apply to any individual member or group of members of the University Community. These guidelines apply to all buildings and public spaces on campus with the exceptions of the Mac Mahon Student Center, Recreational Life Center and residence halls, which are governed by the policies mandated by the supervising departments.

Posting of Flyers/Posters

  1. Flyers and posters may be placed on or in the following areas, with the listed adhesive devices:
    • Flyers: designated bulletin boards located in hallways, stairwells, dining facilities, and the Quad – push pins or thumbtacks
    • Posters: walls, columns, etc., which contain tiled surfaces (ceramic, marble, etc.) – Masking tape [Scotch Tape or Staples MAY NOT be used on ANY SURFACE. Flyers/posters put up with staples, scotch tape, or other wall-damaging adhesive, will be removed immediately.]
  2. Areas/surfaces where flyers/posters are NOT permitted to be posted:
    1. painted surfaces of any kind [includes walls, corridors, stairwells, etc.]
    2. glass surfaces (mirrors, windows, etc.);
    3. doors of any kind;
    4. floors and sidewalks;
    5. lockers;
    6. restrooms;
    7. the Quad’s benches, trees, and trash receptacles:
    8. street/sidewalk levels of the University’s property;
    9. in or around the area of the Recreational Life Center (RLC);
    10. anywhere on the Pedestrian Bridge, its stairwells, elevators, etc.
    11. anywhere in Mac Mahon Student Center

FLYERS, which may be posted on bulletin boards, walls, columns, etc., MAY not EXCEED 8 ½” x14″ in size.

POSTERS, which may be posted only on walls or columns (per Section IV (A) (1) above, may not exceed 22″ x 28″ in size. Exceptions to this size may be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Announcements and publicity material must include all pertinent information regarding the event, i.e., the FULL name of the sponsoring individual or organization, the purpose of the event, date, time, place of the event, and admission cost, if any.

Approval Process

For administrators and/or administrative departments, all flyers/posters must be approved in advance by the Director of University Communications or designee. Flyers and posters must be configured and posted in accordance with regulations listed in this document. Once approved, the lower left of flyers/posters must be stamped with the “APPROVED FOR POSTING” stamp to show official approval.

For department chairs, faculty, and officially recognized faculty groups, all flyers/posters must be approved in advance by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or designee. Flyers and posters must be configured and posted in accordance with regulations listed in this document. Once approved, the lower left of flyers/posters must be stamped with the “APPROVED FOR POSTING” stamp to show official approval.

For officially recognized student organizations, all flyers/posters must be approved in advance by the Center for Leadership, Engagement and Orientation. Once approved by the Director of Leadership, Engagement and Orientation (or their designees) the lower left of flyers/posters must be stamped with the “APPROVED FOR POSTING” stamp to show official approval.

No student organization will be allowed to stamp a flyer or poster. An extra copy of the flyer must be provided for the group’s official file. Flyers and posters must be submitted for approval at least one week before the scheduled date of the event/program. If submitted less than one week before the. scheduled date of event/program both offices (Student Life and Development, and Student Activities) reserve the right to refuse approval. The Center for Leadership, Engagement and Orientation must respond in a timely manner so that events are not unnecessarily delayed or cancelled due to a lack of advertising.

The sponsoring student organization is responsible for posting the flyers/posters in a manner that does not circumvent University policies or infringe on the rights of other internal organizations and departments to post their material.

The sponsoring student organization is responsible for the removal of its flyers/posters no later than two class days after the event. The cooperation of the sponsoring student organization is critical in maintaining the appearance and cleanliness of the University’s bulletin boards, walls, and hallways.

External groups may not post their own material. A maximum of five (5) flyers may be submitted to the Center for Leadership, Engagement and Orientation for approval. A student worker will post the approved material on designated bulletin boards.

Each individual member or group of members of the University Community will be allowed a maximum of 50 flyers or 20 posters to be approved for each event.

Only one flyer OR poster per event, per individual/organization/department may be placed on the same bulletin board or wall space.
During Student Government election periods, additional guidelines will be developed by the Dean of Students to assure the fairness of the election process.

Personnel from the offices of Student Life and Development and Student Affairs, and/or the Campus Services Division will periodically check all bulletin boards and surfaces to ensure that the guidelines enumerated in this policy are being followed. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in immediate removal of the individual/organization or department’s flyers/posters. Repeated violations of these policies will result in the indefinite suspension of posting/distribution privileges. The posting of an unauthorized poster/flier should be brought to the attention of the office responsible for approving it.

Distribution of Flyers

Only individual members or group of members of the University Community are permitted to distribute publicity material.

Distribution of announcement and publicity material (flyers, etc.) by hand delivery is generally limited to the Mac Mahon Student Center and the Quad. All official student group material must be approved by the Student Government Association (SGA) before it is distributed. Note: distribution of flyers and other materials in residence halls is governed by the policies set forth by the Office of Residence Life.

Duplication, Cost, and Number Allowed: Officially recognized student organizations are governed by the printing and budgetary policies detailed in The Nexus, the student organization handbook. University department chairs, faculty, officially recognized faculty groups, administrators and administrative departments are governed by the copier policies established by the University and its area vice presidents and deans. The suggested maximum for the number of flyers per event is 200.

Any individual member or group of members of the University Community approved to distribute announcements and publicity materials are to keep the following points in mind:

        • it is preferable that materials are placed on a table accessible to students who wish to take the materials;
        • no one should be imposed upon or pressured to take materials;
        • the University encourages everyone to recycle materials removed from bulletin boards and walls (recycle bins are located throughout the campus).