Academic Freedom, Free Speech and Diversity
Approved by Faculty Senate February 6, 2012.
Wright State University recognizes the exercise of the rights of expression, affiliation, and peaceful assemblage. WSU students and personnel may express their views by demonstrating peacefully for concepts they wish to make known, and the University will make every reasonable effort to protect those rights. The University also has an equal and simultaneous obligation to protect the rights and freedoms of those who do not choose to participate in such a demonstration. Additionally, the University has an obligation to protect its property and to assure continuation of activities of students, university faculty and staff, and guests on the campus.
1. Wright State University (the "University") permits, promotes, and supports the free expression of ideas, views, and opinions by its faculty, students, staff, administrators, and visitors (hereafter "members of the academic community"). The University is committed to rights of expression, affiliation, and peaceful assemblage. Faculty, staff and students should be free to discuss, debate and express ideas and opinions in public or private forums as long as they do not disrupt university functions.
2. The University also has an equal and simultaneous obligation to protect the rights and freedoms of those who choose not to participate in free speech or peaceful assemblage activities. Additionally, the University has an obligation to protect its property and to assure continuation of the activities of students, faculty, staff, and guests on campus.
3. Speech may be legitimately regulated with regard to time, place and manner when it has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the educational environment, disrupting the function of the Univesity or inciting an immediate breach of peace. Disruptions may include but are not limited to: interfering with, impairing, or impeding University teaching, research or administration; interfering with, impeding, or blocking the flow of vehicular, wheelchair, or pedestrian traffic on any paved street or path; interfering with, impeding, or blocking any entrance or exit to any building; violating any federal, state, or local law, regulation or fire code, including the University Code of Regulations; interfering with an event by blocking views or making sufficient sounds to mask a speaker or performance from being heard; using voice or amplification systems without prior approval by the University for the use of such systems; destruction of University or personal property; any act or behavior which prevents a listener from attending or leaving any event; and/or failing to comply with the orders or directives of identified University officials, police, or any other law enforcement officers acting in consideration of the health, welfare, and safety of all concerned.
4. Conduct, the purpose or effect of which, is not frightening, coercing, or intimidating specific individuals but is merely deemed offensive to certain groups will not be grounds for regulation or punishment.
5. The University is committed to the elimination of all forms of bigotry on campus.
6. The University will consider each alleged violation on a case by case basis and will examine the time, place, pattern of conduct and, where relevant, the existence of a specific relationship between speaker and target.
7. The University encourages all faculty, staff, and students to exercise their free speech rights responsibly. Categories of speech should be consistent with the inclusive language policy #4001.23.
B. Regulation of Time, Place, Manner
Any individual or group may use, without prior notification, on any day of the week during daylight hours, any publicly accessible outdoor area of the University's Dayton and Lake campuses to collect signatures, distribute materials, and/or speak, as long as they do not disrupt the functioning of the University. Academic departments, programs and other units and registered student organizations may schedule University space to bring speakers and programs of their choice to the Dayton and Lake campuses on a space available basis. Such speakers shall have the same access to the University facilities as their sponsor. This Policy is not applicable to situations arising within the context of normal classroom instruction and discussion.
C. Prohibited Actions
1. The laws of Ohio and the University Code of Regulations prohibit the following:
a. obstructing or disrupting university teaching, research, or administration;
b. causing, or threatening to cause, injury or harm to persons or property;
c. incitement of riot;
d. obstructing the free flow of pedestrians or vehicular traffic;
e. illegally possessing or using firearms, explosives, or other weapons, chemicals, or fire extinguishers;
f. failing to comply with the orders or directives of university officials, police, or any other law enforcement officers acting within the scope of their duties.
2. Use of sound amplification equipment within 500 feet of University buildings, or in a manner obstructive to or disruptive of University functioning, is prohibited.
3. Demonstrations and marches may not take place inside University buildings without explicit permission from the President or the President's designee and the Chief of Police at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance of the planned activity.
1. The Wright State University Policy Department (the "Police Department") shall enforce the provisions of this Policy.
2. The President of the University or the President's designee shall resolve any dispute between any individual or groups of individuals regarding the use of space for any free speech activities subject to this Policy. The University may, if deemed necessary, enact a procedure (e.g. creation of a "speech grid"; requiring minimum spacing between speakers; granting permission on a "first come, first served" basis, etc.) whereby such disputes are addressed. Such procedure shall be content neutral regarding free speech activities involved in the dispute.
3. In the event of an emergency situation in which, in the judgment of authorized Public Safety personnel, riot or harm to persons or property is imminent, the on-duty supervisor may order dispersal and cancellation of the demonstration or march prior to obtaining an order from the President or the President's designee.
Any individual or group convinced that arbitrary, unlawful or unreasonable limitations have been imposed upon any demonstration under the provision of these regulations, may appeal to the President or the President's designee.