INTERIM Freedom of Expression Policy & Time, Place, and Manner Requirements

1.00 Purpose

CSU Monterey Bay is committed to free expression as essential to its educational mission.  The University is also committed to enabling all campus community members, recognized student organizations, University-affiliated groups, and the public in hosting a variety of events on campus to supplement and enrich the educational experience. 

However, it is recognized that some events may substantially disrupt the orderly operation of the University and/or can raise significant security or safety concerns.  To ensure the safety of the University and the campus community while protecting First Amendment rights of those who wish to participate in events hosted on University property, the University will enforce this policy.  This policy shall be applied in a viewpoint-neutral manner.

2.00 Scope

Except where noted and/or where other policies are incorporated by reference, this policy is intended to be the controlling document regarding the University’s time, place, and manner requirements.

This policy and the accompanying Time, Place, and Manner Requirements apply to all persons and entities accessing and using University facilities, buildings, and grounds, including students, faculty, staff, guests, and the public.   

All use of University information technology resources must adhere to the provisions of the University’s Policy on the Acceptable Use of Computing & Information Technology Resources and its Addendum, and other policies governing the use of University information technology resources.

3.00 Activities Associated with Freedom of Expression and First Amendment Rights

Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of a democratic society and is essential to the educational process.  Universities have a special obligation not only to tolerate but also to encourage and support the free expression of ideas, values, and opinions, even where they may be unpopular or controversial.  The University accepts and embraces this obligation, recognizing that such expression may take a variety of forms, including but not limited to speeches, signs, written materials, public assemblies, parades, marches, demonstrations, and artistic representation.

Acknowledging the central role the unfettered exchange of information and ideas plays in learning and in a free society, the University shall ensure that individuals and groups are afforded wide latitude in exercising the right of free expression and that their constitutionally protected right to free expression is not abridged.  Freedom of expression, however, is not an absolute right.  It coexists with other rights and the need for public order and safety.  The exercise of freedom of expression and assembly rights must comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.  Illegal speech activity not protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution or by this policy includes defamation, terrorist threats, false advertising, or the promotion of actual or imminent violence or harm.

All members of the University community should recognize that causing discomfort and even causing offense is not a basis for limiting free expression.  At the same time, they should recognize that freedom of expression includes a responsibility to respect the dignity of others, to acknowledge the right of others to express differing opinions, and to do so in a lawful manner at all times. 

Sometimes, freedom of expression activities and posted materials direct hurtful and/or hateful messages toward an individual or group.  While there will always be disagreements over what may constitute good taste or appropriate comment, there can be no question, particularly in a university setting, that freedom of expression as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, is a cherished and protected right.

Accordingly, the campus community promotes tolerance of differing points of view and to respect the rights of others to express themselves.  While one may find certain expressions or materials to be quite offensive or even insulting, the appropriate way to counteract such materials is through discourse, criticism, and the expression of contrary points of view.  Free speech is allowed and supported as long as it does not violate the law or University policies and procedures.

3.10 Off-Campus Speech by State Employees

In publicly expressing opinions on off-campus issues, state employees have an obligation to take every reasonable precaution to make it clear that they are expressing their personal views and not purporting to represent the University.

3.20 Political Activity in Election Campaigns by State Employees

Generally, under state law, state employees have the same rights as other citizens to engage in political activities, except that state law places the following limits on state employees’ participation in election campaigns:

  1. Employees shall not solicit political funds or contributions from co-workers (other than requests for political contributions sent to a significant segment of the public that may include employees).
  2. An employee who holds or is seeking election or appointment to any political office shall not use that position to influence any University-related personnel matter.
  3. Employees may not use or permit others to use state resources to support or oppose a ballot proposition or a political candidate.  Examples of prohibited activity include making telephone calls, writing letters, and sending email messages using University resources or during working hours.

4.00 Time, Place, and Manner Requirements for the Use of Facilities and Grounds[1]

All use of University facilities and grounds use must adhere to the Time, Place, and Manner Requirements, and be in conformance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws.  Activities must not substantially disrupt instructional programs or the operation of the campus, in accordance with the Facilities and Grounds Use Policy and Procedures.

Reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on the use of University property are permissible, provided that they are carefully designed to (1) coordinate the appropriate use of a particular location for speech activities, remain viewpoint-neutral, and not prohibit particular forms of expression; (2) serve a significant government interest and are not more extensive than necessary to serve that interest; and (3) leave open ample alternative channels for communication of the information. They must be clear and specific enough to place the public on notice as to exactly what is authorized and what is forbidden.

4.10 Time Limitations

Daily, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., except for current CSUMB registered students, student clubs/organizations, and University and auxiliary employees who may engage in freedom of expression activities at any time.

4.20 Place Limitations

Freedom of expression activities may take place on-campus except within parking lots, vehicular roadways, inside all University buildings and facilities, and within 20 feet of any location in which instructional, educational, residential, and/or official business activities are being conducted.  This rule does not apply to private activities within residential spaces, unless the activities violate the law or cause substantial disruption to others who reside in residential spaces.

Popular locations for freedom of expression activities include outside the Tanimura and Antle Family Memorial Library or the Otter Student Union, and on the Main Quad.

4.30 Manner Limitations

Freedom of expression activities must be conducted in a manner that shall not:

  1. interfere with or obstruct the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic;
  2. substantially disrupt the conduct of university business or the quiet enjoyment of residents in private residential spaces;
  3. be carried out in a manner that creates excessive noise that causes substantial disruption of university business and educational activities;
  4. substantially disrupt classes in session or other academic, educational, cultural/arts, and University programs;
  5. cause an unlawful end, such as defamation; illegal harassment; terrorist threats; and/or promoting or inciting actual or imminent violence or bodily injury or harm to property; and,
  6. violate any federal, state or local safety code, including but not limited to State Fire Marshal regulations.

For specific guidance on freedom of expression activities, see the Time, Place, and Manner Requirements below.

5.00 Violations

Violation of this policy is subject to intervention by University officials.  In the event of an alleged or perceived violation, those in violation will be asked to comply with the applicable regulations by the appropriate campus authorities.

If a violation persists or is repeated, or if the behavior poses an imminent threat or danger to public safety, the individual(s) in violation may be required to disperse or depart University property immediately.  Continued violation may result in code of conduct violations for students, discipline for employees, and subsequent legal action by the University.[2]  If the violation occurs at a scheduled event, permission for the event may be summarily revoked. and future requests by the individual or group(s) found to be in violation of this policy may be canceled or denied.[3]

Personal or corporate liability for the reasonable cost(s) incurred by the University due to violations of this policy may be imposed upon the responsible party(s).

Unauthorized removal of properly posted materials is an act of vandalism and subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

University disciplinary action against CSUMB students and employees alleged to have violated this policy and/or its accompanying procedures shall be in conformity with the Code of Student Conduct and Student Conduct Procedures - Executive Order 1098, and/or applicable collective bargaining agreements. 

6.00 Continuous Renewal

This policy shall be reviewed five years from its effective date to determine its effectiveness and appropriateness.  This policy may be reviewed, as necessary, before that time.

s/ President Vanya Quiñones 

Effective Date:  February 17, 2023

Download a signed pdf copy of this policy


Time, Place, and Manner Requirements

The following requirements have been developed as a means to assist all university community members, including university groups, student organizations, and guests or non-affiliates in planning for safe and successful activities while on University grounds:

[1] California Education Code sections 66600, 66606, 89030, 89031, and 89035;  Title 5, California Code of Regulations, sections 42350 – 42353; California Penal Code sections 626.4 and 626.6. 

[2] California Education Code section 89031; Title 5, California Code of Regulations, sections 41301-41303.

[3] California Penal Code section 626.4 and 626.6. 

[4] Title 5, California Code of Regulations, section 42351.

[5] Title 5, California Code of Regulations, sections 42350.5 and 42350.6.

[6] Title 5, California Code of Regulations, section 42350.6.

[7] Title 5, California Code of Regulations, section 42350.1.

[8] Title 5, California Code of Regulations, section 42352.


Download a signed copy of this interim policy