Last Revised: March 2014
This University has always created an environment for raising challenging questions and the discussion of significant issues. There is perhaps none more significant that the challenge and issue of free speech. A function of free speech is to invite dispute which can result in unrest, anger, and dissatisfaction. It is in this light that the university has traditionally understood the First Amendment's application to our campus. Of all social institutions, the university should be the most friendly toward and protective of the right of free expression.
For over one hundred years the University of Nevada, Reno has followed the traditions of college campuses in this country by designating public forum areas on campus. We have interpreted law and policy in a broad and flexible manner so as to allow all views to be expressed while continuing to carry on the mission of learning, research, and service. The public forum policy now reflects the long time practices of this University. It was, in fact, developed in full consultation with student, faculty and staff whose ideas are reflected in this document. The ability to craft a policy that is open and inclusive while taking into consideration such a diverse set of views, is a testament to the value of what is taught, learned and practiced at the University of Nevada, Reno.
The modern land grant institution fosters acquisition of knowledge and the search for and distribution of newly discovered information. It enlivens curiosity, cultivates critical judgment and encourages the contribution of its informed students to the development of American society. The University of Nevada, Reno is committed to these land-grant goals and to the maintenance of an academic environment which advances the free exchange of ideas.
Public expression in the form of freedom of speech and advocacy, including video recording of matters of public interest, is a fundamental right and an essential element in the marketplace of ideas of higher education. In the spirit of open discussion and freedom of expression, any individual or group may use campus grounds to exercise this constitutionally protected right. This policy applies to outside public areas such as sidewalks, lawns, and plazas. The university is obligated to create an environment where free speech and higher learning will enhance its mission of teaching, research and service.
In order to protect this fundamental right and assure the university fulfills its responsibility as an educational institution the university may define time, place, and manner provisions. Individuals and groups using campus grounds have an obligation to follow all university policies, local ordinances, state and federal laws. This includes: following university policies regarding the recording of classes and ticketed events, allowing the university's regularly scheduled classes, research, events, ceremonies or normal and essential operations to proceed without interference; allowing parking and the flow of vehicular traffic; allowing the ingress and egress to and from all buildings; allowing a group that has reserved the space to use it; allowing a speaker or performer to be seen and heard by the audience; maintaining a noise level that allows classes, campus events and operations to occur; and assuring that actions do not create an imminent health or safety hazard. The university reserves the right to immediately terminate any ongoing activity that violates time, place and manner provisions included in this section. The individual or group will be informed by a University official of the specific time, place and manner violation.
While it is the university's intention to assure maximum use of its grounds for the purpose of free expression, reservations are strongly encouraged in order to ensure that a location is available for outdoor assembly at a specific date and time. An individual or group with a reservation will have priority in the use of the location. Reservations for outdoor space should be made with Scheduling Services or, in the case of the Joe Crowley Student Union (CSU) lawn, the CSU Scheduling Office. Applications will be processed in the order in which they are received. Denial of a reservation application shall not be based on the speech content of the proposed activity or on the viewpoint of the individual or group.
Denial of a reservation application may be appealed. The reasons for which an application may be denied and the process for appeals are available in Scheduling Services and the CSU Scheduling Office.