- This policy reflects the commitment of Chattanooga State to freedom of speech and expression for all students and all faculty.
- Constitutional time, place, and manner restrictions means restrictions on the time, place, and manner of free speech that do not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 19 of the Tennessee Constitution that are reasonable, content- and viewpoint-neutral, narrowly tailored to satisfy a significant institutional interest, and leave open ample alternative channels for the communication of the information or message to its intended audience
- Faculty or faculty member means any person, whether or not the person is compensated by a public institution of higher education, and regardless of political affiliation, who is tasked with providing scholarship, academic research, or teaching. For purposes of this part, the term "faculty" shall include tenured and non-tenured professors, adjunct professors, visiting professors, lecturers, graduate student instructors, and those in comparable positions, however titled. For purposes of this part, the term "faculty" shall not include persons whose primary responsibilities are administrative or managerial.
- Free speech means speech, expression, or assemblies protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or Article I, Section 19 of the Tennessee Constitution, verbal or written, including, but not limited to, all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, demonstrations, rallies, vigils, marches, public speaking, distribution of printed materials, carrying signs, displays, or circulating petitions. "Free speech" does not include the promotion, sale, or distribution of any product or service.
- Student means:
- An individual currently enrolled in a course of study at Chattanooga State; and
- An organization that is comprised entirely of individuals currently enrolled in a course of study at Chattanooga State.
- General Principals
- Students have a fundamental constitutional right to free speech.
- Chattanooga State is committed to giving students the broadest possible latitude to speak, write, listen, challenge, learn, and discuss any issue, subject to constitutional time, place, and manner restrictions.
- Chattanooga State is committed to maintaining a campus as a marketplace of ideas for all students and all faculty in which the free exchange of ideas is not to be suppressed because the ideas put forth are thought by some or even by most members of the institution's community to be offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrong-headed.
- It is for Chattanooga State's individual students and faculty to make judgments about ideas for themselves, and to act on those judgments not by seeking to suppress free speech, but by openly and vigorously contesting the ideas that they oppose.
- It is not the proper role of Chattanooga State to attempt to shield individuals from free speech, including ideas and opinions they find offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrong-headed.
- Although the College greatly value civility and mutual respect, concerns about civility and mutual respect shall never be used by Chattanooga State as a justification for closing off the discussion of ideas, however offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrong-headed those ideas may be to some students or faculty.
- Although all students and all faculty are free to state their own views about and contest the views expressed on campus, and to state their own views about and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on Chattanooga State's campus, they may not substantially obstruct or otherwise substantially interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe. To this end, Chattanooga State will promote a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation and protect that freedom.
- Through shared governance with its faculty, Chattanooga State may determine for itself on academic grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it may be taught and graded, and who may be admitted to the College as a student.
- Chattanooga State is committed to providing an atmosphere that is most conducive to speculation, experimentation, and creation by all students and all faculty, who shall always remain free to inquire, to study and to evaluate, and to gain new understanding.
- The primary responsibility of faculty is to engage an honest, courageous, and persistent effort to search out and communicate the truth that lies in the areas of their competence.
- Although faculty are free in the classroom to discuss subjects within areas of their competence, faculty shall be cautious in expressing personal views in the classroom and shall be careful not to introduce controversial matters that have no relationship to the subject taught, and especially matters in which they have no special competence or training and in which, therefore, faculty's views cannot claim the authority accorded statements they make about subjects within areas of their competence; provided, that no faculty will face adverse employment action for classroom speech, unless it is not reasonably germane to the subject matter of the class as broadly construed, and comprises a substantial portion of classroom instruction.
- Chattanooga State will maintain the generally accessible, open, outdoor areas of its campus as traditional public forums for free speech by students. This does not mean that those areas will be equally available to non-students.
- Chattanooga State will not confine students' free speech to certain areas of the campus, sometimes known as "free speech zones," or otherwise create policies implying that students' free speech is restricted to particular areas of campus.
- Chattanooga State will not deny student activity fee funding to a student organization based on the viewpoints that the student organization advocates.
- Chattanooga State will not establish permitting requirements that prohibit spontaneous outdoor assemblies or outdoor distribution of literature, although the College may maintain a policy that grants members of the college or university community the right to reserve certain outdoor spaces in advance.
- Chattanooga State will not charge students security fees based on the content of their speech, the content of the speech of guest speakers invited by students, or the anticipated reaction or opposition of listeners to speech.
- Chattanooga State will allow all students and all faculty to invite guest speakers to campus to engage in free speech regardless of the views of guest speakers.
- Chattanooga State will not dis-invite a speaker invited by a student, student organization, or faculty member because the speaker's anticipated speech may be considered offensive, unwise, immoral, indecent, disagreeable, conservative, liberal, traditional, radical, or wrong-headed by students, faculty, administrators, government officials, or members of the public.
- Students do not have the right to disrupt previously scheduled or reserved activities occurring in a traditional public forum.
- Chattanooga State is not required to fund costs associated with student speech or expression.
- Publication of Policy
- This policy shall be:
- Published annually in the Chattanooga State's student handbook and faculty handbook;
- Made available to students and faculty by way of a prominent notice on the Chattanooga State internet site other than through the electronic publication of the policy in the student handbook and faculty handbook;
- Sent annually to students and employees to their institutionally-provided email address; and
- Addressed by Chattanooga State in orientation programs for new students and new faculty.
Statutes: T.C.A. § 49-7-24 The Campus Free Speech Protection Act
TBR Policy: 1:03:02:60 Freedom of Speech and Expression
Approved: Executive Staff, 05/20/09
Approved: President's Cabinet, 05/20/09
Approved: President, 05/20/09
Reviewed and Revised by: Student Affairs, 03/27/09
Reviewed and Revised by: Student Affairs 03/15/2018
Approved to post by President Ashford on 03/16/2018 with final review by Policy Review Board on 04/11/2018
Approved: Chattannoga State Policy Review Board, 01/11/2018