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Appendix Z - Policy on use of the Free Speech Area

To promote the free exchange of ideas, Western Illinois University permits students, faculty, employees, and the general public to engage in open public speech in the "free speech area" on the campus, subject to the time, place, and manner restrictions set forth in this policy.

I. Time and Place Restrictions

A. This policy applies only to the open area traditionally known as the "free speech area" directly to the north of the University Union and southwest of the Ticket Booth at Hanson Field.

B. Use of the above defined "free speech area" is limited to daylight hours during the University's normal operating schedule.

II. Conduct and Manner Restrictions

A. Those who schedule the "free speech area" on the campus must not:

  1. attempt by repeated demands, threats, or otherwise, to coerce passers by into stopping and participating in debate or discussion;
  2. interfere with, impede, or cause blockage of the flow of traffic;
  3. commit any act likely to create an imminent safety or health hazard;
  4. accompany the presentation with loud or raucous sounds likely to disturb others solely by reason of their decibel level;
  5. interfere with or disrupt any other lawful activity by anyone in the same general location at the same time;
  6. post materials on any walls, windows, doors, sidewalks, trees, light poles, etc., or on any other University equipment;
  7. utilize a sound or PA system or be accompanied by any voice amplifying or noise creating device unless prior approval has been given.

B. Public speech that is likely to incite or produce imminent lawless action or that is, under current legal standards, either libelous or obscene, is prohibited.

C. The "free speech area" must be reserved at least five (5) days in advance and use by any one individual or organization shall be limited to no more than three (3) days in a thirty (30) day period of time.

D. Any exceptions to this policy must be cleared through the Director of the University Union.

III. Enforcement

A. Violations

Alleged violations of this policy should be reported to the Director of the University Union, who after consultation with the Vice President for Business Affairs or his/her designee, will determine whether or not a violation is occurring. The aid of the Office of Public Safety may be requested to ensure compliance with this policy. Upon a determination by the Vice President for Business Affairs and the Director of the University Union that a violation is occurring, the Office of Public Safety shall inform the person(s) responsible that the violation and/or activity must cease.

B. Penalties

Violations of this policy may result in withdrawal of permission to use the "free speech area". Individuals may be prohibited from entering any area of the campus and may be excluded from the campus if this policy is violated. Failure to comply with a cease and desist directive may lead to arrest and prosecution and/or result in enforcement of sanctions through the University Student Judicial Process.

C. Appeals

Initial determinations that violations of this policy have occurred may be appealed to a review committee composed of the Vice President for Student Services, the Administrative Assistant to the President/Affirmative Action Officer, and the Director of Advancement and Public Services (or their designees).

Appeals should be in writing and should be submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs within five (5) working days after initial determinations. Additional information on the procedures for review may be obtained from any of the above offices.

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