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A READER'S GUIDE TO THE
REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON ASSEMBLY AND EXPRESSION

 

Some members of the Council will read the entire report cover to cover. I encourage them to do so. But many are probably looking for a short cut. Here is how it is organized.

The Narrative Report and General Recommendations lays out the important policy issues. It is the easiest reading and takes less than half an hour. But it does not discuss every proposed change.

The Proposed Amendments to the Regents' Rules are mostly little updates and clarifications. The biggest proposed change is in section 6.61(r), permitting distribution of not-for-profit literature from off-campus. The Section-by-Section Analysis gives the rationale for each proposed change.

The core of the report is the Proposed Institutional Rules on Student Services and Activities. You can read the rules themselves. Or you can read the Section-by-Section Analysis. Or you can read both. The Section-by-Section Analysis looks duller and more technical, but it has one big advantage: it identifies all the substantive changes.

The Proposed Institutional Rules recodify three chapters - chapters 6, 10, and 13. (There are also two amendments to Chapter 11, but these are just adding cross-references.) Chapter 6 corresponds to existing Chapter 6 on Student Organizations; Chapter 10 corresponds to the parts of existing Chapter 10 that are really about use of University Facilities. The changes here are quite modest; the Section-by-Section Analysis identifies the ones that are substantive.

The inner core is proposed Chapter 13 on Speech, Expression, and Assembly. This attempts to gather all the important speech rules in one place in about 20 pages. Chapter 13 has a structure that should be visible from the Table of Contents at the beginning of the Chapter:

Subchapter 13-100 is policy statement, definition, and scope. Subchapter 13-200 collects in one place all the rules about things you can't say on campus: obscenity, defamation, incitement, harassment, and solicitation. Subchapter 13-300 collects in one place all the generally applicable rules that limit the means of speech: disruption, defacing property, coercing attention, cosponsorship. Everything else is subject to these two sets of restrictions in 13-200 and 13-300.

Subchapters 13-400 through 13-1000 deal with particular means of speech: distribution of literature, signs and banners, tables, exhibits and A-frames, amplified sound, public assemblies without amplified sound, guest speakers, and responding to other speakers. These are time place and manner rules; some means of speech are subject to locational restrictions; some require reservations or advance permission; some are subject to rules about litter, safety, or other issues unrelated to the message.

Subchapter 13-1200 deals with enforcement and appeals.

All of this is repeated in the Proposed Amendments to the Handbook of Operating Procedures. The rules go in both places because they apply equally to students, faculty, and staff. Proposed Policies 2.B.1, 12.B.1, and 13.A.1 duplicate proposed Chapters 6, 10, and 13 of the Institutional Rules. The Section-by-Section Analysis is not repeated.

The other HOP amendments are mostly cross-references and conforming amendments. These do have a Section-by-Section Analysis, and the proposed substantive changes are identified.


Douglas Laycock
University of Texas Law School
727 E. Dean Keeton St.
Austin, TX 78705
512-232-1341 (voice)       512-471-6988 (fax)
dlaycock@mail.law.utexas.edu

Link to the Narrative Report and Recommendations from the Task Force on Assembly and Expression