Free speech is allowed on campus


Members of Students for a Quality Education protesting at Sac State with a megaphone after the California Faculty Association’s announcement regarding the looming strike and pay dispute with the CSU, Monday, March 28. 

Angel Kidka

Sacramento State supports freedom of speech and has policies that allow demonstrators on campus.

Due to its public institution status, Sacramento State fully embraces free speech and the right for individual expression. The campus is open and allows any individual to come on and exhibits free speech without permit or form requirement, provided they are within the lines of the slight regulations that the campus has in order to preserve education on campus.

“I believe that Sac State’s commitment to free speech is proven through its policy and the way that it looks to provide a proactive education and information to students, and it allows free speech to occur,” said Tom Carroll, director of Student Organizations and Leadership.

The University Policy Manual, titled Individual Expression and Conduct in Campus Buildings and on Campus Grounds, and the 2009 CSU Handbook of the Free Speech outline Sac State’s goal of providing free speech, with regulations to ensure that disruptions in student’s education do not occur and educational programs happening around campus are not affected.

Alison Morgan, investigator deputy Title IX coordinator in the Office for Equal Opportunity, spoke on the significance of freedom of speech on campus.

“The right to free speech is very important, particularly on a college campus where all parties are encouraged to exchange ideas and engage in discourse about differences of opinion,” Morgan said.

While free speech is promoted and largely accepted on campus, there can be issues when it comes to the topic and the manner in which the speech is being expressed.

Carroll said there are different delegations for the way in which possible violation of free speech is handled. Carroll’s office specifically is in charge of enforcing the amplified sounds policy, which are allowed as long as it does not infringe on individuals’ ability to learn or other individuals’ freedom of speech.

Shelbi Beaulieu, a senior art major, said she supports the freedom of speech policy and the ability to expression on either side.

“I think it’s absolutely great that people are able to come on [campus] and express themselves,” Beaulieu said. “What people believe is their prerogative. As long as it is not negatively impacting students and we have the opportunity to talk back, I don’t see any problem with our system right now.”

Although offensive opinions and expressions of those opinions by individuals do not count as policy violation, other offices are in charge of the different aspect of free speech policy violation, like the University Police Department, which handles safety of individuals, and the Human Resource Department, which ensures rights are not being violated.

“Upon receiving a complaint, the OEO carefully weighs all of the circumstances in deciding whether further action is merited, ” Morgan said. “Further action is warranted if a person’s right to participate in or enjoy the benefit of any Sacramento State program or activity in a discriminatory- and/or harassment-free environment is infringed upon based on that person’s protected status.”