Mar 30, 2020  
2018-2019 Catalog: Undergraduate, Graduate, and College of Law 
2018-2019 Catalog: Undergraduate, Graduate, and College of Law [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Free Speech and Public Assembly

The University of North Texas at Dallas recognizes that the freedom to exchange ideas and to publicly assemble is an essential component of the educational process. Such activities promote debate and the sharing of ideas that substantially contribute to the marketplace of ideas and are a foundation of educational institutions.

The responsibility of UNT Dallas to operate and maintain an effective and efficient institution of higher education requires regulation of the time, place and manner of assembly, speech and other expressive activity on UNT Dallas grounds. In keeping with this responsibility, students, faculty and staff are free to exercise their rights to assemble and to engage in expressive activity at UNT Dallas in a constitutionally protected manner subject only to the content-neutral regulations necessary to fulfill the mission and obligations of UNT Dallas, preserve the rights of others, coordinate multiple uses of limited space and assure preservation of the campus facilities and grounds.

This policy applies to all UNT Dallas students, student organizations, employees and sponsored guests. This policy does not apply to official UNT Dallas academic and administrative activities and functions.


The following definitions apply for the purposes of this policy only:

  1. Amplified sound. “Amplified sound” means sound that is increased or enhanced by any electric, electronic or mechanical means, including hand-held devices such as megaphones and sound trucks. Other sound, specifically individual shouting or group chanting/singing is subject to general regulations concerning disruption of official University functions.
  2. Campus grounds. “Campus grounds” mean all outdoor areas owner, leased or controlled by UNT Dallas that are common and accessible to all students and employees such as sidewalks and courtyards and grassy areas.
  3. Designated areas. “Designated areas” mean outdoor areas of property owned, leased or controlled by UNT Dallas that may be reserved by students and employees for expressive activity and used by sponsored guests for this purpose.
  4. Employee. “Employee” means a person currently employed by UNT Dallas on a full-time, part-time or hourly basis.
  5. Expressive activity. “Expressive activity” means the verbal or symbolic expression of an idea, thought or opinion that may include speeches, assembly, marches, parades, rallies, picketing, distribution of literature, graphic or pictorial displays and other similar activities intended to communicate an idea or an opinion. Expressive activity does not include speech that is likely to incite or produce imminent lawless action, expression that consists of fighting words or threats of physical harm or expression that is defamatory, obscene or commercial in nature.
  6. Literature. “Literature” means any printed material that is produced in multiple copies for distribution or publication to an audience, including but not limited to flyers, handbills, leaflets, placards, bulletins, newspapers, and magazines, but does not include any UNT Dallas sanctioned student newspaper or official UNT Dallas materials.
  7. Official University function. “Official University function” means all activities, events and programs sponsored by an academic or administrative unit of UNT Dallas and all activities and on-campus programs sponsored by student or employee organizations.
  8. Sponsored activity . “Sponsored activity” means any expressive activity that is presented by a sponsored guest under this policy.
  9. Sponsored guest. “Sponsored guest” means any person or organization invited to engage in expressive activity on campus grounds by a sponsoring organization in accordance with this policy.
  10. Student. “Student” means any person who is currently enrolled and attending UNT Dallas.
  11. Sponsoring organization. “Sponsoring organization” means a registered student organization or a group comprised of UNT Dallas students or employees who officially represent UNT Dallas at activities sanctioned by UNT Dallas.
  12. University. “University” means the University of North Texas at Dallas.

Use of Campus Grounds

The facilities and campus grounds at UNT Dallas are intended to be used first for UNT Dallas instructional and research programs and administrative activities and secondarily for programs sponsored and conducted by UNT Dallas academic and administrative departments or organizations affiliated with those departments, including student organizations.

Students and employees may engage in expressive activity on campus grounds without the need for prior reservation except as set out in this and other applicable UNT Dallas policies. Expressive activity may not create a vehicular or other safety hazard or constitute disruptive activity, defamation, riotous conduct or obscenity as those terms are defined by federal or state law and may not impede access to other expressive activity, such as blocking the audience’s view or preventing the audience from hearing a speaker. Displaying a sign, gesturing, wearing symbolic clothing or otherwise protesting silently is permissible anywhere on University grounds unless such activity is disruptive as defined by federal or state law.

Students, employees and sponsoring organizations that wish to organize parades, marches or rallies in areas that cross streets or would stop or slow traffic must register with Student Affairs at least eight (8) business days in advance of the activity in order to ensure that the proposed route does not substantially interrupt the safe and orderly movement of traffic or create a safety hazard.

University facilities and campus grounds may not be used by individuals or organizations not directly connected with UNT Dallas except as permitted by UNT Dallas policy. Campus grounds generally are open to students, employees and sponsoring organizations for expressive activity.

Areas Designated for Expressive Activity Anticipated to Draw a Crowd

Individuals and organizations are encouraged to reserve areas on campus that are designated for expressive activity when the activity may reasonably be anticipated to draw a crowd of twenty-five (25) or more people. Designated areas may be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis and are subject to the reservation procedures published by Student Affairs and set out in this policy. Only the individuals or sponsoring organizations that reserve a designated space may use the area for expressive activity during the reserved period.

Appeal of Decisions Related to Expressive Activity

Students, employees and organizations whose requests for use of campus grounds for expressive activity are denied may appeal the decision to the Vice Provost no later than two (2) business days after the challenged decision was issued.

The appeal must be in writing and state the specific reason(s) the individual or organization disagrees with the decision. The appeal should include all information the individual or organization believes will assist the Vice Provost in deciding the matter.

The Vice Provost will issue a decision on the appeal within three business days of receipt. The decision is final.

Relocation of Expressive Activity

Individuals and organizations engaged in expressive activity on campus may be required to relocate to other areas by the Associate Provost for Student Success, the Office of Student Affairs, or when immediate action is necessary, the University Police, under the following circumstances:

  1. the noise generated by the activity disrupts an official UNT Dallas function or substantially interferes with official UNT Dallas activities (e.g., the activity is too close to an academic building);
  2. the location does not safely accommodate the number or participants;
  3. the number of individuals participating in or attending the activity creates unsafe conditions for vehicular or pedestrian traffic, parking or blocks the ingress or egress to buildings or official UNT Dallas activities;
  4. the space has been reserved for an official UNT Dallas function, has been reserved in accordance with this policy, or a reserved location is needed for an official UNT Dallas function; or,
  5. the activity creates a health or welfare hazard, such as interfering with fire, police or emergency services.

Use of Amplified Sound

Advance registration is required before amplified sound may be used on campus grounds. Students, employees, organizations and sponsored guests may use amplified sound on campus grounds only at the locations and times published by Student Affairs. Amplified sound areas maybe reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis and are subject to the reservation procedures published by Student Affairs. Amplification in the designated areas cannot exceed 92 decibels on the “A” scale at fifty feet from the source of amplification.

Sponsored Guests

Sponsoring organizations are required to reserve a designated area for expressive activity by a sponsored guest. Only sponsoring organizations may invite sponsored guests to use campus grounds for expressive activity. A request to reserve space for use by a sponsored guest must be made no fewer than eight (8) business days in advance of a sponsored activity.

In order to allow reasonable access to designated areas, students, employees and sponsoring organizations may reserve these locations a total of fifteen days and no more than five (5) consecutive days in a semester.

Student Affairs is responsible for administration of this policy, including:

  • identifying locations and establishing times for use as designated areas and identifying locations and establishing times for use of amplified sound.
  • managing requests for reservation of campus grounds under this policy.
  • relocating expressive activity as permitted under this policy.
  • developing procedures for reserving areas for expressive activity and use of amplified sound and for registering parades, rallies and marches.
  • creating forms for use in reserving designated areas for expressive activity, using amplified sound and registering parades, rallies and marches; and,
  • publishing the locations, times, procedures and forms required under this policy at the beginning of each academic year.

Actions on Reservation Requests

Student Affairs will act on a request to reserve designated areas and to register a parade, rally or march no later than two (2) business days after a properly submitted request is received. If a request is denied, the Director of the Student Affairs will, where feasible, propose measures to address any defects in the request. When the basis for denial is receipt of an earlier request for the same location and time, Student Affairs will inform the individual or organization whose request is denied of other dates, times and locations that are available for reservation.

Actions Regarding a Request for a Reservation or Permit

Requests to reserve a designated area, to use amplified sound, or to register a route for a parade, march or rally may not be denied based on the content of the proposed expressive activity.

Requests may only be denied for the following reasons:

  1. an earlier request to reserve the same location has been made;
  2. the designated area or an adjacent area has been reserved for an official UNT Dallas function or the designated area is no longer suitable for use due to a conflict with a nearby official UNT Dallas function;
  3. the reservation or registration form is incomplete;
  4. the request exceeds more than fifteen days in a semester or is for more than five consecutive days;
  5. the proposed route of a parade, march or rally will cross space that has been reserved for an official UNT Dallas function or space that otherwise has been reserved in accordance with this policy or the proposed route will substantially interrupt the safe and orderly movement of traffic or create a safety hazard; or
  6. the request was submitted by an individual or an organization that is not permitted to reserve space on campus under this policy.

Distribution of Literature

Students, employees and sponsoring organizations may distribute literature on campus grounds.

Sponsored guests may distribute literature only in the designated area reserved for their use.

Individuals and groups should be considerate about collecting any litter that may be generated as a consequence of their activities and are expected to collect all extra literature and any literature that has been discarded on the ground.

Literature distributed by a sponsoring organization that includes the name UNT Dallas or University of North Texas at Dallas in its name, or that contains any reference to an affiliation with UNT Dallas, must include a statement that the literature is not official UNT Dallas literature and does not represent the views or official position of UNT Dallas.

Signs and Banners

Students and employees and members of student and employee organizations may display signs by holding them of otherwise attaching them to their persons. Otherwise, all displays of signs and banners, including displays on outdoor bulletin boards and displays by sponsored guests, must comply with UNT Dallas Policy.

Outdoor Exhibits

Stationary exhibits. Stationary exhibits and structures maybe placed only on designated areas, except that individuals may place displays on easel-type supports on campus grounds that are open and accessible for expressive activity. Stationary exhibits and structures may not exceed twenty-five (25) feet in length or width of fifteen (15) feet in height and may not extend into or onto any sidewalks or walkways in such a way as to interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic or otherwise present an unreasonable threat to public safety. Student Affairs may grant exceptions to the dimension requirements upon a showing that an exhibit will not present a safety hazard and will not interfere with pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Proof that a requesting individual or organization has insurance to cover injury or damage to persons or property is not grounds for exception to the dimensions regulation. Requests for exceptions must be made at least seven (7) business days in advance of the desired display date.

Sponsored guests. Sponsored guests may set up exhibits only in accordance with this policy and UNT Dallas Policy.


Engaging in unauthorized canvassing or solicitation is not allowed.

Commercial Solicitation and Advertising

Individuals and organizations may engage in commercial solicitation and advertising only as allowed under UNT Dallas policy.

Responsibilities of Individuals, Sponsoring Organizations and Sponsored Guests

Sponsoring organizations are responsible for ensuring that sponsored guests read and understand all obligations set out in this and all other applicable UNT Dallas policies. Members of the University community may be held individually responsible and sponsoring organizations may be held collectively accountable for any violations of UNT Dallas policies, including the Code of Student Conduct and personnel policies as applicable.

Sponsored guests who do not comply with this or other applicable UNT Dallas policies will automatically forfeit their reservations and must immediately vacate UNT Dallas property.