PPM 5-39, Use of Facilities for Expressive Activities

Responsible Office: Vice President for Administrative Services


Public expression in the form of speech and advocacy may be exercised at such times and places and in such a manner as to assure orderly conduct, the least possible interference with University responsibilities as an educational institution, and protection of the rights of individuals in the use of University facilities. These regulations shall be interpreted in accordance with the requirements of the free speech and assembly rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Utah Constitution, Utah law, and University policy. 

This policy is applicable to individuals and groups who wish to use University facilities for short term expressive activities. Usage of University space for non-expressive or long term purposes is governed by other policies. This policy does not apply to the University administration or duly authorized college, department or other administrators for allocation or assignment of space as described in PPM 5-40. Use of space that will involve minors must adhere to PPM 5-37, Minors, to the extent applicable. 


2.1 PPM 5-38, Use of Facilities for Events
2.2 PPM 5-40, Building Space Allocation and Assignment
2.3 PPM 6-22, Student Code
2.4 PPM 7-10, Posting and Distribution of Written Materials on Campus 
2.5 PPM 9-1, Academic Freedom/General Principles
2.6 Utah State Board of Higher Education Policy 251
2.7 Utah Code Ann. § 53B-27-203


3.1 Commercial Speech - All spoken, written, and symbolic speech intended in whole or in part for the personal profit of the person, organization or institution engaged in the speech.

3.2 Protesting - Includes a public display of views or opinions such as in the form of rally, march, gathering, or procession.

3.3 Expressive Activity - Includes peacefully assembling, protesting, or speaking; distributing literature; carrying a sign; or circulating a petition.

3.4 Facilities - All land, buildings, and other property in the possession of or owned, used, or controlled by the University (including streets and sidewalks).

3.5 Community Individuals/Entities - All students, all employees (except when acting as a University Organization/Entity), guests of the University, and members of the public.

3.6 Public Safety Entities - Any entity with jurisdiction over the University in charge of safety, security, health, and related issues. This would include, but is not limited to, the police department, fire marshal, facilities management, and risk management.

3.7 Student Organizations - Those organizations of students registered as required by PPM 6-22, Student Code, Section 7.0 and attendant University rules.

3.8 Semi-Permanent Structure - Any object used for purposes of expressive activity including, but not limited to, booths, buildings, shelters, tents, boxes, shanties, stages, theaters, and other similar physical structures. This does not include items such as handbills, signs, notices and posters, arm bands or personal attire.

3.9 University Organization/Entities - University administrative divisions and departments, and academic schools/colleges, centers, or departments, and employees when acting as part of their role or job responsibilities at the University.

3.10 Venue Scheduling Office - The person or persons designated by the University administration and charged with scheduling the use of University indoor and outdoor space for the purpose of administering this policy. This includes, but is not limited to, scheduling entities for the Union Building, Browning Center, Dee Events Center, Alumni Center, and academic facilities.


4.1 Use of Facilities for Expressive Activity. Outdoor areas of campus are open to community individuals/entities who wish to engage in expressive activity, subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions as described herein. Indoor areas of campus are reserved primarily for use by University Organizations, and usage allowed for students, faculty, and staff for activities and programs that support the basic University functions of teaching, research, and service and relate to educational, cultural, recreational, and on-campus organizational activities. In permitting the use of facilities for expressive purposes, the University does not sponsor or sanction the messages stated or the methods of speech used, unless expressly stated otherwise. Community individuals/entities shall have the right to freedom of speech and assembly consistent with rights granted by the Constitution of Utah and the Constitution of the United States and subject to applicable laws and rules of the University. Other rules regarding usage of facilities apply such as reservation of space (PPM 5-38), parking (PPM 5-34), sound amplification (PPM 5-38), camping (PPM 5-38), smoking (PPM 5-48), walkway safety (PPM 5-46), food and beverages (PPM 5-30a), public safety (PPM 5-38; PPM 3-67, PPM 3-32), and commercial use (PPM 5-38) also apply. 

4.2 Freedom of the Press. Community individuals/entities in their publications or broadcasts are entitled to the full protection of the constitutional right of freedom of the press in accordance with other University policies and rules.

4.3 Academic Freedom. Academic freedom in the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge through all mediums shall be maintained at the University in accordance with PPM 9-1, Academic Freedom/General Principles.

4.4 Conduct of Classes. Discussion and expression of all views relevant to the subject matter of a class are recognized as necessary to the educational process, but students have no right to impinge on the freedom of instructors to teach or the right of other students to learn. See PPM 6-22, Student Code and PPM 9-5, Faculty Responsibilities to Students for further information.

4.5 Speaker Policy. Community individuals/entities and their organizations shall have the right to invite speakers to address audiences on campus (at the expense of the organization and members), in outdoor areas or designated indoor locations in accordance with reasonable regulations governing the use of University facilities (see also PPM 5-38 regarding scheduling of facilities for events). The rights of such speakers to freedom of expression under the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Utah shall be protected. The rights of speakers to speak and audiences to hear free from undue disruption and interference shall also be protected. Community individuals/entities may not use the name of the University to imply official University sponsorship or endorsement of the speaker or event in advertising or publicizing the event, except to identify the location of the event. When University organizations invite speakers, recognition should be given to the need for a fair representation of all views in the broad spectrum of thought in our pluralistic society.


5.1 Designated Areas. The University provides reasonably appropriate facilities in the Bell Tower Plaza and in a designated outdoor location at the Davis Campus for the University community to engage in expressive activity during regular hours set by the Venue Scheduling Office. These facilities are available to any person on a first come first serve basis, but University Organizations and Student Organizations shall generally have preference in the use of the facilities in the event of conflicting activities.

5.2 Other Areas. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as limiting the right of the university community to engage in expressive activity elsewhere on the campus. Generally, outdoor areas are open for expressive activity, based on time, place, and manner restrictions. However, not all outdoor areas of campus are suitable for expressive activities. Areas on campus that have been designated for other purposes, are fenced or blocked to exclude access, or are otherwise distinguished for use by the University are not open for expressive activities. No activities may be held which render a space unsatisfactory for use in its normal or primary function or which interfere with an activity previously scheduled according to this policy or with normal or scheduled University activities. Information regarding space capacity and University Security Guidelines will be made available at the Venue Scheduling Office. Information will be provided to interested parties regarding available facilities and the procedures for reserving use of the facilities. (See also PPM 5-38.) Decisions regarding expressive activity in outdoor areas will be made without regard for the content or viewpoints anticipated to be expressed during the activity. Any regulation of such activities must be narrowly tailored to serve significant University interests, and designed to leave open ample alternative channels of communication.

5.3 Planned Outdoor Expressive Activities:

Community individuals/entities desiring to engage in expressive activity that meets one or more of the following criteria must submit a proposal at least two business days prior to the activity to guarantee consideration. Upon notification, the University may require additional time, normally no longer than thirty days, reasonably necessary to address requests of the entity or specific concerns regarding capacity or safety as identified further herein. Use of the areas designated in section 5.1 or other outside areas on campus must be reserved in advance of the activity and may be subject to appropriate restrictions if one of the following conditions applies:

5.3.1 Activity is expected to attract more than 500 people or a number of individuals that exceeds the designated capacity for the space (see the Venue Scheduling office for space capacity);

5.3.2 Activity is promoted publicly in advance by any medium;

5.3.3 Activity involves the use of tables or displays or semi-permanent structures;

5.3.4 Activity involves the use of sound amplification equipment that would exceed levels described PPM 5-38;

5.3.5 Activity requires reservation of University services such as traffic management, parking, sanitation, rental of equipment, etc. 

5.3.6 Activity presents a significant threat of harm to people or property or presents a credible threat of substantial interference with University functions, activities, or services based on the University Security Guidelines described in PPM 5-38, section 4.4.

5.4 Unscheduled Outdoor Expressive Activities. Should any person or group not schedule in advance or schedule in advance but ultimately implicate one of the above factors in section 5.3, such person or group may be required to discontinue the activity or postpone the activity until scheduling can be coordinated with the Venue Scheduling Office. These offices may regulate such activity in a manner consistent with this policy. Reasonable effort should be made to allow such groups to continue or move to a more appropriate area, taking into consideration public safety issues, property damage concerns, disruption of University functions, interference with traffic, and other relevant concerns.  

5.5 Reservations. Reservations are encouraged, even where not required, to ensure availability and compliance with safety standards. Use of outdoor facilities may be reserved through the Venue Scheduling Office in two hour block increments for purposes of expressive activity. Individuals and groups may apply for more than one block of time, which application shall be granted depending on availability, and subject to other requirements in this policy. Individuals and groups may not have more than five permits at any one time, to prevent monopolization of space. 

5.6 Indoor Activities. Indoor areas are not generally designated as open for expressive activities as a matter of right. Where indoor areas are opened to community individuals/entities for expressive activity, they will be governed by reasonable, viewpoint neutral restrictions based on the purpose of the forum. PPM 5-38 applies to the reservation of indoor space.

5.7 Disruption. All activity must be conducted in such a way that traffic is not impeded and the normal activity in classrooms and offices is not disrupted.

5.8 Maintenance. The University reserves the right to restrict use of facilities for purposes of planting, reseeding, and other general maintenance and upkeep.

5.9 Displays. Where space has been reserved for the use of tables or other temporary means for displaying or distributing information, tables or displays shall be removed upon the expiration of the time during which the facilities are being used by the person or organization. Tables may be requested and reserved from the Venue Scheduling Offices, in accordance with vendor guidelines and fee schedules.

5.10 Protesting

5.10.1 Protesting on campus is a legitimate means of expression. Conduct shall not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the University or interfere with the rights of other community individuals/entities or damage University or private property. Anyone who wishes to engage in protesting shall be permitted to do so in accordance with this policy including but not limited to the following: Protesting must not jeopardize public order or safety. Protesting must not interfere with the entrances to buildings or the normal flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic. Protesting must not interfere with organized meetings or other assemblies in such a way as to invade the rights of others to assemble and the rights of speakers to free expression. Protesting must not interfere with classes and teaching, the use of offices or research facilities, the privacy of University housing, or other University facilities or activities related to its mission. Protestors must respect buffer zones instituted by University officials to enforce the requirements stated herein. Persons violating this policy may be subject to arrest or other action authorized by law after notice is given of the regulations being violated and the persons refuse to cease and desist in their conduct violating the regulations. The University reserves the right to create additional rules or guidelines regarding protests in indoor areas of campus based on the forum.


The University permits speech in compliance with the Constitution and other applicable laws, policies, and rules. Nothing in these regulations shall be construed as authorizing or condoning unprotected speech or otherwise unlawful speech, such as speech that is obscene, defamatory, conveys a serious expression of intent to commit an act of unlawful violence against a particular individual or group of individuals, directs to incite or produces imminent lawless action and is likely to do so, materially disrupts, obstructs, or interferes with University activities, violates any law or illegally infringes on the rights of any other individual. Any person engaging in such conduct in University facilities shall be subject to the laws and policies governing unconstitutionally protected or otherwise unlawful speech, including the authority of the University to take appropriate disciplinary action or require removal from campus. The University maintains the ability to determine the content of its own speech and regulate individuals speaking on behalf of the University, or as part of their role or job duties, or when it involves matters that are not of public concern or in a manner that would significantly disrupt university operations.   


Any person or group that is aggrieved by a decision of the University with regard to expressive activity may appeal the decision to the Vice President for Administrative Services, the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee (Administrator). The administrator will promptly schedule a time to meet with the aggrieved person, allow them to present the reasons for their appeal, and then contact the involved University personnel for further information. The administrator shall then attempt to resolve the matter to the satisfaction of all interested persons. If a resolution is not reached, the administrator shall then issue a written decision.


Individuals engaged in expressive activity may display materials attendant to their expressive activity (hold signs, tables with banners, etc.), as permitted herein. All posting and distribution of material on campus shall be governed by PPM 7-10, Posting and Distribution of Written Materials on Campus.

Revision History

Creation Date:  2-2-23