Policies and Procedures Manual

Chapter 3: Student Affairs

03:03:00   Guest Speakers

Related Policies and Guidelines

TBR Policy Access to and Use of Campus Property and Facilities

Northeast State Community College and the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) recognizes the importance to the educational process and environment for persons affiliated with the respective institutions including officially recognized student organizations and other groups to have reasonable access to, and use of, the educational facilities on their respective campuses, to hear various views. Simultaneously, the TBR also makes clear that its facilities and that of its constituent institutions are not open public forums, but are instead intended solely for use consistent with the advancement and orderly administration of its educational mission for the benefit of its students, staff, and affiliated entities. As such, TBR institutions do not ordinarily make its buildings or other facilities available to outside individuals or outside groups. Exceptions may be made only if the proposed use is consistent with this policy and institutional policy and mission:

  1. A request to invite an outside speaker will be considered only when made by an officially recognized student organization or a faculty group recognized by the President of the College.
  2. No invitation by such an organized group shall be issued to an outside speaker without the prior written approval of the President of the institution, or such person as may be designated by them (hereinafter referred to as their authorized designee); provided that the President of an institution may authorize organizations to invite guest speakers for meetings of the organization without prior approval where attendance at the meeting will be limited to members of the organization and where no fee or compensation will be paid to the speaker.
  3. Any student or faculty organization meeting for which an outside speaker will be invited will be limited to members of the organization, provided that a request to invite an outside speaker may include a request to permit students or faculty members who are not members of the organization initiating the request, and/or other designated guest, to attend the meeting.
  4. A request to invite an outside speaker to whom any payment would have to be from College or university funds is subject to the availability of funds specifically programmed for that purpose, and no payment of any funds shall be made except pursuant to the Tennessee Board of Regents’ Guidelines for Personal Service, Professional Service and Consultant Service contracts. In the event any College or university funds are approved for payment, the meeting for which the outside speaker will be invited should be open to all students or all faculty members, or both, unless otherwise designated on the approval of the request.
  5. Any speaker request shall be made in writing by an officer of the student or faculty organization desiring to sponsor the proposed speaker not later than ten (10) days (excluding holidays and weekends) prior to the date of the proposed speaking engagements; provided that the President or their authorized designee may approve exceptions to the minimum notice requirement in appropriate cases; and further provided that in the event the proposed outside speaker will be paid a total fee and expenses in excess of $2,500 the request must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days prior to the date of the proposed speaking engagement. The request shall contain the name of the sponsoring organization, the proposed date, time and location of the meeting, the expected size of the audience, the name and address of the proposed speaker, and the topic of the speech. Any request not acted upon by the President of the College or university or their authorized designee, within five (5) days (excluding holidays and weekends) prior to the event shall be deemed denied.
  6. Any speaker request is subject to the availability of the requested meeting place for the meeting time and date requested. In the event the space requested is not available for the requested time and date of the meeting, or is otherwise inappropriate for the proposed meeting or the requested speaking engagement would cause substantial interference with the normal activities of the institution if conducted at the time and place requested, alternative meeting space which is available may be offered by the institution, or the sponsoring organization is free to request a more suitable date. Any space that is approved for a meeting is subject to limitations on the number of persons who may attend in accordance with appropriate building and fire codes and safety standards.
  7. A request for an outside speaker by a recognized organization may be denied if the President of the College or university, or their authorized designee, determines that the proposed speech will constitute a clear and present danger to the institution’s orderly operation by the speaker’s advocacy of such actions as:
    1. The violent overthrow of the government of the United States, the State of Tennessee, or any political subdivision thereof;
    2. The willful damage or destruction, or seizure and subversion of the institution’s building or other property;
    3. The forcible disruption or impairment of, or interference with, the institution’s regularly scheduled classes, or other education functions;
    4. The physical harm, coercion, intimidation, or otherwise invasion of lawful rights of students, staff, or faculty;
    5. The incitement of violence due to its inherently offensive nature (i.e., ‘fighting words’ or traditional hate speech);
    6. The obscenity (appeals to the obscene interest in sex; is patently offensive; and lacks serious literary, artistic, or political, or scientific value) or profanity is such that it causes disruption to the normal operations of the College; or
    7. Other campus disorder of a violent nature provided such advocacy would prepare the group addressed for imminent action and steel it to such action, and further provided there is a reasonable apprehension of such imminent lawless action. In determining the existence of a clear and present danger, the President of the institution or their authorized designee, may consider all relevant factors, including whether such speaker has, within the past five (5) years, incited violence resulting in the destruction of property at any College or university.
  8. In the event that a request for an outside speaker is denied by the institution, any sponsoring organization thereby aggrieved shall have the opportunity to appeal the denial. A written appeal to the President of the institution, or their authorized designee, must be submitted within 24 hours of the initial denial to approve the request, and the organization will be provided a hearing within two days (excluding holidays and weekends) following the filing of its appeal before an impartial committee designated by the President or their authorized designee. The committee shall be authorized to make appropriate findings of fact related to the request, and shall make and transmit such findings to the President within said two-day period. The President shall review committee findings, and solely on the basis thereof, shall grant or deny the request within 24 hours (excluding holidays and weekends) from receipt of the findings of the committee.
  9. In the event of a proposed meeting which may be attended by individuals having strong emotional feelings or where there is a reasonable possibility that a speaker, members of an organization, or others may violate federal/state/local laws or campus regulations in the course of a meeting, the President or their authorized representative shall prescribe reasonable conditions for the orderly and scholarly conduct of the meeting. Such conditions may include limiting attendance to the membership of the organization, appointing one or more officials of the institution to preside over the meeting, authorize a search of all persons entering the area of the meeting, and such other conditions as the institution deems appropriate.
  10. The representative of the organization inviting the speaker shall at the time of the invitation provide the speaker or their agent with a copy of this speaker policy and campus regulations. By acceptance of the invitation, the speaker shall assume full responsibility for any violation of law or campus regulations committed by them while on campus.
  11. Any meeting, assembly or other activity to which an outside speaker may be invited is subject to all requirements, conditions and approvals set forth in any policy of the Board and/or Northeast State concerning the use of campus property and facilities.

Requests for approval of guest speakers at Northeast State should be submitted using the Campus Request for Special Activity Form available from the Student Life offices, C2407 of the General Studies Building.


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Divisional Review Responsibilities Checklist: Institutional Excellence and Student Success

Revision History: April 2014; Revised April 2015; Edited May 2021