Free Speech and Public Assembly Policy

Approved By Date
Board of Trustees 02-20-2014
Executive Leadership Team 01-02-2014
ICORE 12-30-2013

Stanly Community College encourages its community to exercise the right to freedom of speech granted by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  This policy informs members of the college community and the public of the manner in which they may engage in constitutionally protected speech and expression at SCC.  It is intended to protect one’s right to freedom of speech without interfering with the primary educational purpose of the College.

The College will protect the rights of freedom of speech, petition, and peaceful assembly.  The right to restrict the time, place, and manner of expression is specifically reserved for the College.  Any acts that are disruptive to normal operations of the College, including but not limited to instruction or college business, or actions that interfere with the rights of others will not be tolerated.  Faculty, staff, and students engaging in disruptive activity will be subject to disciplinary action.  Any participant in a disruptive activity may face criminal charges.

Free Speech and Public Assembly Procedures

Approved By Date
Executive Leadership Team 10-24-2016
ICORE 10-12-2016

Subject to restrictions on the use of College facilities prescribed elsewhere in this policy and procedures, the College permits assemblies and gatherings of College-sponsored, College-affiliated and non-affiliated groups without prior approval at the locations designated below and with prior approval in any other exterior location.

Any individual or group, whether affiliated with the College or not, may distribute at any open, exterior campus space, the use of which is not otherwise restricted or scheduled under this policy and procedures, without registration or advance approval, any written materials on the condition that such materials are designed for informational and not for commercial purposes.  Donations may be accepted in connection with such distribution.

1. The College hereby designates only the following areas as Free Speech/Expression areas:

  • Albemarle Campus     -     Student Plaza adjacent to bookstore
  • Crutchfield Campus    -     Clock area at the Western wing of building
  • West Main                    -     Gazebo at rear parking area

These areas shall be available for use by both members of the College community and members of the general public. However, events sponsored by members of the College community shall have first priority in using the Free Speech/Expression areas. The College reserves the right to relocate any assembly to ensure that the activity does not interfere with the normal operation of the College or interfere with the rights of others.

2. Individuals or groups wishing to exercise their free speech right in a public manner and/or display should use one of the designated Free Speech areas, and should submit a written and signed request to the Vice President of Administrative Services/CFO at least three working days prior to the desired date.  The following information must be included in this written request:

  • Name of the person or organization submitting the request
  • Address, email, and phone number
  • Campus requested
  • Date and times requested
  • List of planned activities (i.e., speech, signs, distribution of literature)
  • Anticipated number of participants and attendance
  • Signature of requestor

Approvals are for one day only for a maximum of three continuous hours, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  The Vice President of Administrative Services/CFO will notify the Director of Security of any approved Free Speech event.

3. Persons shall not engage in unlawful speech, such as threatening or abusive speech towards another person.

Assemblies with an expected attendance of more than 25 people must be reported no less than three working days in advance to the Vice President of Administrative Services/CFO's office.

College groups may conduct activities and assemblies without prior approval at any exterior campus location provided the assembly/activity aligns with the policy requirements and the space is not required to be reserved.

  • No signs or banners affixed to College property (including trees) unless permission is granted first.
  • Users are responsible for cleaning the exterior space used and will be billed if area is not clean.
  • Any activity that would render the space unusable is prohibited.
  • Scheduled use has priority over unscheduled use.
  • College groups have priority over non-college groups.
  •  Activities may not create a significant disruption to College activities.
  • Activities cannot stop traffic (vehicular or pedestrian).
  • May not use Public Address System unless first scheduled.