A framework for voice and expression outside the classroom

  1. Statement of Philosophy

    As an institution of higher learning, Delaware Valley University supports its students in their civil expression of thoughtful views. We espouse a set of core values that call upon us to value the world of ideas and differences and respect all people. These values are inspired by the ideals of our founder, Rabbi Joseph Krauskopf, who emphasized respect for all people and ideas, and honored knowledge with practice and progress for the common good. Our community endeavors to cultivate curiosity and honor diversity. We engage with ideas that challenge us and with people different from ourselves, showing deep respect for diverse points of view and backgrounds. Our mission is to encourage students to develop the requisite skills and spirit of inquiry that enrich and inform their lives in service to society.

    Delaware Valley University affords all members of the student body substantial privileges and protects the rights of all members of the student body with respect to speech and expression, balanced with the responsibilities that such privileges bring in any community. The autonomy to express ideas, views and engage in discourse is essential to the life of the University. Making independent judgements about the worth and legitimacy of ideas, contesting ideas and responsible dissent are all means of exposing errors in reasoning and the process of discovering truth.

    The university recognizes that some ideas and forms of expressions may evoke different reactions from members of our community. Some ideas will be viewed as unpleasant and distasteful by some, perhaps even most, members of the campus community. However, participating in an environment where there is a diverse range of opinions, perspectives, and experiences contributes to our educational mission and the university is therefore committed to fostering this type of environment. The University will use the educational means at its disposal, including mediation, public forums, sponsorship of debate and discussions, to promote civil discourse and reasoned debate.

    This expressive rights policy outlines the principles and practices by which the university supports expressive diversity on campus. The policy fosters a culture of open inquiry as part of the education of students. Each member of the community is free to express their point of view on, or opposition to, any issue of public interest within reasonable restrictions of time, place and manner. Each member of the community is also expected to help guarantee the ability of other community members to express themselves freely. No group or individual has the right to interfere with the legitimate activity of other authorized persons and groups as interference with expression compromises the University’s goal of valuing the world of ideas and differences.

  2. Time, Place, and Manner Guidelines for Public Expression on Campus (Events) General

    1. Demonstrations, speakers, the distribution or posting of leaflets, statements, petitions, chalking, and other forms of public expression are permitted on the campus within reasonable restrictions on time, place, and manner. Public expression includes assemblies, demonstrations, debates, forums, rallies, protests, picketing and speakers (“public expression”) that are held on University property and are open to the general campus community.
      1. Public expression cannot be unlawful and must not violate or conflict with local, state, or federal laws.
      2. Public expression must not violate University policy and cannot jeopardize public, personal or individual safety.
      3. The public expression of views and opinions cannot prevent, unduly obstruct, or interfere with the normal operations of the University. Normal operations of the University include:
        1. Academic activities, such as classes, labs, activities in any academic building, etc.
        2. Business activities of the University.
        3. Events or speakers hosted in accordance with University policy by academic departments, administrative departments, or registered student organizations.
        4. The functioning of the University’s Residence Hall buildings.
        5. Access to any University facilities.
      4. Persons and organizations not affiliated with the University are not permitted to be involved in public expression on University property unless they are invited and sponsored by a recognized student organization.
    2. Sponsorship Responsibilities

      A Sponsor, defined as a recognized University organization, academic department, or administrative department that invites persons and organizations not affiliated with the University to speak or demonstrate on campus, shall have the following responsibilities:

      1. The Sponsor is responsible for assuring that the activities of the sponsored group are carried out in accordance with the expectations delineated in the University Policy on Expressive Rights and these guidelines that support the Policy.
      2. The Sponsor of any individual or group engaging in public expression on University property must be clearly identified in all publicity materials for the event, and at the beginning of the event itself.
      3. If the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students (in consultation with other University staff/faculty members) determines that additional security measures are necessary to assure compliance with the Policy on Expressive Rights, the Sponsor must agree to such additional security and shall be responsible for the cost of these additional security measures.
      4. Individual members of the University community can serve as sponsors only through the support of a recognized student organization.
    3. Prior Notice

      1. For public expression by student members of the University community: individual or groups of students, clubs, teams, and organizations of the University are encouraged to give prior notice of their plans to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, or designee, at least 2 business days prior to the event. Faculty who serve as advisors of clubs and organizations are encouraged to remind students about these guidelines. This prior notice will help assure that this policy and these guidelines are followed.
      2. For public expression by persons and organizations not affiliated with the University of the University community: Student organization sponsors (from the University community) of public expression activity by non­members of the University community must give prior notice of their plans to the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, or designee, at least five (5) business days prior to the event. This prior notice will help assure that this policy and these guidelines are followed.
    4. Location

      1. For public expression by members of the University community: The University reserves the right to relocate or suspend any assembly that becomes disruptive to the normal operations of the University or that violates University policy.
      2. The area in front of the Life Sciences Building and the Student Center Courtyard have been designated as acceptable locations for outdoor demonstrations. Demonstrations or events may not interfere with access to the buildings.
      3. For public expression by persons and organizations not affiliated with the University (but invited and sponsored by a recognized student organization): The University reserves the right to designate the location for these events, to help assure that this policy and these guidelines are followed.
    5. Amplification Equipment

      The University reserves the right to restrict the use of outdoor amplification equipment in association with any public expression activity. The use of amplification for student protest or demonstration must be approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, or designee, in advance of the activity, to insure that its use does not create an unreasonable disruption to University activities.

    6. Building of Structures

      The University reserves the right to restrict the building of any structure or the placement of flags, decorations, artwork or other objects in campus public space in association with public expression. The building of any structure or placement of decorative objects or artwork on campus property must be approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, or designee, in advance of the activity. This approval insures that the structure does not create a safety hazard or an unreasonable disruption to University activities, removal in a timely manner after approved installation period, and any costs associated with the structure.

    7. Objections to Public Expression Activity

      The University recognizes that individuals or groups may be opposed to certain acts of public expression. Disagreement with different opinions is acceptable; however, hindering, vandalizing, silencing or obstructing the message of a community member compromises the University’s goal of creating an environment where issues can be openly discussed. An individual or group wishing to protest at an event may do so as long as:

      1. The protest is held in accord with the Time, Place, and Manner guidelines detailed in this policy.
      2. The speaker’s ability to speak and the audience’s right to see and to hear are not unreasonably impeded. Other examples of silencing that are unacceptable are vandalizing bulletin boards, tearing down poster or flyers, crossing out or erasing chalking.
  3. Time, Place, and Manner Guidelines for Public Distribution of Written Materials (Posting Policy)

    1. Overview

      Students and student organizations are permitted to publicly distribute written materials in accordance with this Policy and Guidelines on Expressive Rights. Persons or organizations not affiliated with the University are not permitted to publicly distribute or post written materials on University property.

    2. Prohibited Content

      Written materials which contain the following are prohibited and the University will remove postings, leaflets, or chalking which:

      1. Violate law or University policy
      2. Promote or incite behavior violating law or University policy
      3. Constitute a demonstrable threat or harassment to an individual or group
      4. Defamation, defined as causing harm to the reputation or livelihood of an individual or group
      5. Consist of obscene images, photos, symbols or representations
      6. Contain unapproved commercial advertisements
      7. Disrupt the normal operations of the University (as defined in section B(1)(c) of this policy)
    3. Location Guidelines for Posting of Written Materials

      1. General Guidelines

        1. Posting is permitted only on designated boards or other areas designated for posting. No windows, including windows or glass panels in or beside doors, may be covered.
        2. Students or organizations posting information may place one (1) posting on each board or designated posting area.
        3. Postings on designated boards or posting areas may not exceed an area measuring 11 inches by 17 inches in size.
        4. Individuals posting materials may not remove the postings placed by other groups and may not cover up other postings. Removing or covering the unexpired postings of other students or groups is a violation of this policy.
        5. Advertising events with alcohol is limited to only those events which are fully compliant with the Social Event Policy and approved by the Office of Student Involvement.
        6. Please see additional guidelines below (see items contained at section 3(b) through (f) of this policy set forth below).
      2. Student Center Building

        Posting is permitted only on designated bulletin boards. No posting is permitted on boards designated for administrative department use.

      3. Academic and Administrative Buildings, Including the Library

        Postings are permitted only on designated bulletin boards and designated posting areas. No posting is permitted on boards designated for academic or administrative department use without permission from the department, including the posting of information on whiteboards and chalkboards.

      4. Residence Halls

        Postings are permitted only on designated bulletin boards and designated posting areas which may include one posting on hallway walls. No posting is permitted on boards designated for use by the Office of Residence Life without permission from the office. No windows, including windows or glass panels in or beside doors, may be covered.

      5. Other Locations

        No postings may be made in any location other than those designated in these Guidelines without prior approval from the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, or designee.

    4. Information Required for Posting Written Materials

      1. Identification of Individual or Group Responsible for Posting

        As stated in Section C of this policy above, students, student organizations, and academic or administrative departments are permitted to publicly distribute written materials. Any postings must clearly identify the name of the organization or individual responsible for the posting. In addition, contact information for the organization or individual must be included. Specifically, a valid Delaware Valley University email address or valid University group alias email must be clearly visible on the poster. Flyers without a valid DelVal email address will be removed.

      2. Dates and Time Period for Posting

        1. All postings must be dated. For posters advertising events which must include the date of the event, posters may go up no more than 4 weeks prior to the event and must be taken down by the sponsoring organization or individual within 48 hours of the conclusion of the event.
        2. Posters not affiliated with an event must list the date the poster was first posted. These posters may remain up for no more than 2 weeks and must be taken down promptly after two weeks. Any out of date postings may be removed by the University.
      3. Chalking

        Chalking is permitted on concrete walkways and pathways not covered by a structure. Chalking is not permitted on buildings, walls, covered entryways, or covered patio areas. It is a violation of policy to remove chalking placed on campus in accordance with this policy. Chalking in non­ sanctioned areas may be removed by the University. A guideline for chalking is that rain should be able to wash the chalking away.

    5. Campus Media Organizations

      1. The principles of free inquiry, expression, and dissent articulated above also apply to the University’s student communications media. The freedom of student editors and managers entails corollary responsibilities to be governed by the canons of responsible journalism, such as the avoidance of libel, slander, obscenity, undocumented allegations, and the techniques of harassment and innuendo. All student communications media must explicitly state that the opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the University or student body. Editors and managers of student communications media are protected from arbitrary suspension or removal because of student, faculty, administrative, or public disapproval of editorial policy or content. Orderly procedures for the selection and removal of editors and managers are established by the organization involved and subject to review by the Division of Student Affairs or its delegate.

      2. As Delaware Valley University assists student communications media by providing funds and facilities, it may incur legal liability for the content and operation of such publications. Within the limits imposed by such canons of responsible journalism as are catalogued above, the University is committed to freedom of expression in order that student communications media may preserve their integrity of purpose. When these limits are exceeded, the University reserves the right to take such action as may be necessary by virtue of its legal responsibility and need to defend against potential liability.

    6. Resources and Reporting of Concerns

      1. The Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students is responsible for administering this policy. The Office of Student Involvement is available to serve as a resource for students or groups planning events or written materials according to this policy.
      2. Any concerns or question regarding events, postings, sheet signs, chalking, or other distributed material which may be in violation of the Expressive Rights Policy should be reported to the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs in the Student Center, Room 204, or to the staff listed below, or by calling 215-489-2215. For urgent matters outside of normal business hours, please contact Public Safety at 215-489-4444.

        1. Dr. April Vari, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
        2. Tim Poirier, Dean of Student Development
        3. Andrew Moyer, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Involvement
      3. Reported and alleged violations of this policy will be investigated by the Office of Student Development. The institution employs the reasonable person standard to review content believed to violate the prohibited content outlined in Section C(2). Students or student organizations in violation of this policy will be referred to the Dean of Student Development for conduct adjudication, according to process outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.

        1. Type II Violations: Examples of serious misconduct or disruptive behavior that is incompatible with DelVal's standards will be reviewed under our conduct system and may, based upon review and circumstances, result in sanctions up to and including suspension from the University.

          1. Violations of Policy: Students and organizations are expected to comply with all policies or regulations published in hard copy or available electronically on the University website that is not otherwise covered by this Code of Conduct.
      4. Violations of law or violations of this policy may be referred to the local law enforcement. Arrests and criminal charges are separate from the University’s conduct process
      5. Additional University Policies that either supplement or cover topics not covered in the Student Expressive Rights Policy are below.

        University Course Catalog

        Student Life Policies

*Portions of this policy reflect the language and principles of a 2015 Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at the University of Chicago; the American Association of University Professors Joint Statement on Rights and Freedoms of Students; and the PEN America report And Campus for All

Approved by the DVU Board of Trustees on May 12, 2017