Expressive Activity

MECC’s property is primarily dedicated to academic, student life, and administrative functions. The College also represents the “marketplace of ideas.” MECC reserves the right to place restrictions on expressive activities occurring indoors, but especially for students and student organizations, the outdoor areas of campus remain venues for free expression, including speeches, demonstrations, and the distribution of literature.

This policy applies to all buildings, grounds, and other spaces owned or controlled by Mountain Empire Community College (MECC). The term “expressive activity” includes:

  • Meetings and other group activities of students and student organizations;
  •  Speeches, performances, demonstrations, rallies, vigils, and other events by students;
  •  Student organizations, and outside groups invited by student organizations;
  • Distributions of literature, such as leafleting and pamphleting; and
  • Any other expression protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Indoors or outdoors, MECC shall not interfere with the rights of individuals and groups to the free expression of their views or impermissibly regulate their speech based on its content or viewpoint. Nevertheless, MECC has the right to establish a reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on expressive activity. Such restrictions must be content neutral, narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest, and allow ample alternative channels for communication of the information.

No event or expressive activity shall be permitted to violate or hinder the rights of others within the campus community or substantially disrupt normal College operations.

Expressive Activity Procedures

Reserving Campus Facilities

If students, student organizations, or College employees desire to reserve campus facilities for the purpose of expressive activity, they must submit a request to the Dean of Student Services or his/her designee. Requests must be submitted with 24-hours advance notice. More notice may be required to allow for sufficient logistical support and to ensure the safety and security of the campus. If individuals or organizations who are not members of the College community (i.e., not students, student organizations, or College employees) desire to reserve campus facilities, they must be sponsored by a recognized MECC student organization or the College to conduct expressive activities or events on campus.

The following areas are not available for expressive activity: administration offices, Wampler Library, and (during instructional hours) classrooms.

Students, student organizations, and College employees may request to reserve campus facilities on a first-come, first-served basis. These requests may be denied for the following reasons only:

  • The requested venue is an indoor facility that the College has designated as not available for expressive activity;
  • The requested venue is an indoor facility and the request conflicts with restrictions;
  • The venue is already reserved for another event;
  • The activity will attract a crowd larger than the venue can safely contain;
  • The activity will substantially disrupt another event being held at a neighboring venue;
  • The activity will substantially disrupt College operations (including classes);
  • The activity is a clear and present threat to public safety, according to Campus Police;
  • The activity will occur during College examination periods; or
  • The activity is unlawful.

During an event, the student, student organization, or College employee requesting the reservation is responsible for preserving and maintaining the facility it reserved. If it causes any damage to those facilities, the person(s) or organization (and its officers, if applicable) shall assume responsibility.

In the event that multiple individuals or organizations submit conflicting reservation requests, the following order of precedence shall govern:

  • Official College sponsored activities and events;
  • Recognized student organization activities and events;
  • Student activities and events; and
  • All other activities and events.

Spontaneous Expressive Activity 

At MECC, spontaneous expressive activities may occur outside as long as they do not block access to campus buildings, obstruct vehicular or pedestrian traffic, substantially disrupt previously scheduled campus events, substantially disrupt College operations, constitute unlawful activity, or create a clear and present threat to public safety, according to Campus Police

No College personnel may impose restrictions on students, student organizations, or their sponsored guests who are engaging in spontaneous expressive activities due to the content or viewpoint of their expression or the possible reaction to that expression. In the event that other persons react negatively to these activities, Campus Police shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety while allowing the expressive activity to continue.

Violation or Disruption of Free Speech Report