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M E M O R A N D U M

To: James W. Vick

From: Sharon H. Justice

Subj: Proposed Revisions to Rules for Use of University Facilities

Date: April 11, 2001

I write to report the recommendations of a committee you asked me to convene to review rules regarding use of university facilities as they are outlined in Appendix C, Chapter 10 of the General Information Catalog. The committee members were Joe Powell, Associate Vice President for Employee and Campus Services; Kevin Rome, Assistant Dean of Students for Campus and Community Involvement; and Cheryl Wood, Senior Student Affairs Administrator in the Office of the Dean of Students. The work of the committee included consideration of the questions raised by President Faulkner in his March 19, 2001, memorandum to the Faculty Council.

In addition to our recommended changes to the rules, we also are of the opinion that while we work with these rules on a daily basis, our community must be better informed. We will propose an educational campaign, soliciting advice from the campus community in this endeavor. Our ideas include better use of the web and distribution of informational handouts regarding pertinent rules at rallies that will draw large crowds. We suggest, as well, that consideration should be given to including relevant portions of these rules„such as those dealing with application of the rules to faculty, staff, and students and rules regarding amplified sound--in the Handbook of Operating Procedures or among our Policy Memoranda. We have not proposed rules for the new Speedway Mall pending advice on plans for that area from the Campus Master Planning Committee.

I. Questions posed by President Faulkner:

1. Does the University have the right to restrict displays on the basis of content when it is deemed offensive in particular ways by members of our community? If so, what would be the basis for decision?

Committee response:
We do not recommend that the University restrict displays on the basis of content. While we may vehemently disagree with the position taken by a given group, we don't know of anyone who would want to or who should make a content-based decision regarding which exhibits can or cannot be displayed on campus. It is almost inevitable that a content-based decision would result in legal action. We think a better approach would be not to issue a permit if we have a reasonable belief that an exhibit will result in significant disruption of campus activities and we are advised that the law will support us in exercising that judgment when it is necessary to do so.

2. Does the university have the right to limit displays in scale? If so, what would be allowed, and how would the limitations be communicated?

Committee response:
The University has the right to limit displays in scale. This issue is addressed in our recommendation for changes in our rules, which state that exhibits must be appropriate for the space in which they will be displayed, as determined by the dean. An arbitrary definition of display size(s) would be problematic. For example, the display of the state flag at the entrance to the Main Building might be prohibited by fixed limitations for exhibits on campus.

3. Is it appropriate to continue to use the Gregory Gym Plaza as a site by displays sponsored by student organizations?

Committee response:
We believe it is appropriate to use Gregory Gym Plaza as a site for displays. We do not consider that space a "rally area" at this time and recommend that it continue to be used primarily for exhibits.

4: What attributes constitute co-sponsorship of an outside organization, which is not permitted under the Regents' Rules?

Committee response:
We believe we should follow existing rules. No changes are needed. It is routine practice of the Office of the Dean of Students to ask groups to remove information about external organizations when it appears on exhibits. If a group fails to comply with this request, the permit is revoked and the exhibit must be removed.

5. Is our policy on amplified sound well enough understood? Should we consider changing it?

Committee response:
The purpose of restricting amplified sound is to avoid interference with classroom instruction. Our policy on amplified sound is not well publicized nor well understood by members of the university community. In our recommendations, we have clearly spelled out the areas and times when amplified sound is allowed.

6. Are policies on enforcement of campus rules that are applicable to students also applicable to faculty and staff?

Committee response:
We believe the enforcement of the rules for use of campus facilities must be applicable to faculty and staff. We have included this suggestion in our recommendations.

II. Proposed changes to Chapter 10 — Use of University Facilities, Appendix C, General Information Catalog:

Our review of rules for use of campus facilities suggests language changes should be made to clarify the rules regarding definitions, booths, public demonstrations, use of designated areas, amplified sound, and appeals. The existing text of the sections of the rules we propose to modify is set out below, with recommended changes indicated in underlined italics.

A. We recommend additions to the definitions in Section 10-102 of Chapter 10 to provide uniformity in the description of "malls" as that term is used in our rules. It is our belief that many members of the campus community are confused by or use inapposite terms to refer to these spaces.

Sec. 10-102. Definitions
Existing text:
In this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning,

1. "authorized representative" means a person designated to represent an organization as required in subsection 6-304(a);
2. "dean" means the dean of students or the dean's delegate or representative;
3. "organization" means a faculty, staff, or student group holding a valid registration;
4. "president" means the president of the University of Texas at Austin;
5. "student" means a person currently enrolled in residence at the university, or who is accepted for admission or readmission to the university, or who has been enrolled at the university in a prior semester or summer session and is eligible to continue enrollment in the semester or summer session that immediately follows, or who is attending an educational program sponsored by the university while that person is on campus;
6. "university" means the University of Texas at Austin;
 
7. "university facility" means a classroom, auditorium, residence hall, other building, property, or outdoor area owned or controlled by the university;
8. "vice president" means the vice president for student affairs; and
9. "weekday" means Monday through Friday except for official university holidays; "day" means calendar day.

  Committee's proposed additions:

10. "South Mall" is the grassy area south of Inner Campus drive and north of Littlefield Fountain;
11. "Main Mall" is the concrete plaza and grassy flag pole area just immediately south of the Main Building, extending to the north side of Inner Campus drive;
12. "Speedway Mall" is the area bordered on the south by Inner Campus Drive and on the north by the service entrance to Chilling Station #2;
13. "East Mall" begins at the Speedway Mall and extends east to the west side of the East Mall Fountain;
14. "Booths" are defined in section 10-305 (a); and
15. "Rally Areas" are defined as areas The University has designated for assembly without prior approval and where permission may be granted for use of amplified sound at specified times. Rally areas are identified in Section 10-307(a).

B. We recommend modifications to Section 10-305 of Chapter 10 — Booths, to clarify methods of communication with applicants and to implement changes in the periods of time for which booth permits may be granted. The latter changes are based on the types of booths involved (tables, temporary structures, or special exhibits) and to indicate that the dean has full discretion to determine whether a proposed booth is appropriate for the space requested.

Sec. 10-305. Booths[22]
Existing text:

a. In this chapter, unless the context requires a different meaning, "booth" means a table furnished by the university or an approved table furnished by the student or organization or a temporary structure installed for distributing petitions, handbills, or literature, or for displaying signs, or for other forms of expression, or for raising funds or soliciting tangible items.

b. A student or organization may install a booth after meeting the requirements of subsections (c), (d), and (e).

c. Before installing a booth, a student or organization must apply to the dean for permission on a form prescribed by the dean. An application under this section shall contain:
1. the applicant's name;
2. the proposed use of the booth;
3. the proposed location of the booth;
4. the length of time that the booth will be installed; and
5. the signature of the applicant or its authorized representative.

Committee's proposed modifications:

Modify subsection c. to read:

c. Before installing a booth, a student or organization must apply to the dean for permission to install a booth on a form prescribed by the dean. The dean will communicate only with the applicant or, if the applicant is an organization, with the organization's authorized representative(s). An application under this section shall contain:
1. the applicant's name;
2. the proposed use of the booth;

3. the proposed location of the booth;
4. the length of time that the booth will be installed; and
5. the signature of the applicant or its authorized representative.

Existing text of section 10-305 (continued)

 
d. The dean shall approve an application properly made under subsection (c) unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that:

1. the applicant is under a disciplinary penalty prohibiting installing a booth;
2. the proposed location
A. is unavailable;
B. is an area designated by the dean as inappropriate for a booth; or
C. unreasonably obstructs pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
3. the booth does not meet fire, health, or safety standards;
4. the booth will be used for nonpermissible fund-raising or other solicitation;[23] 
5. the booth will be used for purposes that would involve a nonregistered group or individual or group of individuals;
6. the booth will be used for the distribution of material that is obscene, vulgar, or libelous;
7. the booth will be staffed by a person who is not a University of Texas at Austin student, faculty member, or staff member; or
8. the booth would disrupt or disturb the regular academic and institutional program, or other approved activities, or would result in damage to or defacement of property.
e. The booth shall identify the student or organizational sponsor.

  Committee's proposed change:
f. The booth permit shall be valid for not more than one long semester or whole summer session, after which a new application shall be required. The area around the booth shall be cleaned on a daily basis. With prior approval, booths will be permitted overnight in specified locations.

f. The booth permit shall be valid for different periods of times depending upon the type of booth:
1. A table permit shall be valid for not more than one long semester or whole summer session, after which a new application will be required;
2. A temporary structure permit shall be valid for not more than 14 calendar days, after which a new application will be required;
3. Special exhibits must be removed by the expiration date shown on the approved application;
4. The size of the exhibit must be appropriate to the space requested, at the discretion of the Dean.

Existing text (continued)

 
g. No student or organization may operate a booth for the purpose of distributing, soliciting, or selling by accosting individuals or by hawking or shouting.
h. Organizations assume full responsibility for their booths or temporary structures, including all injuries or hazards that may arise from their presence on the campus. The university is not liable for damage that may occur to booths or temporary structures.
i. If the dean refuses an application under subsection (d), upon request the applicant shall be given a written statement of the grounds for refusal within one weekday.

C. We recommend changes to Section 10-306 — Public Demonstrations, to give additional time for consideration of an application for use of campus facilities (the time under current rules is only one weekday, which has proven unrealistic) and to indicate that rules for use of campus facilities apply equally to faculty, staff, and students. Further, we spell out the processes to be used when violations occur, depending upon the constituency involved.

Sec. 10-306. Public Demonstrations
Existing text:

 
a. A student or organization may publicly assemble or demonstrate in a peaceful manner after obtaining the dean's permission.
b. An application to assemble publicly or demonstrate shall be made on a form prescribed by the dean and shall contain
1. the applicant's name;
2. the proposed location, date, and time for the assembly or demonstration;
3. the anticipated number of participants;
4. the purpose of the assembly or demonstration; and
5. the signature of the applicant or, if an organization, its authorized representative.
c. The dean shall approve an application properly made under subsection (b) unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that:
1. the applicant is under a disciplinary penalty prohibiting publicly assembling or demonstrating;
2. the proposed location is unavailable or inappropriate at the time requested;
3. the proposed date and time are unreasonable;
4. the assembly or demonstration would unreasonably obstruct pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
5. the assembly or demonstration would prevent, obstruct, or unreasonably interfere with the regular academic and institutional activities, or other approved activities, of the university;
6. the assembly or demonstration would constitute an immediate and actual danger to university students, faculty, or staff, or to the peace or security of the university that available law enforcement officials could not control with reasonable effort; or
7. the assembly or demonstration would constitute an unauthorized joint sponsorship.

Committee's proposed changes:

 
d. If an application under the section is refused, upon request the dean shall give the applicant a written statement of the grounds for refusal within one weekday.

d. If an application is refused, upon request the dean shall give the applicant a written statement of the grounds for refusal within five weekdays.
e. Students, faculty and staff may be disciplined by the university for violating University policies, rules and regulations set out in this Chapter:
1. student violations will be referred to the Office of The Dean of Students;
2. staff violations will be referred to Human Resource Services;
3. faculty violations will be referred to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

D. We recommend changes to Section 10-307 — Use of Designated Areas, to emphasize the fact that freedom of speech is a campus-wide right, but that there are areas of the campus that are designated as rally areas. We define rally areas, which have additional rules and may be reserved for use at specified times on weekdays. We suggest language that will clarify the rules regarding amplified sound.

Sec. 10-307. Use of Designated Areas
Existing text:

 
a. The freedoms of speech and assembly are basic and essential to intellectual development. However, these activities are subject to the well-established right of colleges and universities to regulate time, place, and manner so that the activities do not intrude upon or interfere with the academic programs and administrative processes of the university. The university may designate one or more appropriate areas on the campus where students may assemble and engage in speech activities without prior administrative approval. In other areas on the campus, all speech and assembly activities must be conducted in accordance with institutional rules.[24]

 
  Committee's proposed changes:

Modify subsection a. to read:

a. The freedoms of speech and assembly are basic and essential to intellectual development. However, these activities are subject to the well-established right of colleges and universities to regulate time, place, and manner so that the activities do not intrude upon or interfere with the academic programs and administrative processes of the university. The university may designate one or more appropriate areas on the campus where students may assemble and engage in speech activities without prior administrative approval. If one of these areas, designated as "rally areas,î is reserved for use at a specific time, that use takes priority until the reservation period has expired. In other areas on the campus, all speech and assembly activities must be conducted in accordance with institutional rules.[24]
The designated rally areas are:
1. The West Mall rally area: the west steps of the Main Building;
2. The Texas Union East patio flagstone portion East of the Texas Union;
3. The East Mall rally area: the grassy area adjacent to the Shuttle Bus circle south of the East Mall Fountain.

Existing text (continued):

b. A student or organization may use an area designated under subsection (a)
1. for public discussion without prior permission under section 10-201; and
2. for peaceful public assembly or demonstration without prior permission under section 10-306.
c. Public assembly, discussion, or demonstration exercised in accordance with subsection (b)(1) or (b)(2) shall not disturb or interfere with a program, event, or activity approved by the dean prior to the public assembly, discussion, or demonstration, and shall not unreasonably disturb or interfere with normal operations and activities of the university. Use of the designated area shall not include activities which would constitute impermissible solicitation or involve a non-registered group or individual or group of individuals.

Committee's proposed changes:

Add a new subsection d.:

d. Amplified sound is defined as any electronic device using an input of power so as to obtain a sound output of greater magnitude. Amplified sound may be used at the following times and locations:

1. at the West Mall rally area and the Texas Union East patio rally area from Monday through Friday between 11:30-1:30 p.m. with prior approval of the dean;
2. at the East Mall rally at any time with prior approval of the dean;
3. Amplified sound may be used at all campus locations after 5:00 p.m. on weeknights and all day on weekends with prior approval of the dean.

E. We propose a change to Section 10-601 — Procedures for Appeal, to extend the time available to the vice president in reviewing and responding to an appeal of the denial of use of campus facilities by the dean.

Sec. 10-601. Procedures for Appeal
Existing text (with proposed modification in italics):

 
a. A student or organization aggrieved by a decision under this chapter is entitled to appeal to the vice president by giving written notice to the dean on or before the fifth weekday after the day the decision is announced. The notice is informal, but shall contain the student's or organization's name and mailing address, a concise description of the decision complained of, the student's or organization's reasons for disagreeing with the decision, and the date the decision was announced.
b. When timely notice of appeal is received, the dean shall prepare and send to the vice president a copy of the written statement of the reason given for the dean's decision. The vice president shall provide the student or organization with an opportunity for a hearing and the person or the organization shall be notified at least one weekday three weekdays before the date of the hearing.

F. We propose that the vice president shall be the final level of appeal for the denial of use of campus facilities by a registered student organization. We believe the recommended change provides for adequate review and consideration of these appeals.

Sec. 10-602. Further Review by Petition
Existing text:

  The dean, a student, or an organization may petition in writing through the vice president to the president to review the decision being appealed. The president may establish an ad hoc committee to review the appeal and make recommendations regarding it. The president reviews appeals solely at his or her discretion.

Committee's proposed change:

Strike Section 10-602 and modify Section10-601(b) above to read:

b. When timely notice of appeal is received, the dean shall prepare and send to the vice president a copy of the written statement of the reason given for the dean's decision. The vice president shall provide the student or organization with an opportunity for a hearing and the person or the organization shall be notified at least one weekday three weekdays before the date of the hearing. The decision of the vice president shall be final.

The committee stands ready to discuss this report and any of our recommendations upon request. We look forward to hearing from you.