Free Speech Policy

Drury University is a safe, education-oriented and community-minded campus that maintains an academic and social environment conducive to intellectual and personal development of students and promotes the safety and welfare of all members of the campus community. Drury University prohibits the abuse of free speech by its students, employees and citizens. Drury University will cooperate with authorities in the enforcement of all applicable laws.

The abuse of free speech by Drury students, university employees or Drury citizens is prohibited on university-owned or -controlled property, in conjunction with university-sponsored or -supervised activities, or at any activity or event that an observer would associate with Drury students, university employees or Drury citizens.

This policy has been established to protect the integrity of the educational experience, encourage positive behavior and enhance the community commitment of Drury students, university employees or Drury citizens.

Non-Discrimination Guidelines

Drury University students, student organizations, employees and citizens are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, color, religion, gender, age, veteran status, sexual orientation and/or ability status in any of its programs, activities, services, benefits or membership practices.

Under Title IX of the U.S. Education Act Amendment of 1972, certain exemptions may be granted for groups such as intercollegiate and intramural athletics, social fraternities and sororities.

Free Speech Guidelines

Drury University will protect the rights of freedom of speech, petition and peaceful assembly as set forth in the U.S. Constitution. Drury University maintains its right to regulate reasonable time, place and manner restrictions concerning acts of expression and dissent. Any acts that are disruptive to the normal operations of the university, including but not limited to classes and university business, or invade the rights of others will not be tolerated. Faculty, staff and students engaging in a disruptive activity may be subject to disciplinary action.

Use of the space will be assigned to the person or organization that requests the area first. University-sponsored events have first priority on the use of campus grounds. The university reserves the right to relocate any assembly to ensure that the activity does not interfere with the normal operation of the university or interfere with the rights of others.

The volume of any sound equipment may not exceed 75 decibels on the A scale at 50 feet from the source of amplification in order to keep from interfering with any academic or other program taking place in nearby buildings.

Free Speech Activities

  • SPEAKERS: In view of the desire of the university to promote free speech, the free speech areas of the campus are open to speakers for whom official arrangements to speak have been made with the university, following the provisions of this policy.
  • THE RIGHT TO DISSENT: The right to dissent is the complement of the right to speak, but these rights need not occupy the same forum at the same time. The speaker is entitled to communicate her or his message to the audience during her or his allotted time, and the audience is entitled to hear the message and see the speaker during that time. A dissenter must not substantially interfere with the speaker’s ability to communicate or the audience’s ability to hear and see the speaker. Likewise, the audience must respect the right to dissent.
  • PICKETING AND DISTRIBUTION OF LITERATURE: Picketing in an orderly manner or distributing literature is acceptable. Picketing is not permitted inside campus buildings or within 50 feet of external access to buildings. Interference with entrance to or exit from facilities and interruption of classes or other normal functions is prohibited.
  • SYMBOLIC PROTEST: During a presentation, displaying a sign, gesturing, wearing symbolic clothing, or otherwise protesting silently is permissible unless it is a disruptive activity or impedes access, such as acts that prevent the audience from being able to pay attention.
  • PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATIONS & MARCHES: Students may conduct peaceful demonstrations, protests or marches. Although the right of peaceful protest within the Drury community is recognized, the university retains the right to ensure the safety of individuals, the protection of property and the continuity of the educational process. In order to ensure that the rights of the institution and of all individuals is protected, the following regulations have been established:

Conduct and Manner

Those who schedule speech or public assembly activities on campus must not:

  • Violate other policies as a result of practicing free speech
  • Threaten others or employ force or violence
  • Interfere with, impede or cause blockage of the flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic
  • Commit any act likely to create an imminent safety or health hazard
  • Interfere with or disrupt any other lawful activity by anyone in the same general location at the same time
  • Post materials on anything except designated posting areas
  • Conduct speech that includes defamatory or obscene language, fighting words—which are those words that by their very utterance tend to provoke an immediate breach of the peace, or is likely to produce imminent lawless action
  • Engage in free speech actions that are not allowed by law, damages or destroys university property

Safety & Accountability

Any attempt to control or take over buildings, faculty or administrative offices, or other facilities in any buildings where university space is in use for an authorized function, whether conduct of a class, a public or private meeting under approved sponsorship, normal administrative or educational functions or service-related activities (health services, recreational activities, or personnel placement) is prohibited.

A request for use of free speech activities may be denied if it is determined that the proposed speech/activity will constitute a clear and present danger to the university’s orderly operation. Any request to desist from specified activities or to leave the premises must be obeyed.

Rooms in which instruction, research or study normally take place may be occupied only when assigned through established procedures. Buildings must be cleared at the normal closing time for each building unless other arrangements are approved in advance.

Every student enrolled in the university has the right to be interviewed on campus by any legal organization that desires to recruit at the campus. Any student or group of students has the right to protest against the appearance on campus of any organization, provided the protest does not interfere with any other student’s opportunity to have such an interview.

The Dean of Students must be informed of the time and place of any demonstration in advance. To ensure proper safety, if requested by Drury University security personnel, a person must identify him/herself by presenting a Drury ID card or driver’s license or some other form of government issued identification.

Limitations may only be prescribed on the areas in which demonstrations are held in order to avoid physical harm or physical conflict between groups of demonstrators. Students should be advised as to whether their demonstration is consistent with stated regulations.

Free Speech Policy Violation Sanctions

Violators of this policy will be subject to sanctions ranging from official letters of warning and reprimand to disciplinary suspension from the university, according to the severity of the offense.