Alerts: COVID-19 | Return to Campus | CARES Act

Interim Policy on Time, Place, and Manner of Free Expression

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 or disrupt the conduct of University sanctioned business, operations, and activities.

II Authority

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 Definitions of Free Speech

  1. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  2. Free Speech is defined by the California Constitution as "[e]very person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press."

IV Free Speech on CSU Campuses

According to the CSU Handbook on Free Speech Issues, the First Amendment does not guarantee access to property that is owned by the government. No one, including "students, teachers, or anyone else has an absolute constitutional right to use all parts of a school building or its immediate environs for unlimited expressive purposes."

V Unprotected Speech

Speech excluded from constitutional protection is speech that promotes an unlawful end such as, promoting actual violence or harm, use of "fighting words", true threats, expression that constitutes criminal or severe harassment, defamation, obscenity, false advertising or the use of public resources for partisan political activities.

VI 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:

  1. Interfere with or disrupt the conduct of University sanctioned business, operations, and activities;
  2. Obstruct the flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
  3. Employ unauthorized sound amplification or create unreasonable noise disruptive of normal University activities;
  4. Harass or intimidate persons in the immediate area of the activity;
  5. Promote commercial solicitation;
  6. Violate any federal, state, local safety code, such as regulations set by the State Fire Marshall;

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.

VII Designated Public Forum

Three areas on campus have been designated as public forums in which speakers may address those wishing to listen. The Runner Park Lawn Area (adjacent to the Cafe Quad), Classroom Building Quad(east of Faculty Towers) and Icardo Center Lawn between the University Police Department and the Icardo Center are designated as a public forum for Free Expression. These areas are available to any person, but members of the University community and their organizations shall have preference in the use of these areas. Use of the facilities may be reserved through the Office of the Director of the Student Union and Organizational Governance.

VIII Distribution of Printed Materials

Provided the activity conforms to the limitations in Section VI, 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.

IX Posting of Printed Materials

In accordance with the CSUB Posting Policy, posting or display of items must be approved and posted in a designated area. Requests for the designated posting areas and approval to post are sought through the Office of the Director of the Student Union and Organizational Governance.

X Structures

  1. Members of the University community and their organizations may erect structures on campus to express their view or opinions. Such structures may deal with any subject matter including, but not limited to, expressions of positions and ideas on social or political topics.
  2. A "structure" is any object (other than objects such as handbills, signs, notices and posters, arm bands or personal attire) used in the process of expressing views or opinions including, but not limited to, lawn signs, tables (and other structures used to display materials), booths, billboards, banners, tents, awnings, shanties and other enclosures.
  3. Prior to the erection of any structure, a person or organization must seek permission and be approved in accordance with CSUB Facility Use Application procedures.

XI Demonstrations

  1. Demonstrations and picketing on campus are legitimate means of expression. Anyone who wishes to engage in demonstrations and picketing shall be permitted to do so freely, as long as their conduct is not violent and does not unduly disrupt the functioning of the University or interfere with the rights of other members of the University community or damage University or private property.
  2. The term "demonstration" as used herein means any rally, gathering, protest, parade or procession.
  3. Picketing or demonstrating must be orderly at all times and must not jeopardize public order or safety.
  4. Picketing or demonstrating must not interfere with the entrances to buildings or the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
  5. Picketing or demonstrating must not interfere with organized meetings or other assemblies in such a way as to invade the rights of others to assemble and the rights of speakers to free expression.
  6. Picketing or demonstrating must not interfere with classes and teaching, the use of offices or research facilities, the privacy of University housing, Counseling Services, Health Services, and other University activities related to teaching or research.

XII 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, a CSUB student who violates the policy may be subject to student disciplinary action pursuant to Title 5, California Code of Regulations Section 41301, and a CSUB employee who violates the policy may be subject to employee disciplinary action pursuant to California Education Code Section 89535.

California State University, Bakersfield
Revised: 12/09/2016