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Freedom of Speech, Expression, and Public Assembly Policy and Procedures

Statement of Policy

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) recognizes the First Amendment rights of all individuals, including the freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly.  It also recognizes its responsibility to its students, staff and constituents to satisfy its mission of “providing education, training, and life-long learning opportunities for individuals and businesses leading to the development of a skilled workforce.”  NWTC’s property and facilities are dedicated primarily to the academic, co-curricular and administrative functions necessarily involved with this mission.  In order to accomplish this mission while also recognizing individuals’ First Amendment rights, NWTC will place reasonable, content-neutral limitations on the time, place and manner in which individuals can express ideas and/or assemble on NWTC’s owned or controlled property.

Definitions
For purposes of this Policy, the terms below are defined as follows:

  1. “Assembly” – a gathering of individuals for the purpose of expressing, promoting, pursuing or defending ideas.

  2. “Campus” – all property and facilities owned or controlled by NWTC.

  3. “Employees” – all individuals currently employed by NWTC.

  4. “Expressive Activity” – demonstrations, picketing, vigils, rallies, performances, petitioning, gathering of signatures, distribution of literature, and other forms of outward communication.  Expressive Activity does not include social, random, or other everyday communications.

  5. “Fighting Words” – Communication which, when addressed to an ordinary person, is inherently likely to provoke violent reaction.

  6. “Public Assembly Area(s)” – the specific indoor and outdoor portion(s) of Campus designated by NWTC for Assembly and Expressive Activity.

  7. “Student” – an individual who: (a) is enrolled at NWTC; or (b) was enrolled at NWTC no more than two (2) consecutive semesters prior to present (e.g., an individual last enrolled in the Spring 2018 semester is considered a Student during the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters).

  8. “True Threats” – statements where the speaker communicates a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group or individual, regardless of whether the speaker has the ability to carry out the threat.  True Threats do not include political hyperbole, jest, innocuous talk, expressions of political views, or other similar expression.

Expressive Activity and Assembly Policy and Procedure

  1. NWTC hereby designates as Public Assembly Areas the locations identified in Attachment A.  These areas provide increased visibility to those using the Public Assembly Areas for Assembly and/or Expressive Activity without probable disruption of NWTC’s academic, co-curricular and administrative responsibilities.

  2. The Public Assembly Areas will be available for use between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.  Individuals may request other areas if the designated Public Assembly Areas are already occupied.  NWTC will consider any such requests on a case-by-case basis to determine whether another area is available and appropriate in light of all relevant considerations, including safety and security, educational activities, etc.  NWTC will not designate any of the following locations as alternate Public Assembly Areas: (a) department offices (e.g., Finance, Financial Aid, Academic Advising, Counseling, Student Services) (b) administrative offices; (c) classrooms during instructional hours; (d) computer rooms and laboratories; (e) libraries; (f) study rooms; and (g) clinics.

  3. Non-Students and non-Employees must reserve Public Assembly Areas prior to use by visiting the Security Office, located in Room SC121 (Student Center) on the Green Bay campus, or by calling (920) 498-5699, at least three (3) days prior to the anticipated use of the Public Assembly Area(s).  Priority for use of all Public Assembly Areas will be given to NWTC Students and Employees where applicable.

  4. Students and Employees are not required to reserve any Public Assembly Areas prior to use thereof but may do so.

  5. Priority for use of all Public Assembly Areas will be given to individuals or groups who reserved the Public Assembly Areas with NWTC.  Where multiple reservations have been made, priority will be given to Students and Employees on a first come first served basis where applicable.

  6. The following manner restrictions apply to all uses of any Public Assembly Area:

    1. Interference with the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic within Campus or the entrances or exits of any buildings on Campus is not permitted.

    2. Interference with the orderly conduct of classes or other NWTC-approved activities, including ceremonies or events, is not permitted.

    3. Use of Fighting Words, True Threats, other unprotected expression or activity, discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, or violation of state or federal law while using or occupying any Public Assembly Area is not permitted.

    4. Use of amplified sound within any Public Assembly Area must be intended to be heard only in the immediate vicinity of the Public Assembly Area in order to minimize any disruption to the central academic mission of NWTC.  Volume at lower levels may be restricted when necessary to prevent interference with any academic or other program taking place in Campus areas nearby the applicable Public Assembly Area.

    5. Damage or destruction of property owned or operated by NWTC or property belonging to Students, Employees or Guests of NWTC is prohibited.  Persons or organizations causing any such damage may be held financially and/or criminally responsible.

    6. All Public Assembly Areas must be left clean and in good repair after use.  Persons or organizations failing to comply may be held financially responsible for any resultant cleanup costs.

Notice

NWTC will include information regarding this Policy in its Welcome Week Orientation materials and will provide notice to all Students and Employees of this Policy on an annual basis.  Students, Employees and members of the community will have access to this Policy via www.nwtc.edu.

Enforcement

Violations of this policy by students may result in a sanction.  A number of factors will be considered in determining the sanction and there are a variety of sanctions that may be imposed as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct. Violations of this policy by employees may result in initiation of the performance improvement process as outlined in the Employee Handbook.  Violations by all other individuals or groups may be reported to law enforcement and/or result in denial of future access to assemble at NWTC.

For questions call Campus Security at (920)-498-5699 or stop by the Green Bay Campus office in SC121.
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