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Use of SVSU Property for Expressive Activity 3.1-6


Facilities & Property
Authorizing Body:
President - PRES
Responsible Department:
General Counsel
Applies To:
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Adopted Date:
Print Policy


Pursuant to Article VIII of the Michigan Constitution of 1963, Saginaw Valley State University (“the University”) has the responsibility to serve as a public institution of higher education. To carry out this Constitutional mandate, the University owns and/or controls property and facilities. The University has established the following Use of SVSU Property for Expressive Activity to ensure the University’s educational mission is actualized, while allowing for the exchange of ideas.    


Expressive Activity: For purposes of this policy, the term "Expressive Activity" includes any activity itself or any intended or unintended gathering in connection with the activity, including: 

  • Meetings and other group activities of students and registered student organizations;   
  • Speeches, performances, demonstrations, rallies, vigils, and other events by students, student organizations, and outside groups invited by student organizations; 
  • Distributions of literature, such as leafleting and pamphleting; and
  • Any other expression protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.


Saginaw Valley State University (“SVSU”) respects the rights of people to peaceably assemble. SVSU will not unreasonably interfere with, harass, intimidate, or discriminate against persons engaged in the lawful exercise of their rights and will work to preserve the peace, protect life, and prevent the destruction of property.

This policy applies to all buildings, grounds, and other spaces owned or controlled by the University. 

University property is primarily dedicated to academic, student life and administrative functions. But it also represents the "marketplace of ideas," and especially for students, many areas of campus represent a public forum for speech and other Expressive Activities. For students and registered student organizations, certain areas of campus are venues for free expression, including speeches, demonstrations, and the distribution of literature, as provided by this policy. 

The University shall not consider the content or viewpoint of Expressive Activity or the possible reaction to Expressive Activity in applying this policy. The University shall not impose restrictions on individuals and groups due to the content or viewpoint of their Expressive Activity or the possible reaction to that Expressive Activity. In the event that other persons react negatively to Expressive Activity, the University (including representatives from University Police Department) shall take all necessary steps to ensure public safety and prevent the destruction of property while allowing the Expressive Activity to continue, unless the University’s operations are materially and substantially disrupted. 

No Expressive Activity shall be permitted to violate or hinder the rights of others. 

The University does not assume any obligation or responsibility for the content of the materials distributed. 

This policy shall not apply to any person or organization desiring to sell merchandise or services on campus. Any person or organization desiring to sell merchandise or services on campus should contact the Conference Center at 989-964-4348. Registered Student Organizations are allowed additional fundraising privileges, and must comply with the Revenue Producing Projects for SVSU Student Groups policy, SVSU Operations Manual Policy 7.2-3. 


A. General Rules

Expressive Activities are allowed on University property so long as the activities comply with University policies and procedures, including the following general rules. Expressive activity must:

  1. Allow a minimum of 25 feet for vehicular and pedestrian access to any University property, parking lot, building, facility, or event.
  2. Not create a clear and present threat to public safety or constitute unlawful activity.
  3. Not occur in parking lots unless reserved or permitted under other University policies, rules, and guidelines.
  4. Take place at least 50 feet from buildings, and complies with any building-specific policies, rules and guidelines.
  5. Take place in a location that has not already been reserved as stated in Section D, below.
  6. Not cause disruption through the use of amplification devices. 
  7. Not include soliciting or accepting donations, except as provided in other University policies, rules and guidelines.
  8. For University employees, be made as a citizen about a matter of public concern and not in the scope of their official duties. Faculty members have additional protections when engaged in core academic functions such as teaching and scholarship.
  9. Comply with the Michigan Campaign Finance Act.  
  10. If the Expressive Activity involves printed materials, they must:
    1. Comply with the University Posting Guidelines (Student Code of Conduct 1.4e).  All other postings are prohibited.
    2. Be distributed in person.
    3. Not be distributed as windshield flyers
    4. Be picked up when dropped on the ground around the areas of distribution. The University may charge individuals       and/or groups a reasonable clean up fee if they fail to do so. 

Individuals and/or groups engaging in Expressive Activity are responsible for preserving and maintaining the facility and are responsible to pay for any damage they cause to university property. 

B. Outdoor Locations

For outdoor University areas, students, registered student organizations, and employees may freely engage in Expressive Activities without making a reservation provided that such activities are in compliance with all other provisions of this policy and other University policies, rules, and guidelines.  Students and registered student organizations may reserve outdoor University facilities to solicit and accept donations for charitable causes or to engage in other Expressive Activities. All other individuals and organizations may use outdoor University areas as set forth in Section D, below. 

C. Indoor Locations

Indoor University facilities and areas are considered a limited public forum requiring a reservation.

D. Reserving Campus Facilities

  1. Students and University employees may apply to reserve indoor or outdoor campus facilities through The Conference Center at SVSU/25-Live Events Scheduling System.
  2. Registered student organizations may apply to reserve indoor or outdoor campus facilities using SVSU Engage through the Office of Student Life.
  3. Reservation applications should be submitted at least two weeks prior to the reservation date. The University will respond to the reservation application in accordance with the Facilities Use Policy 3.1-1
    1. A response cannot be guaranteed if the application is submitted within two weeks of the reservation date.
  4. Individuals or organizations who are not members of the University community (i.e., not students, registered student organizations, or University employees) may use the paved area surrounding the Julia Stacey Edwards Bell Tower for Expressive Activities. Use of this space is free of charge and may be reserved by contacting the Conference Center at (989) 964-4348. 
    1. A reservation for use of the space will take precedence over any other Expressive Activity. Expressive Activities in this area must follow the General Rules, above. 
  5. Reservation requests will be processed and granted on a first-come, first-served basis. These requests may be denied for the following reasons:
    1. The requested venue is an indoor facility and the request conflicts with any other provision of this or another University  policy;
    2. The venue is already reserved; [1]
    3. The activity will attract a crowd larger than the venue can safely contain;
    4. The activity is a clear and present threat to public safety, according to the University's Police Department;
    5.  The activity will occur during college examination periods and other blackout dates noted in the 25-Live Events Scheduling System; or
    6. The activity is unlawful.

Related Policies & Forms:  
Student Code of Conduct
Facilities Use Policy 3.1-1
Revenue Producing Projects for SVSU Student Groups policy 7.2-3
RSO Student Handbook
Student Handbook
Resident Student Handbook
2011 Tailgating Policy

Article VIII of Michigan Constitution
First Amendment of U.S. Constitution
Michigan Campaign Finance Act

[1]  In the event that multiple individuals or organizations submit conflicting reservation requests, the following order of precedence shall govern: (1) official University activities and events; (2) registered student organization activities and events; (3) student activities and events; and (4) all other activities and events.