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- Free Speech Policy
I Policy Objective
California State University, Bakersfield is committed to affording all members of the
University community the protections of freedom of speech, expression, petition, assembly
and religion available under the United States and California Constitutions and all
applicable federal and state laws, in accordance with the University’s educational purpose.
Through this policy, the University seeks to foster and sustain a forum for the free and
orderly exchange of ideas, values and opinions, and to ensure that the exercise of the right
of free expression does not imperil public safety, obstruct or damage University facilities, or
interfere with University’s educational mission and functions.
This policy is promulgated under the authority of Title 5 of the California Code of
Regulations and directives, resolutions, standing orders, and Executive Orders of the Board of
Trustees and Chancellor of the California State University, and the President of California
State University, Bakersfield.
III General Rules Regarding Free Expression at CSU Bakersfield
At California State University, Bakersfield, the time, place, and manner of expression are
limited solely by the following general conditions and the additional specific conditions as
defined in this policy and those referenced policies.
The exercise of free speech and assembly rights must comply with all applicable federal,
state and local laws. In addition, such activities may not:
• Interfere with University activities, including classes in session or other scheduled
academic, educational, athletics, cultural/arts and career programs or with use of Walter
• Obstruct the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
• Interfere with or disrupt the conduct of University business and operations;
• Employ unauthorized sound amplification or create unreasonable noise disruptive of
normal University activities;
• Severely harass or intimidate persons in the immediate area of the activity;
• Violate any federal, state, local safety code, such as regulations set by the State Fire
• Be conducted in classrooms, when classes are scheduled, or in administrative offices
or reception areas.
There shall be no restrictions on legal free speech activity based on the content of such speech or
expression or on the political, religious, or other affiliations of speakers.
Illegal speech activity, not protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or by this
policy, includes speech that promotes actual or imminent violence or harm, constitutes criminal
harassment, or words which by their very utterance would incite an immediate breach of the peace
IV Public Meetings, Performances, Rallies, Demonstrations, or
Similar Public Events
Members of the University community and non-University community may use campus buildings
and grounds for public meetings, performances, rallies and similar events. However, any groups,
whether students, faculty, staff or other members of the University community, or non-University
groups, that seek to hold events inside buildings, the amphitheater, or on athletic venues or fields,
must use the CSUB Facility Use Application procedures. Those procedures are found by
accessing the link “Plan an Event” at the bottom of the CSUB web page, www.csub.edu. The
highest priority for the use of University facilities is for the regular University instructional program
(i.e., teaching and instructional programs for credit), followed by instructionally related activities
and programs; research and consultant activities; and educational and co-curricular activities. Not
all University facilities are available.
Non-amplified outdoor demonstrations, rallies or protests may be held elsewhere on University
property, without requiring the CSUB Facility Use Application procedures, provided they adhere to
the general limitations described in Section III. Any group that wishes to conduct such a
demonstration or protest should contact the University Police Department, located in Building 6PS,
and reached by phone at 661-654-2111 and by email at [email address], 48 hours in advance, to
address public safety issues (routes of march, necessary public safety staffing, etc.), unless such
notice is impossible because the event is the result of a news item coming into public knowledge
less than 48 hours before the event.
When speech is part of a planned event in a building (i.e., an invited speaker), an individual or
group wishing to protest at an event may do so as long as any speaker’s right to free speech and
the audience’s right to see and hear the speaker are not violated. In the interest of protecting the
free speech right of all, University representatives may warn anyone interfering with a speaker’s
freedom of expression to cease the disruptive behavior. If such warnings are not heeded, those
individuals may be removed from the event.
Consistent with the CSUB Facility Use Application procedures, use of campus facilities or other
property may be subject to a fee, such as for rent, security, parking or custodial services, and/or
require liability insurance and/or an indemnity agreement. Such fees will be determined based solely
on the number of attendees, wear and tear, risk management and health and safety standards. The
content or subject of the speech will not be considered.
V Designated Public Forum
The area adjacent to the west side of the Student Union (Runner Park) including the patio area is
designated as a public forum area in which all members of the University community and non-
University community may exercise their free speech rights without special restriction, subject only
to the limitations in Sections III and VI, including time restrictions. This area is available to
individual students, faculty, and staff and to University organizations on a first come first served
basis for free speech activities.
VI Sound Amplification
Outdoor sound amplification is permitted in the Designated Public Forum area Individuals or
groups which seek to use outdoor sound amplification in all other areas of the CSUB campus must
obtain permission via the University Police Department prior to the event. Permission will be
denied only if the planned action will violate a restriction in Section III, such as interfering with
University activities; the decision will not be based on the content of such demonstration or protest.
The University Police Department is located in Building 6PS, and can be reached by phone at
661-654-2677 and by email at [email address].
Outdoor events and activities that involve amplified music or speech are prohibited during the
hours of 10:00 PM to 7:00 AM, Sunday through Thursday; and 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM Friday and
Whenever and wherever used, sound amplification must not violate the other restrictions listed in
this policy, including Section III.
VII Structures as Part of Free Speech Activities
This policy does not authorize the construction or placement of permanent or semi-permanent
structures on campus. Use of temporary structures, including but not limited to furniture (e.g.,
chairs, tables, stools and soap boxes), booths, signage, displays, props, artwork and any form of
shelter (e.g., tents, awnings, shanties and other enclosures), must be approved in accordance with
CSUB Facility Use Application procedures.
VIII Distribution of Printed Materials and Posting
The purpose of this policy is to promote effective communication for individuals in the CSUB
community, provide consistent and fair access to participants, maintain a beautiful campus consistent
with CSUB’s mission, and not to jeopardize health and safety standards which could result in
excessive maintenance costs.
Provided the activity conforms to the limitations in Section III, individuals or organizations may,
without prior scheduling, hand out non-commercial written and printed materials including leaflets,
fliers, handbills, posters, petitions and circulars in any outdoor area of the university except roadways,
parking lots and athletic fields and arenas. The event should occur between the hours of 9:00 a.m.
and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday when school is in session. When commercial solicitation is
involved, the CSUB Facility Use Application Procedures must be used and advanced approval
obtained from the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership. “Commercial solicitation” is defined
as any direct and personal communication in the source of a trade or business reasonably intended
to result in a sale or profit. (Title 5, California Code of Regulations, Section 42350.)
CSUB prohibits the posting or display of items outside of designated areas, including on the exterior
of any University building, telephone utility pole, tree, sidewalk, window, trash can, or other exterior
surfaces located on campus, including vehicles. Requests to post fliers within on-campus housing
must be submitted to the Director of Housing and Residential Life.
IX Violations of This Policy
Violations of this policy may constitute a misdemeanor pursuant to California Education Code Section
89031 or in some instances a crime under the California Penal Code. Camping and other forms of
lodging anywhere on campus, other than in accordance with University residence hall policies, are
prohibited by California Penal Code Section 647(e). In addition, an CSUB student who violates the
policy may be subject to student disciplinary action pursuant to Title 5, California Code of Regulations
Section 41301, and an CSUB employee who violates the policy may be subject to employee
disciplinary action pursuant to California Education Code Section 89535.
California State University, Bakersfield