Speech and Assembly
Policy Number: 174
Speech and assembly
Employees, students, and others attempting to speak or assemble on property owned or controlled by the university
- Date Reviewed:
- May 2009
- Responsible Office:
- Office of the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer
- Responsible Executive:
- Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer
I. POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston ("university") supports the freedoms of speech and assembly, subject to its well-established right to regulate time, place and manner to ensure the activities do not intrude upon or interfere with its academic programs and administrative processes. Except as expressly authorized under applicable state and federal law, the Regents' Rules and Regulations and university policies, the university shall not discriminate on the basis of political, religious, philosophical, ideological or academic viewpoint expressed by any person, either in the enforcement and administration of these rules or otherwise.
Employees and students may engage in rallies, group demonstrations or public oratory in Webber Plaza without prior administrative approval. All rallies, group demonstrations or public oratory must be conducted in accordance with this policy.
A. Use of Facilities
Procedures regarding the use of facilities are detailed in HOOP Policy 11 Use of University Facilities.
B. Campaign for Public Office
Students or employees who are candidates for public office or who wish to campaign on behalf of a particular candidate or candidates may do so in Webber Plaza, the designated free speech area. A person who is not a student or employee may speak on behalf of such a candidacy only in accordance with the provisions below relating to off-campus speakers.
C. Regulation of Guest Speakers
The university reserves the right to regulate the presentation of guest speakers on the campus who are not affiliated with the university (hereafter referred to as off-campus speakers).
Only registered student or employee organizations may present off-campus speakers on the campus. Sponsoring groups must submit a request for the use of a facility in accordance with HOOP Policy 11 Use of University Facilities.
The organization sponsoring the off-campus speaker has the responsibility of making clear the fact that the organization, not the university, is extending the invitation to speak, and that any views the speaker expresses are his or her own and not necessarily those of the university.
An off-campus speaker is subject to all provisions of federal, state and local laws.
When an off-campus speaker is paid from state funds for his or her speech, the facilities in which the speech is delivered will be open to the public, including members of the news media, who will be entitled to record, videotape or telecast live portions of the speech. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to classes, seminars, symposia and conferences intended for students, faculty, staff and invited guests. No person may in any way obstruct or lessen the opportunity for the audience to take the fullest advantage of the speech, including the opportunity to see and hear the speaker during the entire speech.
No person shall be permitted on the university campus to engage in speech, either orally or in writing, that is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action or that is likely to incite or produce such action.
Solicitation is prohibited on the university's campus except as specifically allowed in HOOP Policy 165 Solicitation on Campus .
E. Impermissible Activity
No person, including a student or employee of the university, shall distribute any petition, handbill, object or piece of literature; post or carry any sign, placard or banner; or engage in speech or conduct on property or in buildings or facilities owned or controlled by the university if it is obscene, libelous or directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.
F. Permissible Activity
Employees and students or registered or non-registered employee and student organizations may petition, post signs, distribute literature, set up tables and exhibits or peacefully demonstrate on property owned or controlled by the university, provided that the posting of signs and the setting up of tables and exhibits requires the prior authorization of the Vice President and Chief Auxiliary Enterprises Officer.
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