Western Washington University defines time, place and manner as "Reasonable limitations on the exercise of expressive rights that are neutral as to the content of expression and leave open alternative channels of expression." See WAC 516-35-001 for a complete list of definitions that apply to the use of university property for freedom of expression and assembly.
Based on time, place, and manner of the event, people may need to accommodate the nature or space in which they assemble, including exterior space that has been reserved for an event or programmatic purposes. As such and for example, if the assembly is overly loud, blocking passage across campus, or threatening the physical safety of others, then there may need to be a request to change the location or address the disruptive aspects of the assembly.
Limited public forum areas are defined in 516-35 WAC as "Areas of campus available as spaces for freedom of expression and peaceable assembly as protected by the Constitution of the United States and the Washington state Constitution, subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions.
Limited public forum areas do not include:
(a) Classrooms or academic buildings conducting scheduled educational programming with the exception that nothing herein shall be read to interfere between or with the academic freedom of the instructor and enrolled students to engage in educational programs;
(b) Reservable or scheduled property subject to the provisions of chapter 516-36 WAC;
(c) Private administrative or academic offices;
(d) Lavatory or maintenance facilities;
(e) Roadways or sidewalks necessary to permit the free flow of pedestrian, vehicular, emergency responder, or maintenance traffic; or
(f) Any other university property, on a case-by-case basis, where the reasonable application of time, place, and manner restrictions render the location inappropriate for expressive activities."
NOTE: As defined in WAC 516-35-001, university property is defined as "All buildings, grounds, or assets owned or controlled by the university and the streets, sidewalks, plazas, parking lots, and roadways within the boundaries of property owned or controlled by the university."
Any person or organization who is not affiliated with the university and who desires to use a limited public forum area on a temporary basis for freedom of expression or assembly is not required to have a sponsor. However, if the attendance for an event focused on freedom of expression is expected to exceed 50 people, prior notice to the university is required.
See WAC 516-35 for complete information regarding the use of university property for freedom of expression and assembly and the steps required to provide notice. See WAC 516-36 for additional information regarding the scheduling of university facilities/property for all other events and intended uses of university property.
Public freedom of speech and assembly are rights allowed under our US Constitution; however, having a space reservation provides you with first priority to the use of the requested area and is particularly encouraged if the assembly is expected to have a large attendance. Furthermore, a reservation may provide you access to University resources that help ensure that you have a safe and successful gathering. These resources may include assistance from University staff for event related needs (e.g. event guidance, setup needs, risk management review), access to rental of tables and other equipment needs that might be requested, and institutional approval to post information that promotes and publicizes the gathering.
Note: Per WAC 516-35-010 (1), "Any nonuniversity group or individual who desires to use a limited public forum area on a temporary basis for freedom of expression or assembly in which more than fifty people are likely to assemble, must submit notice of planned use to the university police department and to the dean of students not less than fifteen business days prior to use. However, use may be permitted with less notice so long as the use does not interfere with any other function or university operations." Click here to review the complete chapter.
Student groups: Space requests are managed by Viking Union's Reservations Office. Click here for more information.
Non-Student Campus groups: Space requests are made through the Viking Union Reservations Office. Click here for more information. Dependent on the size and scope of the request, the request may be managed by Extended Education/Conference Services.
Off-Campus groups: Space requests are managed by Conference Services in Outreach and Community Education. Requests are considered pursuant to WAC 516-36-020
There are some instances where the regular operations of the institution have been impacted and an individual or group of people will be asked to assemble in another location. University Police will respond to such circumstances and will work to resolve the matter in a professional manner. If an individual and/or group continues to ignore the requests of law enforcement officers the individual and/or group "shall be subject, as appropriate, to disciplinary proceedings trespass, or arrest and prosecution". (WAC 516-24-130)
If an interruption or disruption has resulted in concerns regarding physical safety, the assembly may be dispersed to protect the general public and campus property.
Per Bellingham Muncipal Code 13.13, a "special event permit" is required for any gathering in the city "which is reasonably expected to have a “substantial impact on such public place” and requires the provision of “substantial city services.”
Section 2 of the contract between Western Washington University and the United Faculty of WWU (UFWW) states the following in regards to academic freedom and responsibility:
2.1 The University and the Union agree that academic freedom is essential to the mission of the university and that providing an environment of free and honest inquiry is essential to its functioning.
2.2 Academic freedom as it pertains to this contract is defined as the freedom to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research and creative expression, and to speak or write as a public citizen without institutional discipline or restraint on matters of public concern, as well as on issues related to professional duties and the functioning of the University. All efforts should be made to be accurate and to show respect for the opinions of others and to make clear they are not speaking on behalf of the institution unless specifically designated to do so. Academic responsibility implies the faithful performance of academic duties and obligations and the recognition of the demands of the scholarly enterprise.
Western employees are subject to state laws regarding ethics in public service. Click here for more information regarding the Ethics in Public Service Act or visit the Human Resources website for information and online courses that can further your understanding of the laws and policies governing ethics in the workplace.
Click here for more information regarding employee conduct. This information, provided by Western's Human Resources Office, is organized by employee group.
We recognize that there are times that even when a person is exercising their rights to free speech and assembly that this may be personally upsetting to you. Students are encouraged in such instances to reach out to a trusted person to talk, to seek support from staff in the Counseling Center, and/or to report the incident to the Equal Opportunity Office if you believe it to be a hate crime or incident of bias.
If the circumstance is one that takes place in a classroom, students are encouraged to first speak with their instructor about it. If additional follow-up is required, the next steps would be to contact the faculty chair of the department and then the Dean of the college in which the department is housed.
As defined in WAC 516-35-001, freedom of expression and assembly is "Any activity protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and Article I, sections 4 and 5 of the Washington state Constitution. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, informational picketing, petition circulation, distribution of information leaflets or pamphlets, speech-making, demonstrations, rallies, noncontracted appearances of speakers, protests, meetings to display group feelings or sentiments, and other types of constitutionally protected assemblies to share information, perspective, or viewpoints. Freedom of expression or assembly that involves the placement of any furniture, hardware, prop, vehicle, display, sound amplification, or audio-visual device or other object on university property requires prior approved space reservation. To reserve use of university property, refer to chapter 516-36 WAC.
As defined by the American Bar Association, hate speech is "speech that offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits." Hate speech is considered a form of bias which can and should be reported to the University's Equal Opportunity Office. Click here for more information about bias incident reporting and for access to the bias incident reporting form, which can be submitted anonymously. Potential crime victims may also report the incident to University Police.