2024-2025 Catalog and Handbook 
  
    May 20, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog and Handbook

Expressive Activity


Mountain Empire Community College’s (MECC) property is primarily dedicated to academic, student life and administrative functions. But it also represents the “marketplace of ideas,” and especially for students, many areas of campus represent a public forum for speech and other expressive activities. MECC reserves the right to place restrictions on expressive activities occurring indoors, but especially for students and student organizations, the outdoor areas of campus remain venues for free expression, including speeches, demonstrations, and the distribution of literature.

This policy applies to all buildings, grounds, and other spaces owned or controlled by Mountain Empire Community College (MECC). The term “expressive activity” includes:

  • Meetings and other group activities of students and student organizations;
  • Speeches, performances, demonstrations, rallies, vigils, and other events by students; Student organizations, and outside groups invited by student organizations;
  • Distributions of literature, such as leafleting and pamphleting; and
  • Any other expression protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Indoors or outdoors, MECC shall not interfere with the rights of individuals and groups to the free expression of their views or impermissibly regulate their speech based on its content or viewpoint. Nevertheless, MECC has the right to establish a reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on expressive activity. Such restrictions must be content neutral, narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and allow ample alternative channels for communication of the information. To report incidents of disruption of constitutionally protected speech, please contact the Dean of Student Services or Campus Police.

No event or expressive activity shall be permitted to violate or hinder the rights of others within the campus community or substantially disrupt normal College operations.

Expressive Campus Procedures

A. Reserving Campus Facilities

1. If students, student organizations, or college employees desire to reserve campus facilities, they shall submit their requests to the Dean of Student Services or his/her designee. Requests must be submitted with 24-hours advance notice. More notice may be required to allow for sufficient logistical support and to ensure the safety and security of the campus.

2. If individuals or organizations who are not members of the college community (i.e., not students, student organizations, or college employees) desire to reserve campus facilities, they must be sponsored by a recognized MECC student organization or the college to conduct expressive activities or events on campus.

3. MECC may designate certain indoor facilities as not available for expressive activity, such as administration offices, libraries, and (during instructional hours) classrooms and shall make the campus community aware of such areas. Any other restrictions on expressive activities occurring in indoor facilities must (a) apply equally to all individuals and organizations and (b) not depend upon the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to that expression.

4. Students, student organizations, and college employees may request to reserve campus facilities on a first-come, first-served basis. These requests may be denied for the following reasons only:

a. The requested venue is an indoor facility that the MECC has designated as not available for expressive activity under this policy;

b. The requested venue is an indoor facility and the request conflicts with restrictions enacted pursuant to this policy;

c. The venue is already reserved for another event;

d. The activity will attract a crowd larger than the venue can safely contain;

e. The activity will substantially disrupt another event being held at a neighboring venue;

f. The activity will substantially disrupt college operations (including classes);

g. The activity is a clear and present threat to public safety, according to the college’s police or security department;

h. The activity will occur during college examination periods; or

i. The activity is unlawful.

5. During an event, the student, student organization, or college employee requesting the reservation is responsible for preserving and maintaining the facility it reserved. If it causes any damage to those facilities, the person(s) or organization (and its officers, if applicable) shall assume responsibility.

6. When assessing a request to reserve campus facilities, MECC and its administrators must not consider the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to that expression. MECC and its administrators may not impose restrictions on students, student organizations, or college employees due to the content or viewpoint of their expression or the possible reaction to that expression. In the event that other persons react negatively to a student’s, student organization’s, or college employee’s expression, MECC officials (including college police or security) shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.

B. Spontaneous Expressive Activity:

1. MECC is not required to designate any indoor area as available for spontaneous expressive activities. In the event that MECC elect to do so, college officials shall prominently post the areas in which students, student organizations, and their sponsored guests may engage in spontaneous expressive activities. Any areas so designated must (a) apply equally to all students and student organizations and (b) not depend upon the content or viewpoint of the expression or the possible reaction to that expression.

2. For outdoor campus facilities and areas, students, student organizations, and their sponsored guests may freely engage in spontaneous expressive activities as long as they do not (a) block access to campus buildings, (b) obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic, (c) substantially disrupt previously scheduled campus events, (d) substantially disrupt college operations, (e) constitute unlawful activity; or (f) create a clear and present threat to public safety, according to MECC’s Campus Police Department.

3. No college personnel may impose restrictions on students, student organizations, or their sponsored guests who are engaging in spontaneous expressive activities due to the content or viewpoint of their expression or the possible reaction to that expression. In the event that other persons react negatively to these activities, college officials (including Campus Police or security) shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.