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The Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union
The University of Mississippi

Third Party Free Speech Event Policy

Pursuant to IHL policy, University of Mississippi property, including all grounds, buildings, facilities, and stadiums are dedicated to furthering the educational, research, and service missions of the University and is limited to those individuals whose purpose is to further those missions.  In general, University property is not available to outside organizations.

Nevertheless, the University believes in the value of third parties engaging in free inquiry, expression, and assembly on University property. The University maintains a position of neutrality as it relates to third party free speech. A third party’s presence on University property does not mean that the University either endorses, sponsors, or approves of the third party’s speech. A third party does not speak for or on behalf of the University, nor does a third party’s access to or presence on University property imply a relationship or association with the University. The University may impose content and viewpoint neutral time, place, and manner limitations.

This policy is not intended to create an open forum on campus or to designate open forums, but it is intended to set rules to allow third parties to express themselves on University property.

A. Definitions

A “third party” is any individual, group, or organization that otherwise has no relationship or association with the University. For the purposes of this policy, a “third party” shall not include any of the University’s schools, academic departments, administrative departments, registered student organizations, affiliated entities, faculty, staff, or students.

A “third party free speech event” is any program, activity, or event that is planned, hosted, controlled, or funded by a “third party” for the purpose of sharing the views of that third party. An event may be deemed a “third party free speech event” even if University students, faculty, or staff are expected to attend. If a third party is sponsored by the University or an RSO who is planning, hosting, controlling, and funding an event, it is not considered at third party event, but the event must abide by applicable University policies.

“University property” means all grounds, buildings, facilities, stadiums, or other improvements owned, leased, used, or otherwise controlled by the University.

B. Third Party Free Speech Events

Third parties may hold free speech events in outdoor spaces on campus that do not interfere with classroom instruction, exams, study sessions, laboratory work, research, or other University operations or University-sponsored events. Third parties that seek to hold an event in University outdoor spaces are encouraged (but not required) to contact the Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union (“OMSU”) Registration Office to register the event and make appropriate arrangements for the event. Spontaneous third party free speech events are permitted in University outdoor spaces provided they otherwise comply with this policy.  However, third parties who have registered events will be given priority over non-registered events, and University related events will be given priority over all third party events.

As part of the registration process, if OMSU deems it necessary, the third party must confer with OMSU and the University Police Department (“UPD”) regarding event security and logistics. UPD is the final authority on any security or safety precautions required for an event. If additional safety precautions are required beyond that supplied by the University in the ordinary course, the third party may be responsible for any additional reasonable security fees. The security fees imposed will be based on standard, approved, and published rates for UPD or other security personnel and for any associated equipment costs or rentals. The number of personnel and amount and type of equipment charged will be based on UPD’s assessment including, but not limited to, the following criteria: (i) location, (ii) time of day; (iii) number of expected attendees; (iv) whether parking and traffic control will be required for the event. Third parties that hold events without registering may also be assessed security fees based on the criteria set forth above.

Security fees will not be charged to third parties based on concerns that the subject matter of the event or viewpoints, opinions, or anticipated expression of the third party or others participating in the event might provoke disturbances or incur costs to respond to such disturbances.

Content and viewpoint neutral considerations such as competing demands for University property and resources may compel the University to confirm an event registration subject to certain time, place and manner limitations, including an alternate date or place, so as to ensure an ample, alternative means for the expressive activity. OMSU may be unable to confirm a registration if the third party does not complete the registration process or if the proposed expressive activity does not comply with this policy or applicable law.

Under no circumstances may University property and resources be used for illegal activity. No speech or expressive conduct will be permitted that is unlawful, incites imminent lawless action, or is likely to result in or involves violence or true threats of violence directed at a particular individual or a group of individuals.

No free speech or expressive activity may (1) block any entrance, exit, doorway, or passageway, (2) obstruct pedestrian, bicycle, or vehicular traffic, or (3) vandalize, damage, deface or destroy University property.

C. Handbills, Posters, Flyers, Banners and Signs

Third parties may not post handbills, posters, flyers, banners, signs, or other item on any University building, facility, or other surface, including but not limited to, any window, trash can, utility pole, plaque, tree, flag pole, monument, column, or parked vehicle.

D. Solicitation

Third parties are not permitted to engage in solicitation on University property, except as set forth in the University’s Solicitation on Campus Policy.

E. Prohibited Items and Devices

The University must maintain the safety and security of its campus and University community. The following items are prohibited during third party events.

  • Weapons: Weapons, as proscribed in the University’s Weapons on Campus policy, are prohibited.
  • Flames and Incendiary Devices: Fireworks, torches, explosives, blasting agents, denotators, and any other incendiary devices are prohibited. Flames, fire, or the burning or igniting of any item is prohibited.
  • Animals: Animals are prohibited during any third party event. Allowances will be made for service animals.
  • Masks: Masks, disguises, and any other means of concealing one’s face or identity are prohibited, except as provided for herein. Nothing in this provision prohibits the wearing of cultural or religious apparel.
  • Protective Gear: The wearing of protective gear, body armor, shields, metal spikes, chainmail, or helmets is prohibited.
  • Banners and Signs: Banners, signs, and flags must be held or carried by hand and may not be attached to any metal, wood, pole, PVC pipe, or stick of any kind.