(All-University Policy)

I. Preamble

Michigan State University is committed to the principles of free speech and free expression embodied in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Freedom of speech is central to academic freedom and the related notion that a university should be an open marketplace for the exchange of ideas.

The University also has a longstanding commitment to the principles of freedom of inquiry and freedom of dissent. These freedoms are vital to a robust intellectual exchange and the pursuit of knowledge. Different and competing views expressed as part of this exchange may cause discomfort or even offend members of the campus community. The University does not impose restraints on speech for these reasons, including the speech of outside speakers. The University will respond to situations involving disruption of University activities, violence, or other illegal activity, which results from the remarks of outside speakers and to comments or actions by outside speakers which are themselves illegal.

II. Policy

Registered student organizations may sponsor a group or individual to speak on campus, subject to the following provisions:

A. A student organization which has been properly registered under University policies must sponsor the speaker.

B. Public announcements concerning the speaker must contain statements that clearly and accurately identify the speaker, the sponsoring organization, the subject of the speech, and whether admission to the event at which the speech will occur is restricted to members of the organization or open to the University community or the general public.

C. During the speech, the speaker must not violate any law (including any University ordinance) or incite the audience to take action which is illegal.

D. Adequate time must be provided for questions and answers at the conclusion of the speaker’s remarks for all events open to the University community or the general public.

E. The University reserves the right to regulate the time, place, and manner of any speech sponsored by a registered student organization under this Policy to prevent interference with other University activities and to ensure that the event complies with applicable safety and security requirements, such as occupancy limitations and maintaining access to or egress from buildings in the event of fire or another emergency.

It is the responsibility of the sponsoring organization to inform its speaker of these provisions.

III. Procedures

The Vice President for Student Affairs and Services shall develop procedures consistent with this Policy for registered student organizations to sponsor outside speakers.

IV. Other Policies

Events under this Policy are subject to other University policies, including, without being limited to, Ordinance 15.00 Disorderly Assemblages or Conduct¹ and the All-University Policy for Use of Michigan State University Facilities and Services.

V. Questions/Complaints

Questions regarding this Policy should be directed to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services.

Complaints alleging that a registered student organization has violated this Policy should be filed pursuant to the Registered Student Organizations student group regulation or the Michigan State University Student Rights and Responsibilities.² A registered student organization found to be in violation of this Policy is subject to the possible sanctions outlined in those documents.

Complaints alleging that a speaker has violated this Policy should be filed with the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services. An outside speaker who violates this Policy may be restricted from speaking at future events on campus.

Complaints of unlawful activity should be filed with the MSU Police Department.

VI. History

This policy was approved by the Board of Trustees on December 14, 1962 and revised on June 19, 2009.

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¹ The MSU Police Department follows its Dissent and Disruption protocol when responding to disruptions at campus events involving outside speakers.

² Complaints involving outside speakers sponsored by individuals or groups other than registered student organizations are processed by the unit administrator that has oversight for the sponsoring individual/organization.