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900.9 - Outdoor Assemblies

University Group Policy #900.9

I.  Policy Statement

Freedom of speech is one the most cherished tradition of the academic community. A community of scholars cannot pursue truth without the ability to publish critical information. One of the most important responsibilities of Winston-Salem State University is to protect the right of expression in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others to pursue their studies or work. In guaranteeing free speech, the administration's obligations is to provide reasonable regulations of time, place an manner, so that disruption of normal educational activities is avoided.

II.     Definitions

University Group - an administrative or academic unit within the University, staffed by State employees acting within the scope of their employment.

Student Group - a group that has been accepted by the Office of Student Activities as a "registered student group" under the rules of that office.

Non-University Groups - groups other than Student Groups that are legally separated entities from the University, even though some of the member or participants may be University personnel, alumni, or students. "Non-University Group" may be an individual.

Solicitation is defined as any effort or attempt to: (a) importune, entreat, implore, ask, attempt to try to obtain an order or to invite business transaction for a product offered or being sold; (b) seek orders, subscriptions, political or charitable contributions, or any other kind of financial support; or (c) distribute literature, hand-bills, samples, or other printed materials for the purpose of advertising products, services, or other commercial enterprises to member of the University community.

Peaceful Assembly is the use of university facilities for assembly, rally, or demonstration not involving conduct that would violate the law or policies of the University.

III.    Guidelines

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this policy is to set priorities for facility usage, define scheduling procedures, and establish charges associated with event management and facility usage.

This regulation governs all facilities and property on the University's campus or under the operating authority of the University. Activities shall in no way violate the purposes, property, policies, or regulations of the University. All organizations are expected to follow the rules and regulations governing the particular facility or grounds being used. Attendance may not be restricted in ways referred to in the University's statement on non discrimination. At all times, the University maintains the right to determine which activities are appropriate to be held on campus.

Permission to Solicit

In the "public forum" area that has been open to public speech by tradition or administrative approval, permission may be made subject to reasonable time, place, or manner limits. However, WSSU may not create restrictions based on the lawful content of the speech or material.

University officials reserve the right immediately to terminate any use of University facilities if, in the judgment of those officials, continuation of such use will result in (a) danger to participants or others; (b) unlawful conduct by participants or other; or (c) interference with disruption or disturbance of the University's educational mission, operations, business, or functions.

Assemblies and Public Addresses

Anyone who wishes to sponsor or organize an assembly or public address much contact the Director of Student Activities at 336-750-3350 for an application and permit. The application must be received at least 3 business days before the proposed time and date of event. The Office of Student Activities will confer with Campus Police when appropriate, and the permit may be issued for a later time and date if extra time is needed for adequate security or because the proposed time conflicts with use by another group.

The University encourages assemblies and public addresses by University, faculty, staff, and students, affiliated student organizations, affiliated persons or groups and Non-University persons or groups invited in writing by affiliated student organizations or university units at the Thompson Center Breezeway, the Clock Tower, or other appropriate sites. Groups (including individuals) must obtain permission from the The Office of Student Activities. Permission for the Office of Student Activities will be granted, subject only to reasonable time, place, or manner limits. The University may not create restrictions based on the lawful content of speech.

Unless sponsored by the University, assemblies and public addressed will not be allowed in areas or facilities that have not traditionally been open for public speech.

All outdoor assemblies and public addresses, including those at the Thompson Center Breezeway, must be conducted without sound amplification equipment unless permission for amplification is obtained from the Office of Student Activities. Indoor assemblies and public addresses may use amplification with the permission of the administrator responsible for the facility. Assemblies and public addresses must be conducted so that campus pedestrians and automobile traffic are unimpeded and members of the University Community not participating in the event may proceed with their normal activities.

Persons on University property may be required to provide picture identification and evidence of qualification to a University official upon request. Evidence of qualification means (1) currently issued University identification card or (2) written documentation of an invitation to assemble on University property by an affiliated student organization or University unit and accompaniment by a University community member that is a representative of the group that issued the invitation.

The student organization or university unit sponsoring an assembly or public address must provide notification that includes the name of the student organization, or University unity sponsoring the event, name of the invitee(s), the date, time and location of the event, the nature of the event and an estimated number of persons expected to attend. A copy of the written invitation must be delivered to the Office of Student Activities which will deliver it to the University Police prior to the event.


Nothing in this regulation shall prohibit the University from barring solicitation, handouts, assemblies, or public addresses in campus areas that are not public forums. Areas not traditionally open to the public for speech, such as office space, residence halls, and classrooms, may be limited to University use.

IV..     Applicability

This regulation applies to solicitation, assemblies, and public addresses on WSSU Property by faculty, staff, and students, affiliated student organizations, affiliated persons or groups and unaffiliated persons or groups invited in writing by affiliated student organizations or university units. The University wishes to be accessible to the public. At the same time, limitations on activities on University property are necessary so that the University may fulfill its primary missions of teaching, research, and extension.

Responsible Division: Provost & Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Authority: Board of Trustees


  • Adopted December 14, 2007
  • Revised from Free Speech Zone March 28, 2008

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