Freedom of Expression
SouthernTech is committed to protecting free speech rights on campus. The free exchange of ideas and opinions is encouraged so long as such exchange does not disrupt SouthernTech's educational mission or infringe upon the free speech rights of others.
For the time period of January to December 2021, SouthernTech is unaware of and received no reports of any barriers or incidents of disruption of free expression on campus or either of two extension centers. SouthernTech has not established any zones that limit free speech.
DISTRICT POLICY EP
FREE EXPRESSION ON CAMPUS
The technology center board of education hereby adheres to Oklahoma law providing that outdoor areas of campuses of public institutions of higher education, which include technology center schools overseen by the State Board of Career and Technology Education, are public forums for the campus community.
Any person who wishes to engage in noncommercial expressive activity on campus shall be permitted to do so freely as long as the conduct is not unlawful and does not materially and substantially disrupt the functioning of the career technology center campus or the provision of educational services. Students will not be allowed to engage in expressive activities during instructional time as such expression would materially and substantially interfere with the educational content provided to students in the course of instruction.
Members of the campus community may spontaneously and contemporaneously assemble and distribute literature in common areas that are open to the public so long as such distribution allows students and staff to enter and exit facilities without being intimidated or forced to take literature. Such distribution shall be passive and shall not be done in a manner that would materially and substantially disrupt career technology center classes, activities, or operations.
The career technology center will establish a space for passive distribution of materials in each student center. Such space shall not be manned and will afford students and members of the campus community the opportunity to share information. Materials placed for distribution will not violate the student code of conduct and the space shall include a sign that designates the space as a means for the campus community to share information and express views. The information in this space is not endorsed, supported, or approved by the career technology center in anyway.
If a group has rented space from the technology center for a specific purpose, that area shall be deemed to be an area wherein noncommercial expressive activity may occur during the duration of time that the group has exclusive use or control of that space.
Administrators, campus police officers, instructors, and other charged with the discipline or education of students shall be provided with information and training to understand the career technology center’s policies, regulations and duties with regard to freedom of expression so that they may understand the noncommercial expressive activity that is allowed on campus consistent with this policy.
The career technology center will publicly post on its website, as well as submit to the Governor and Legislature annually by December 31, a report that details the course of action implemented to follow the requirements of Oklahoma law. The report shall include:
- A description of any barriers or incidents of distribution of free expression that occurred on campus which would include any attempts to block or prohibit speakers and investigations into student or student organizations for their speech. The description shall include the name of each barrier or incident, as well as what disciplinary action, if any, was taken against members of the campus community determined to be responsible for those specific barriers or incidents involving students without revealing those students’ personally identifiable information; and
- Any other information that the career technology center deems valuable for the public to evaluation whether free expression rights for all members of the campus community have been equally protected and enforced consistent with Oklahoma law.
If the career technology is sued for an alleged violation of First Amendment rights, a supplementary report with a copy of the complaint or amended complaint, shall be submitted to the Governor and the Legislature within thirty (30) days.
LEGAL REFERENCE: 70 O.S. § 2120