UNM West Policy on Free Speech
As an extension of main campus, an institution that exists for the express purposes of education, research, and public service, UNM West is dependent upon the unfettered flow of ideas, not only in the classroom and the laboratory, but also in all university activities. As such, protecting freedom of expression is of central importance. The exchange of diverse viewpoints may expose people to ideas some find offensive, even abhorrent. The way that ideas are expressed may cause discomfort to those who disagree with them. The appropriate response to such speech is speech expressing opposing ideas and continued dialogue, not curtailment of speech.
UNM West also recognizes that the exercise of free expression must be balanced with the rights of others to learn, work, and conduct business. Speech activity that unduly interferes with the rights of others or the ability of UNM West to carry out its mission is not protected by the First Amendment and violates this policy.
UNM West is committed to tolerate all peaceful speech activities carried out upon the campus unless those activities destroy or materially damage property, materially disrupt other legitimate university activities, or create a substantial health or safety hazard. This policy applies to all buildings, grounds, and property owned or controlled by UNM West.
Speech activities protected by this policy include speechmaking, praying, the distribution of written materials, picketing, assembling in groups, demonstrating, sidewalk chalking, erecting symbolic structures, and any other actual or symbolic speech or conduct intended to communicate an idea.
Legitimate University Activities
Legitimate UNM West activities include teaching, research, and public service; all of the administrative operations supporting those activities; and the performance of all university -approved educational, commercial, research, professional or other activities by public or private contractors, tenants, or permittees. An activity scheduled through UNM West’s scheduling process using a Facilities Agreement is a legitimate UNM West activity.
Materially Disrupting Activities
A speech activity materially disrupts other legitimate university activities when a reasonable person is unable to effectively perform a legitimate UNM West activity because of the speech activity taking place. Examples of when a speech activity may materially disrupt other legitimate university activities include, but are not limited to:
Subject to the exceptions described below, scheduling to use UNM West facilities for speech activities would go through a facilities rental process requiring a Facilities Agreement. Users, however, should be aware that many facilities, both indoor (e.g. classrooms) and outdoor (e.g. patio), are used for regularly scheduled activities that have priority over other uses. UNM West has designated the downstairs lobby area and the outside patio on the north side of the building as free speech zones. In order to reserve the desired space and avoid conflicts with other users, groups or individuals wanting to use a regularly scheduled UNM West facility for a speech activity are encouraged to schedule it at least twenty-four (24) hours in advance with the UNM West Building Manager and filling out a Facilities Agreement form. Users who fail to schedule a speech activity that occurs and unduly interferes with a prior scheduled activity are in violation of this policy.
Because of the small size of the UNM West campus, safety, logistics, and other considerations, all activities must be scheduled in advance using a Facilities Agreement Form, particularly the following:
Scheduling does not operate as a process for prior approval of speech activities based upon content. Speech activities will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis for the requested location. Events will not be scheduled only if there is a scheduling conflict with an earlier planned event or if the requested event will clearly result in a violation of this policy. The viewpoint to be expressed through the speech activity is not a factor in scheduling. A decision not to schedule an event may immediately be appealed to the Chief Executive Officer of UNM West.
Any person violating this policy may be subject to: