Free Speech Activities

Protocol for Use of Publicly Available Outdoor Space for Expressive Activity

Reference: BP 16-60 and SP 16-60


The College recognizes that freedom of expression and assembly are important aspects of the educational experience. The College provides opportunities for discourse, debate, sharing of ideas, and other expressive activities while operating and maintaining an effective, safe and efficient institution of higher education. This protocol sets out how to make arrangements for use of publicly available outdoor spaces for expressive activity in a constitutionally protected manner consistent with the needs of the College to identify the appropriate time, place and manner for these activities in order to coordinate multiple uses of limited space, provide adequate services to support the campus, maintain the safety and appearance of the campus and preserve financial accountability.

College facilities are, first and foremost, for official College activities and authorized activities of recognized student groups and CCCS-affiliated entities.

Internal campus controlled streets and walkway are for public ingress and egress for activities open to the public, for public use in conjunction with reservations in accordance with this procedure and this protocols, and for official College activities and authorized Campus Community activities.

Publicly available outdoor space identified in this protocol is also available for assembly and expressive activity in accordance with law, System policy and procedure and this protocol.

Members of the Campus Community should arrange any use of publicly available outdoor space, whether for official/authorized College activities or for other expressive activities, through their campus contact.

Members of the general public wishing to use publicly available outside space shall make arrangements through Facilities Rental Office.


This protocol sets out the College's protocols for use of publicly available outdoor spaces for expressive activity. This protocol does not apply to indoor space as those spaces are dedicated to official College activities, authorized uses by recognized student groups and CCCS-affiliated entities, and rentals under the College's protocol for facilities use. Solicitation and vending uses are governed by the College's protocol for solicitation and vending.


The following definitions apply for purposes of this protocol:

  1. Amplified sound means sound that is increased or enhanced by any electric, electronic, or mechanical means, including handheld devices such as megaphones and sound trucks. Other sound, specifically individual shouting or group chanting / singing is subject to general requirements concerning disruption of official College activities.
  2. Campus Community means employees, students, recognized student groups and CCCS-affiliated entities.
  3. Campus contact means the person through whom a member of the Campus Community arranges space for their official College activities and/or authorized activities in support of the College. For recognized student groups, this is Facilities Rental Office. For employees, this is Facilities Rental Office. For CCCS­ affiliated entities/ this is the employee through whom they make arrangements for activities in support of the CCCS mission.
  4. CCCS-affiliated entities means any foundation, partner, governmental agency or nonprofit service provider acting in support of the Colorado Community College System mission in accordance with prior approval by the System or College president or designees.
  5. College facilities means CCCS-owned and controlled buildings, grounds, space, property and other facilities including but not limited to residence halls, buildings and the space within and between buildings, parking lots, athletic facilities sidewalks, lawns/ fields, shelters, amphitheaters and all other spaces where events may be held, activities may take place, or that may require services.
  6. Expressive activity means the verbal or symbolic expression of an idea, thought or opinion and may include speeches, assembly, vigils, picketing, distribution of literature, displaying hand-held signs and other similar activities intended to communicate an idea or opinion. It does not include commercial soliciting and vending. For those interested in commercial solicitation and vending, please refer to the campus protocol for solicitation and vending.
  7. Official College activities means College or System activity undertaken by or under the authority of a College or System official within the scope of his or her duty as part of CCCS' mission.
  8. Literature means any printed non-commercial material that is produced for distribution or publication to an audience, including but not limited to flyers, handbills, leaflets, placards, bulletins, newspapers, and magazines, but does not include the College bulletins or newsletters or official College material. Distribution of commercial literature is governed by the College's solicitation and vending   protocol.
  9. Recognized student group means a student group that is recognized by the Student Engagement Center as an ACC Club.


The following provisions apply to the use of publicly available outdoor space for expressive activity.

  1. Those planning to engage in expressive activities as a group or individuals planning to engage in expressive activities intended to attract the attention of passers-by must reserve appropriate outdoor space for a proposed activity at least 24 hours in advance. Reservations, including expected number of attendees and the proposed manner in which the activity will be conducted assist in identifying an appropriate location and time, thus avoiding conflicts that could require rescheduling an activity and permit the College to evaluate necessary services and costs. Where an activity requires more than a nominal increase in services to accommodate the event, or results in damages, the additional costs of such services and/or damages may be assessed to the individual or group reserving the space.
  2. Space is available for reservation and activities only during the normal campus hours, see web page. To allow for a diversity of information and perspectives no one may reserve more than five consecutive days and fifteen days total for the semester.
  3. Upon arrival on the day of the reservation or activity, the individual making the reservation must check in with the Facilities Rental Office at Room M1735.
  4. Persons must abide by all applicable laws, policies, procedures and protocols and not block or otherwise interfere with the free flow of vehicular, bicycle or pedestrian traffic.
  5. Persons must not engage in activity that defames, is obscene, incites violence, or threatens physical harm.
  6. Persons must not obstruct, disrupt, interrupt, or attempt to force the cancellation of any event or activity.
  7. Persons shall comply with the directions of a College official or law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his or her duty.
  8. Amplification is not permitted unless prior arrangement has been made through the reservation process for the activity to take place at a time and place where the amplification will not interfere with official College activities or the space is being rented and the rental agreement provides for amplification. No individual or group will be permitted to use amplification that interferes with official College activities.
  9. Signs, images and demonstrative items or artwork used in connection with the activity must be hand-held. They may not be affixed to College facilities. No structures may be used or erected.
  10. Persons on campus may be required to provide picture identification and provide information regarding their status as a student or employee upon request.
  11. Campaign fundraising is not allowed.
  12. Candidates for public office may not use student groups to directly or indirectly secure the use of College facilities for free or at a reduced rate for campaigning in violation of law. Candidates may rent available facilities or solicitation or vending space in accordance with the College's protocol for facilities rental and protocol for solicitation and vending.
  13. To avoid the appearance that the College supports or opposes a particular candidate, ballot issue of referred measure, College facilities may not be used for collecting signatures for ballot initiatives, referred measures, or candidate petitions, except when the collector rents space in accordance with College protocol for facilities rental or protocol for solicitation and vending. Streets and sidewalks abutting campus property that are under the local government's jurisdiction are available for signature collection in accordance with Federal, State and local law.
  14. When College Facilities are reserved for an activity by a candidate or by a group or individual advocating for or against a candidate for an elected office, or a ballot issue or referred measure, a disclaimer  is required on printed material announcing the event and at the location that CCCS does not endorse the candidate, ballot issue or referred measure. Any opposing candidate or advocacy group will be offered a similar opportunity to reserve College Facilities.
  15. Distribution of Literature
    1. Distribution of non-commercial literature is considered an expressive activity and may take place by reservation in publicly available outdoor space identified for expressive activity in accordance with this protocol or in conjunction with a reservation of vending and solicitation space or a facilities rental. College property, such as parking lots and internal campus walkways and other outdoor spaces are for supporting official College activities and for authorized activities of the Campus Community and are not available to the general public for distribution of commercial or non-commercial literature. Streets and sidewalks abutting College property that are under a local government's jurisdiction are available for distribution of literature in accordance with Federal, State and local law.
    2. Those distributing literature may not continue to approach anyone who has indicated a lack of interest, follow or stop anyone, shout, or interfere with any person's progress.
    3. Those distributing literature should be considerate about collecting any litter that may be generated as a consequence of their distributions and are expected to collect literature that is left over or that is on the ground in the area in which it is distributed.
    4. Literature distributed on campus that contains the College's name or acronym in the organization's name or that contains any reference to being affiliated with the College, or references an activity as taking place at the College, must include the statement that the literature is not an official College publication and does not represent the views or official position of the College.

Publicly Available outdoor space

Publicly available outdoor space(s) are currently identified as available for reservation for expressive activity as follows:

  • Members of the general public and the Campus Community may reserve the following space(s). Outdoor areas as defined on the Web and bound by sidewalks.
  • If the above-described space(s) is unsuitable for the proposed activity because of logistical, support services or safety concerns, the College will work with the requester to identify and reserve other suitable space on campus on a case-by-case basis.
  • In addition to the above space(s) available for reservation by members of the general public and the Campus Community for expressive conduct, students may assemble in groups of 25 or less for spontaneous expressive activity without a reservation, on college walkways and outdoor common areas, so long as they remain at least 50 feet from building entrances and otherwise conduct their expressive activities in a manner consistent with this protocol.

Refusal of a Reservation

The Facilities Rental Office monitors and responds to requests to reserve space. When deemed appropriate by the Facilities Rental Office, a requester may be asked to meet with the Facilities Rental Office to clarify the request before a reservation is made so as to assist the requester to conform the request to the requirements of law, policy, procedure and this protocol and discuss time, place and manner considerations for effective communication that protects the safety of the requester, the Campus Community and any visitors. The Facilities Rental Office may refuse a reservation request for the following reasons:

  1. Conflict with an earlier request to reserve the same space and time.
  2. Failure to conform to the requirements of law, CCCS policy, procedure or this protocol.
  3. The requested space is being used for an official College activity or previously reserved use.
  4. An adjacent space is being used for an official College activity or a previously reserved use that renders the requested space unsuitable for the proposed activity.
  5. The request form is incomplete.
  6. The request alone or cumulatively with other requests exceeds more than fifteen days in a semester or is for more than five consecutive days.
  7. Lack of resources necessary to support an activity in a manner that preserves College facilities and protects the safety of the campus.
  8. Refusal of a reservation may not be based on the viewpoint of the proposed activity.

Request for Review of Refusal of a Reservation

If a request for a reservation is refused by the Facilities Rental Office, the requester may request review of the refusal by the Vice President of Administrative Services. The Vice President of Administrative Services’ decision is final.

Cancellation of an Activity

Activities that commence without a reservation may need to be moved or cancelled if the size and nature of the event cannot be accommodated without jeopardizing the safe and orderly operations of the campus or a previously scheduled use. If an activity attracts more attendees than can be effectively managed by available staff and/or resources, or is otherwise occurring in a manner that fails to observe this Protocol, a College official acting in the performance of his or her duty shall determine appropriate action up to and including directing individuals in violation of this protocol to leave campus or cancelling the activity and directing participants to disperse. Any participant who fails to leave campus or disperse after having been requested to do so by a College official or law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his or her duty may be subject to arrest and/or issued a no trespass order. Students and employees also may be subject to discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion for students and dismissal or termination for employees.

This Protocol provides operational directives that interpret Board Policies and System President Procedures. It does not create, nor shall be construed to create, an express or implied contract or a guarantee or promise of any specific process, procedures, practice or benefit. To the extent that any provision of this Protocol is inconsistent with Federal or State law, State Board for Community Colleges and Occupational Education Policies (BPs) or Colorado Community College System President's Procedures (SPs), the law, BPs and SPs, shall, in that order, take precedence, supersede and control. BPs and SPs are subject to change throughout the year and are effective immediately upon adoption by the Board or System President, respectively. The College reserves the right to modify, change, delete or add to this Protocol as it deems appropriate.

*Version date: 11-23-16