Policies and Procedures

Speech on campus can be exercised in a variety of locations and times, each with varying rules and ways.

University Policies and Procedures

Time, Place and Manner

In its rulings on the First Amendment the Supreme Court has upheld that the “time, place and manner” of speech on campus may be regulated in such a way that is viewpoint-neutral, narrowly tailored to serve a governmental interest, and that there are ample alternative means to express ideas.  These types of rules may limit things such as the use of amplified sound, commercial solicitation, crowd size in a particular venue, the placement/posting of signs, or prohibiting early morning or late evening demonstrations.

Forums for speech 

The right to free speech does not guarantee that an individual is able to speak anywhere at any time.  The Supreme Court has upheld that the level of First Amendment protection varies depending on the location (or “forum”) in which speech takes place.

UTA defines the following forums for speech:

Traditional Public Forums

Traditional public forums include the University’s public streets, sidewalks, parks, and similar common outdoor areas. These spaces are generally available for expressive activity by members of the campus community and public at any time when the area is not reserved in advance for an event.  Priority is given to scheduled activities; if you are planning to speak in these areas, we encourage you to contact the Office of Involvement & Engagement to help avoid any potential scheduling conflicts.

Designated Public Forums

Designated public forums include other parts of campus that may become temporarily available for expressive activity as designated by the University. These temporary locations, while in existence, will be treated similar to public streets, sidewalks, and parks in terms of access and availability for expressive activity.

Limited Public forums

Limited public forums have limited open access for public expression, and include the University buildings including their outside surfaces, surfaces associated with or connected to a University building, or a University structure.  These spaces are open only to the expressive activities of faculty, staff, and students.

Non-public Forums

Non-public forums are areas that are not traditional public forums or designated public forums. These forums will be restricted to use for their intended purpose and are not available for public expressive activity. Examples include, but are not limited to, classrooms, residence hall rooms, faculty and staff offices, academic buildings, administration buildings, medical treatment facilities, libraries, and research and computer laboratories.