Freedom of Speech, Expression, & Assembly

Middle Georgia State University (MGA) respects and honors the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment, including the right to free speech, free expression, free exercise of religion, and the right to assemble peaceably. The University abides by Board of Regents Policy 6.5 on Freedom of Expression. MGA agrees with the University System of Georgia that these rights are of the utmost importance and are likewise committed to protecting those rights. MGA recognizes its responsibility to provide a secure learning environment that allows individuals enrolled at or employed by MGA to express their views in ways that do not disrupt the operation of the University.

See MGA's Freedom of Expression Policy

To better facilitate the free exchange of ideas, MGA has designated highly visible locations as public forums on each of MGA’s campuses. These areas are described in the MGA Freedom of Expression Policy depicted and outlined on the current public forum maps.

The designation of the public forum areas does not apply to University-sponsored activities nor does it prohibit members of the MGA community from engaging in expressive activities elsewhere in an open outdoor space. The designated public forums establish certain outdoor areas of MGA’s campuses to potentially be reserved in one of the following limited circumstances:

  • members of the MGA community who plan an event with 30 or more persons
  • individuals or groups who are not members of the MGA community who wish to speak on MGA’s campuses.

Procedures for Free Speech, Expression & Assembly Reservation Requests

Completed Reservation Request Forms should be submitted to MGA’s Office Student Affairs electronically at least three (3) university business days prior to the scheduled event. Reservation scheduling will be coordinated by a Student Affairs official, who will schedule forums for expression on a first-come, first-served basis. The Student Affairs official must respond to all requests in writing as soon as practicable, but in no event more than two university business days following receipt of the request, either authorizing the reservation and noting any special instructions, if applicable, or setting forth the reason for denial of the reservation. The Student Affairs official may only deny a reservation request for one of the following reasons: 

  1. The Reservation Request Form is not fully completed;
  2. The Reservation Request Form contains a material falsehood or misrepresentation;
  3. The Designated Campus Area(s) requested has/have been reserved by persons who previously submitted a completed Reservation Request Form, in which case the University must provide a reservation for the applicant at an alternate location, alternate date, or alternate time;
  4. The use or activity intended by the applicant would conflict with or disturb previously planned programs organized and conducted by the University;
  5. The Designated Campus Area(s) requested is/are not large enough to accommodate the expected or actual number of persons engaging in large group expression, in which case the University must provide a reservation for the applicant at an alternate location that can safely accommodate the applicant provided that the applicant is a member of the MGA community and that such a location exists on MGA’s campuses;
  6. The use or activity intended by the applicant would present a danger to the health or safety of the applicant, other members of the MGA community, or the public;
  7. The use or activity intended by the applicant is prohibited by law, Board of Regents’ Policy, or MGA Policy;
  8. The request seeks to reserve the Designated Campus Areas during the first full week of classes and final exam weeks of each semester;
  9. The applicant seeks to reserve a location on campus other than the Designated Campus Areas; or
  10. The use or activity intended by the applicant would violate the General Provisions in MGA Policy 6.4 Freedom of Expression

If an individual or group has three (3) or more reservations confirmed within a calendar month, the individual or group may not submit an additional reservation request for that calendar month until three (3) University business days prior to the requested reservation date. If, at that time, the additional reservation request conflicts with that of another individual or group (i.e., seeks to reserve the same location at the same time) that does not already have three (3) or more reservations confirmed within that calendar month, the reservation request of the other individual or group shall have priority. 

When assessing a reservation request, the Student Affairs official must not consider or impose restrictions based on the content or viewpoint of the expression, including the possible reaction to the content or viewpoints anticipated to be expressed during the event. The Designated Campus Area(s) is not reserved until the requestor receives an email confirmation from the Student Affairs official, which shall contain the name of the event; the date, time and location of the event; and the name of the individual making the reservation request. 

Any denial of a reservation request in whole or in part may be appealed to MGA’s Vice President for Student Affairs in writing setting forth the reasons why the appeal should be granted. MGA’s Vice President for Student Affairs or his or her designee must respond to the appeal in writing within two university business days. The decision of MGA’s Vice President of Student Affairs or his or her designee is final.

In accordance with MGA's Posting and Publicity policy, all publicity and promotional material for on- and off-campus events and activities must be approved by the appropriate office on each campus and must carry the approved stamp. Any material posted in unapproved locations, not bearing the approved stamp, or otherwise not in compliance will be removed.

Public Forum Request Form

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