Policy on Off-Campus Speakers

Uniform Regulations for Off-Campus Speakers Invited by Organized Student and Faculty Groups 

An invitation to an outside or off-campus speaker to speak on the university campus may be made by the university on its own or at the request of any registered and recognized student or faculty organization. The university may authorize the requesting organization to actually extend the approved invitation to speak. The fact that the speaker may be provocative and strike at prejudices or preconceptions and may hold views contrary to and disliked by the campus and the surrounding community is not a permissible basis for the denial of the right of the faculty or student organization to hear him. 

There is, however, no absolute right on the part of any organization to assemble and hear a speech at any particular time or place and under any and all circumstances. Consequently, the university shall adopt and enforce such rules and regulations as it may deem to be necessary and proper in regard to the issuance of invitation to outside or off-campus speakers and no such invitation shall be issued at the request of any registered and recognized organization prior to its compliance with such rules and regulations. Special guest lecturers may, however, speak on scholarly or scientific topics before classes, seminars, or other academic meetings solely at the invitation of the faculty member responsible for the academic content of the occasion. 

The issuance of invitations to outside speakers shall be limited in the following particulars, but only in the manner set forth herein:

  1. A request to invite an outside speaker will be considered only when made by an officially recognized student group or faculty group.
  2. No invitation by such recognized group shall be issued to an outside speaker without prior written concurrence by the President* for scheduling of speaker dates and assignment of campus facilities.
  3. Any speaker request shall be made in writing by an officer of the student or faculty organization desiring to sponsor the proposed speaker not later than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the date of the proposed speaking engagement. This request shall contain the name of the sponsoring organization, the proposed date, time, and location of the meeting, the expected size of the audience and topic of speech. Any request not acted upon by the President* within fifteen (15) days after submission, shall be deemed granted.
  4. A request to invite or for permission to invite an outside or off-campus speaker made by a registered and recognized organization shall be denied if the President* determines, after proper inquiry, that the proposed speech will constitute a clear and present reasonable apprehension of imminent danger to the normal activities and the essential purpose of the university. The determination of the President* of the existence of a clear and present danger must be based upon the fact that the speaker will probably advocate and incite one or more of the following: the violent overthrow of the government; the willful damage or destruction or seizure or invasion and subversion of university buildings or property; the forcible disruption or impairment of or interference with the regularly scheduled classes or normal university activity; physical harm, coercion, intimidation or other invasion of the lawful rights of members of the University Community or its guests; or any other campus disorder of a violent nature.   The President* should weigh the interests of the university in the orderly administration of normal university activities against the interest of the students and faculty in hearing controversial speakers and may consider all relevant facts including whether the proposed speaker has, within the past five years, incited violence resulting in physical injury or the destruction of property at any educational institution or has willfully incited and caused the forcible disruption of regularly scheduled classes or any other normal university activities at any educational institution.
  5. Where the request for an outside speaker is denied, any sponsoring organization thereby aggrieved shall, upon written application to the President*, obtain a hearing within two days following the filing of its appeal before the University Hearing Board.

The extension of an invitation to an outside or off-campus speaker to speak on the campus shall not constitute endorsement of the speaker nor approval of his views by the university or the organization which sponsors his appearance and no speaker or sponsoring organization shall represent nor imply, in any manner, that the speaker has been endorsed or that his views have been approved by the university. The university may require the meeting be chaired by a member of the administration or faculty and this fact or the fact that the speaker is introduced by a member of the administration or faculty shall not imply that the speaker or his views have been endorsed and approved by the university. 

A speaker is subject to all state and federal laws and all university rules and regulations and by his acceptance of the invitation to speak shall assume full responsibility for any violation of such laws or rules committed by him while on the campus. An utterance of a context of violence, involving a clear and present danger, can lose its significance as an appeal to reason and become part of an instrument of force and as such is not protected by any constitutional right.

Sponsoring organizations are subject to all state and federal laws and to the rules and regulations adopted by the university and the Board of Regents. Violations shall be handled in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Code of Conduct.

* The President has authorized and directed the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs act for him/her insofar as approval and denial of requests to invite or for permission to invite outside or off-campus speakers.

* See related Statement Regarding Assembly