POLICY ON SPEECH AND EXPRESSION
The campus of Henderson State University (HSU) is dedicated to the university’s mission of education. The university’s campus and facilities exist for the primary purposes of serving a planned and scheduled program of educational activity.
In order to carry out the regularly planned educational program, the university has an obligation to maintain a learning environment that prepares students for a lifetime of intellectual and personal growth in a global society, with full recognition by all concerned of the rights and privileges, as well as responsibilities, of the students, faculty, and staff who comprise the university community.
The university acknowledges and respects the constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech, and assembly of its students, faculty, and staff. Constitutionally protected expressive activity will not be subject to student or employee discipline pursuant to university policies. Nevertheless, members of the campus community are advised that certain types of conduct and speech are not constitutionally protected and that when individuals engage in them, even in the context of expressive actions, they may be subject to student or employee discipline. Some examples are:
- Threats of violence, incitement to imminent lawless action, raising false alarms regarding imminent personal danger, and harassment that is sufficiently severe or pervasive.
- Speech activities that violate the university’s time, place, and manner regulations. The university may impose reasonable limits on the time, place, and manner of speech activities. The university’s time, place, and manner regulations are contained herein and in the university’s Facilities Use Policy.
- Conduct that violates university policies or applicable law, such as destruction of property, endangering the safety of others, assault, or interfering with campus operations, even if occurring in connection with speech activities or motivated by expressive concerns, is not protected and may subject individuals to discipline.
While violations of university regulations or policies may be subject to discipline even when they occur in connection with expressive activities, the viewpoints or political positions expressed shall have no influence on either the decision to impose discipline or the severity of penalties imposed.
All individuals present on university property or in attendance at university functions assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner compatible with the university’s responsibilities as an educational institution of the State of Arkansas. This means that all persons are responsible for complying with applicable university regulations and policies, as well as the ordinances of the City of Arkadelphia and the law of the State of Arkansas, including but not limited to the listed prohibitions.
No person on university property or at a university function may:
- block entrances to or otherwise interfere with the free flow of traffic into and out of campus buildings or on sidewalks or pedestrian bridges;
- have unauthorized entry to, possession of, receipt of, or use of any university services, equipment, resources, documents, or properties, including the university’s insignia or seal;
- engage in physical abuse including but not limited to sexual assault, sex offenses, and other physical assault; threats of violence; other conduct that violates the university’s Policy Prohibiting Sex- and Gender-Based Discrimination, Harassment, Misconduct and Retaliation, or other conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person;
- obstruct or disrupt teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other university activities;
- engage in the production of amplified or non-amplified sound that disrupts campus activities;
- exhibit disorderly or lewd conduct;
- According to the state law of Arkansas (Arkansas Code Annotated § 5-71-207), a person commits the offense of disorderly conduct if, with the purpose to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm or recklessly creating a risk of public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, he or she:
- Engages in fighting or in violent, threatening, or tumultuous behavior;
- Makes unreasonable or excessive noise;
- In a public place, uses abusive or obscene language, or makes an obscene gesture, in a manner likely to provoke a violent or disorderly response;
- Disrupts or disturbs any lawful assembly or meeting of persons;
- Obstructs vehicular or pedestrian traffic;
- Congregates with two (2) or more other persons in a public place and refuses to comply with a lawful order to disperse of a law enforcement officer or other person engaged in enforcing or executing the law;
- Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition;
- In a public place, mars, defiles, desecrates, or otherwise damages a patriotic or religious symbol that is an object of respect by the public or a substantial segment of the public; or
- In a public place, exposes his or her private parts.
- Although “lewd” is not defined in the Arkansas Code, the Arkansas Supreme Court has described “lewd” as a common word with an ordinary meaning.
- Black’s Law Dictionary (2nd edition) defines the word lewd as a term describing “[c]onduct that is considered offensive or indecent, often used in reference to pornography, prostitution, indecent exposure or otherwise conduct that is sexually offensive in nature.”
- In Arkansas law the term lewd frequently appears to describe the display of any person’s genitals or pubic area, or a woman’s breasts.
- participate in a disturbance of the peace or unlawful assembly;
- According to the law state of Arkansas (Arkansas Code Annotated § 5-71-205), a person commits the offense of unlawful assembly if, he or she assembles with two or more persons and has the purposes of engaging in conduct constituting a riot.
- According to the law state of Arkansas (Arkansas Code Annotated § 5-71-201), a person commits the offense of a riot if, with two or more other person, he or she knowingly engages in tumultuous or violent conduct that creates a substantial risk of causing public alarm, disrupting the performance of a governmental function, or damaging or injuring property or a person.
- unlawfully manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, sell, or attempt to unlawfully manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, or sell controlled substances, identified in federal and state law or regulations, including the unlawful misuse of lawful drugs;
- manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, sell, or attempt to manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, use, or sell alcoholic beverages that are unlawful or otherwise prohibited by, or not in compliance with, University policy or campus regulations;
- possess, use, store, or manufacture firebombs or other incendiary or destructive devices;
- possess, use, or display open flames other than candles, unless approved by the Vice President for Finance and Administration;
- possess, use, store, or manufacture a weapon other than a handgun;
- According to the law state of Arkansas (Arkansas Code Annotated § 5-5-401) a weapon is any firearm, bomb, explosive, metal knuckles, sword, spear, or other device employed as an instrument of crime by subjecting another to physical harm or fear of physical harm.
- possess, use, store, or manufacture a handgun or other firearm unless allowed by Arkansas law;
- engage in the theft of, conversion of, destruction of, or damage to any property of the university, or any property of others while on university premises, or be in possession of any property when the individual had knowledge or reasonably should have had knowledge that it was stolen;
- fail to comply with the directions of a university official or other public official acting in the performance of his or her duties while on university property or at university event; or resist or obstruct such university or other public officials in the performance of or the attempt to perform their duties;
- sleep inside university buildings other than in authorized facilities; or camp or lodge on university property unless approved by the Vice President for Finance and Administration;
- climb up or rappel down any tree, building, or structure on university property;
- participate in indecent exposure or public nudity on university property, unless a reasonable exception applies (i.e., reasonable exposure in dressing areas of locker rooms; appropriate visual art display; performing arts productions; motion pictures that are part of academic programs or classes scheduled by campus academic units or departments as determined by the departmental chair or unit director; or exposure of a breast to the extent necessary to breast feed a child).
All persons on university property must identify themselves upon request to university officials acting in the performance of their duties. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to carry their university-issued identification cards so that they may be recognized as members of the campus community. A university official is a person employed by the university to perform assigned administrative or professional responsibilities.
The university may restrict an individual from all or part of the university’s property and from university events based upon confirmed noncompliance with the requirements of this policy or other university policies.