FREE SPEECH AND THE EUREKA COLLEGE COMMUNITY:
Eureka College’s (EC) mission is “to cultivate excellence in learning, service, and leadership through the mutual development of intellect and character to enable graduates to lead meaningful lives and have successful careers.” We encourage free inquiry and an open exchange of ideas and viewpoints. This requires exposure to a diversity of perspectives and respectful interaction across our differences. Such engagement is the foundation for an intellectual community committed to the production and sharing of knowledge. EC will provide a learning environment in which we are tolerant of disagreement and fully committed to civility. Eureka College supports and encourages free speech and expression, while providing an environment free from harassment and discrimination. In this context of multiple responsibilities, several principles serve as guideposts:
Freedom of Speech and Dialogue Across Difference
Because we value a diversity of people and perspectives, EC must be an inclusive environment that cultivates both critical thinking and dialogue across difference. With education and learning in the forefront, we must all be willing to endure the discomfort of having our views respectfully challenged. We must be able to confidently share our own thoughts without stifling others from doing likewise.
Freedom of Speech and Expression as a Civil Right
Freedom of speech, expression and assembly are rights protected by the United States Constitution. These rights belong to all members of the EC Community. We have an obligation to support and respect these rights, but may establish rules governing the time, place, and manner of speech, expression, and assembly. EC is also obligated to deal with anyone who infringes upon the rights of others. Harassment and discrimination will not be tolerated and may result in disciplinary action.
Freedom of Speech and Academic Freedom
Academic freedom supports freedom of inquiry and exchange, which is important to the fundamental value of freedom of expression and the educational enterprise. In addition to constitutional freedom of speech, Eureka College faculty members are entitled to academic freedom in their teaching, research and publishing, as defined in the Faculty Handbook. This entitlement comes with the duty to maintain professional ethics and uphold College policies against discrimination and harassment.
Eureka College commits to a balancing of multiple responsibilities while we prioritize student learning and serving the common good. This includes creating an environment with a compassionate, rigorous, educational experience that has diversity as a core value. We are committed to maintaining and supporting freedom of speech, expression, assembly, and academic freedom while protecting members of the EC Community from harassment and discrimination.
What are “time, place and manner” restrictions?
Private educational institutions have the right to impose certain restrictions on the use of their campuses for free-speech purposes. Content- and viewpoint-neutral restrictions on the times and modes of communication, often referred to as “time-place-manner” restrictions, are common features colleges implement to ensure that they can continue to fulfill their mission while allowing free expression to occur. The right to speak on campus is not a right to speak at any time, at any place and in any manner that a person wishes. The college can regulate where, when and how speech occurs to ensure the functioning of the campus and to achieve important goals, such as protecting public safety. Examples of acceptable time-place-manner restrictions include permit requirements for outside speakers, notice periods, sponsorship requirements for outside speakers, limiting the duration and frequency of the speech and restricting speech during final-exam periods.
The need to consider time, place and manner regulations is the reason the college requires students to work with the administration when setting up certain events, as opposed to students scheduling and creating the events on their own without college input.
How does Eureka College respond to hate speech?
Eureka College has a zero tolerance for hate speech. The college vigorously opposes and denounces all forms of hateful speech. The college encourages faculty, staff and students to use their free-speech rights, to condemn hateful speech and to help create opportunities for the campus community to understand and learn from these actions. Students who encounter hurtful or offensive speech are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Student Life or to the Director of Inclusive Excellence. In addition, EC balances its commitment to free speech with a commitment to safety. Individuals who threaten or commit acts of violence or other violations of law may be subject to arrest and prosecution by law enforcement, as well as disciplinary sanctions imposed by the college.
Eureka College’s Demonstrating Policy
If someone is holding an event on campus, can I protest it?
Yes. A part of free speech and expression is the right to engage in peaceful, nonviolent protest. The college expects all who engage in protest activity to do so peacefully and safely. Below are some reminders for how to protest safely:
- Avoid activity that infringes on the rights of others, such as blocking or preventing the movement or access of others.
- Follow the instructions of a police officer or college officials, such as staying behind barricades, dispersing from an area declared an unlawful assembly and not resisting arrest. It is against the law to disobey a lawful order by a police officer, and it is a violation of college policy to disobey a direction from a college official.
- Leave the area where others are engaging in illegal activities and acts of violence. Your presence may be interpreted as participating in a riot or illegal group action. Staying overnight in a campus building after hours is prohibited.
- Refrain from inciting others to commit acts of violence such as pushing, kicking or spitting on others, destruction of property or other unlawful actions
- Make informed decisions. Before you choose to engage in civil disobedience and get arrested, know the potential consequences.
Can people who oppose a speaker’s message use their own freedom of speech to shout down that speaker’s message?
- No. Freedom of speech does not give you permission to silence the speech of others by shouting, heckling or otherwise disrupting a speech to the point that the speaker cannot continue or that the audience can no longer listen. The free-speech rights of the speaker would be violated if the audience could silence anyone with whom they disagreed. If you were allowed to shout down speech you disagreed with, then open and free debate would be impossible. Intentionally disrupting a speaker may result in disciplinary sanctions or even criminal charges against the disruptive individual.
Eureka College’s Policies Related to Free Speech and
Reserving Space on Campus
I want to hold an event on EC’s campus. Whom should I contact?
- You should contact the Office of Student Life to request the use of the space.
- A list of spaces that can be reserved and the administrator responsible for each space can be found on the Student Life website but can also be accessed in Midas. Students must complete the required form that can be located in the Office of Student Life. Requests to reserve space must be submitted electronically to the Office of Student Life.
- Note: Groups and individuals not affiliated with the College must be sponsored by a college group, student group or student in order to use space on EC’s campus. A fee may be charged for the use of college space and any related security costs.
Which Eureka College office is responsible for ensuring compliance with the EC policy on free speech and free expression?
- The Office of Student Life is responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and its related regulations. If you have questions about free speech and free expression at EC please contact the Office of Student Life at 309.467. 6420.
Guidelines for Demonstrating at Eureka College
Eureka College recognizes the value of fostering discourse and encouraging the free exchange of ideas. Because the rights of free speech and peaceable assembly are fundamental to the democratic process, EC firmly supports the rights of all members of the College community to express their views or to protest against actions and opinions with which they disagree.
At the same time, all members of the College community share the responsibility to maintain a campus atmosphere consistent with the College’s mission to preserve the dignity and seriousness of College ceremonies and public exercises and to respect the rights of all individuals. All members of the EC community have the right to demonstrate on College premises, provided that they follow the letter and spirit of these Demonstration Guidelines
- Demonstrations must be organized and implemented without violating policies outlined in the EC Student Handbook. Anyone intending to demonstrate must register the event with the College no less than 48 normal business hours in advance with the Dean of Students or Dean’s designee. Under compelling circumstances, the 48-hour notification requirement may be waived by the Dean of Students.
- A student organization’s faculty or staff advisor must be present during the entire event if: a. the event is publicized outside of the EC Campus; or b. so requested by the Dean of Students.
- Demonstrations are limited to appropriate public forums – locations that, by tradition and/or College policy, can be reserved and are available for public assembly and speech. Reservations for use of campus facilities/areas are required and OSL staff will work with the requesting parties to determine specific locations and event times during the registration process. Space must be suitable for the intended use and expected attendance. Demonstrations cannot exist within College buildings, including faculty or administrative offices, classrooms, and instructional facilities.
- Demonstrations may not block free entry or free exit of any building or space or interfere with free movement.
- Demonstrations may not, because of their timing, location, type of behavior, or for any reason, materially disrupt College activities, invade the rights of others, or involve substantial disorder.
- Demonstrators shall vacate the premises when ordered to do so by duly authorized College personnel.
- Demonstrators must not, through speech or action, incite immediate violence or pose a clear and present danger to the campus community.
- No person or group shall interfere with an approved demonstration conducted in accordance with these guidelines.
If disputes arise over the interpretation of these guidelines, the Dean of Students (or designee) will settle the dispute when the disputing parties have presented their concerns and opinions in writing. Violations of these guidelines reported by any member of the College’s community may result in disciplinary action.